Hawaiian Islands Tour
January 24 to February 5, 2020
P. Michael Henderson
I'm going to leave the map at the beginning of each page so you know where we are.
1/26/2020 (Sunday) Today is the real start of the tour. This morning we're going to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. It's about 12 miles from the hotel, probably a 45 minute drive.
We were up about 5am to get to breakfast at 6:15, with a bus departure at 7:30. We arrived at the Memorial at 8:15 and had an hour to wander around the shore side of the memorial before our trip to the wreck of the Arizona.
Here's the group as we left the bus, with Heidi showing us the way.
And a picture of our bus driver, Ken. He seems to embody the Hawaiian spirit.
After a short walk, we entered the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Most people think of it as the USS Arizona Memorial but there's more than that at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. There's also the USS Oklahoma Memorial and the USS Utah Memorial. This is a link to more information about the USS Arizona. Additionally, the USS Missouri is moored nearby and can be visited.
We were going to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, and had tickets for a 9:15 entrance, so we had an hour to wander around the grounds of the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
The Submarine USS Bowfin is anchored at the Memorial. The Bowfin was launched on December 7, 1942, one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
They had a special rate for veterans (with ID) so I was able to save a few dollars on the entry fee. I took a lot of pictures inside the sub but I won't bore you with them all. Here's a view towards the forward torpedo tubes. You can see the tips of four torpedoes at the sides of the picture. I'm quite sure all that brass wasn't kept so shiny during the war patrols. Even the noses of the torpedoes!
The bowfin had a crew of 70 to 80 (depending on which patrol) so things were crowded in the sub. Note the two bunks (racks) over the torpedoes on one side. You better not sit up quickly in the night:-)
This is almost certainly the officer's mess. Officer's quarters appear to be forward of the control room.
The control room.
Crew sleeping quarters.
Part of the engine room. There were a number of diesel engines and they were split between two compartments. It must have been really LOUD in here when they were under way.
These appear to be the controls for the electric motors and the charging of the batteries.
The aft torpedo room - shot with a wide angle lens which makes it look larger than it is.
They didn't have the conning tower open, so no pictures of that.
As tight as the living quarters appear on this sub, it was much tighter on the German U-Boats. Losses of U-Boat crews were also much higher than for the US submarines. About 70% of those who served on German U-Boats were lost - the highest percentage of any military group in WWII. The US submarine service had losses of about 20% (which is still pretty high, especially if it applied to you).
[Added note: Japanese submarine losses were similar to Germany's losses. Japan only had a total of 174 ocean going submarines during WWII and lost 128. I don't have statistics on personnel losses, and many Japanese submarines had a smaller complement than German and American submarines, but the personnel losses must have been close to 70%. Personnel rotated on and off of the submarines so the total number of people who served on Japanese submarines would be larger than the sum of the complement of each submarine.]
I'll use this as an entry to talk about losses in WWII. The US lost about 420,000 military and civilians killed in WWII, significantly less than 1% of our population. The Soviet Union lost about 25 million military and civilians killed. It was the Soviet Union that defeated Germany, and at a very high price. About 13% of their total population was killed.
You can check the losses for other countries at the link I provided.
I only had time for a quick run-through of the Bowfin before I had to quickly go to the entry for our trip to the USS Arizona Memorial.
We entered a movie theatre first to see a 20 minute film about the Pearl Harbor attack. When it was over we boarded the boat that took us to the USS Arizona Memorial.
As we approached the memorial I was able to get a good picture of it. The memorial straddles the Arizona, a bit more than half way aft.
The memorial itself is fairly small and simple.
There's a room at the far end listing the names of those killed in the attack.
Not far from the USS Arizona Memorial is the USS Missouri. The Missouri is famous for being the ship upon which the Japanese surrender was formalized.
When we left the Pearl Harbor Memorial we drove to the Punchbowl, The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
We didn't stop but just drove through, so I don't have much in the line of pictures to share with you. There's a monument at the end of the drive and I did get a picture of that.
After we left the Punchbowl we drove into Honolulu to the capitol district. The 'Iolani Palace is located there. The palace harks back to when Hawaii was a monarchy and was the residence of the King and Queen. Its the only royal residence in the United States. We will have dinner at the palace this evening.
Across the street from the palace is the Ali'iōlani Hale, the seat of the Hawaii Supreme Court.
A statue of King Kamehameha stands in front of the building.
Then it was back to the hotel for a free afternoon. Of course, I used it to work on this blog.
We met the group at 4:30 for a trip to the 'Iolani Palace for a tour and dinner. But first, we took our group photo. I had written to Tauck asking them to request that the photographer provide a digital copy of the group photo so that we could post it for the rest of the group, but Heidi was told that it was not in the contract. I'll keep advocating for this with Tauck and hopefully they'll start requiring digital access for the photos.
But for now, here's a shot I was able to take prior to the official photo.
When we arrived at the palace we each got "lei'd".
Our welcome reception began at the barracks, where the ceremonial guard for the palace lived. We had a social hour and then each of us introduced ourselves to the rest of the group.
Here are two beautiful women at the gathering: Cristela and Judy.
We went to the palace and met our docents. They're wearing formal muumuus.
We had to wear "booties" on our feet.
Our palace tour began just inside the main entrance, in front of the stairway of koa wood.
There was a harpist playing in the main hallway.
We went to a number of rooms but I won't try to show pictures of everything. Here's the throne room.
After the tour we walked to the lanai of the palace where tables were set up for us for dinner. There was an ukulele player and two hula dancers welcoming us.
The performers came to our table during dinner to talk with us.
When the dinner was over, we headed back to the bus which took us to the hotel. And, for us, to bed. Tomorrow we do a tour of the island and an outrigger boat ride.
Our adventure continues here.