Our first full day in Hawaii got an early start, though not by midwest standards. It began at 5:30am local time, or 10:30am central. Yes, pity us and our early rising. We started off with a breakfast buffet in our hotel. Really good stuff and bacon cooked just the way I like it – breakable. We convened with our group and waited for the tour bus to arrive. Our tour guide was Cousin Mario, an authentic Sicilian Hawaiian. (In Hawaii, everyone is o’hana, or family.) First up was a tour of Pearl Harbor. The tour company had a representative at the harbor to pick up tickets as soon as they opened. Cousin Mario explained we might have an 8:30 tour or 8:45 or 9:00. When he got the tickets, they were for 10:45. It was currently 7:45. Mario, like the rest of the Hawaiian people, had a good outlook. It was a beautiful day in paradise, whattayagonnado?
While we waited, there were plenty of things to look at. You could tour the USS Missouri, the battleship where the WWII peace treaty was signed. There was also the Pacific Aviation Museum. However, as those two things required riding a shuttle, we opted to tour the USS Bowfin submarine. The Bowfin was built after the Pearl Harbor attack and was designated the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”. After making my way through the sub, all I can hope is tall people were not stationed on them.
Soon it was time for our tour. We watched a 25 minute film on the history leading up to the attack as well as footage from the attack. Then we boarded a ferry to take us to the memorial. What can you say? It’s a beautiful, sad tribute.
Since the ship has been untouched from the time of the sinking, all the fuels are still in it. A phenomenon referred to as “Tears of the Arizona” is when bits of oil drift up to the surface. I didn’t know how frequently this occurred, but the park ranger explained it was not a constant happening. This told me the odds of us seeing it were not great, as you only have 15 minutes at the memorial. Just then Ramblin said, “Look.” There was a bit of oil, iridescent on the water. And then suddenly, there was a lot. I have never seen pictures of the like. To a cynic, it’s essentially slow-motion, gradual pollution, but being there, it was quite touching.
After waiting on some adults whom couldn’t tell time, we were back on the road. We drove through Punchbowl Cemetery, past various sights of Honolulu, and stopped at the King Kamehameha statue. Mario said 10-15 minutes. One woman took that to mean she was free to do whatever, and her husband ended up having to track her down in a nearby museum. At this time, I would like to make a general announcement to certain members of my gender: You are not the only person in the Universe. Stop acting like it. Your actions impact others, and you give the rest of us a bad name. If I could vote you off the island, I would.
Due to the delay at the start of our day, we made it back to the hotel about an hour and a half later than scheduled. We had planned to hike the Diamond Head Crater, but after the extra time walking around Pearl Harbor, we opted instead to track down food.
The one restaurant in Waikiki that kept getting mentioned in the cruising forums was Duke’s, specifically for the fish tacos and hula pie. We took a pleasant walk from our hotel to Duke’s and promptly ordered the fish tacos. Our waitress offered us the market fish (meaning it was fresh fish, instead of fresh frozen) for a few dollars more, and we agreed. She said the market fish was opah, and it was her favorite. It was awesome. And then the hula pie. Oh my. Best meal of the vacation.
After we ate, we walked to the beach and with shoes in hand, wandered along the shore, letting the surf rush over our feet. We wandered through a few of the shops and picked up a few souvenirs. In the International Marketplace, I found the world-famous treat of Dole Whip. Granted, I can get it from a semi-local place occasionally, but it tastes even better in paradise. We came back to the hotel to rest a bit, then went back to the beach for sunset. Unfortunately, it was overcast just where the sun was, so no vibrant sky for us.
Here are a few random pictures from the day.