Finally, on our sixth day out, we spotted signs of nearing land. I love transportation, and was thrilled to see a container ship on the horizon.
We finally saw signs of land.
Finally, we rounded the last headland and got our first glimpses of Honolulu.
The famous Diamond Head, an extinct volcano that almost stands for Honolulu. My readers may not know that, in 1962, my family pioneered the “home exchange” movement, when we swapped houses with a family in Honolulu for a month during the Seattle World’s Fair. My mother’s cousin was the managing editor of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, and he found a family that wanted to swap with us. Their house was in the Kahala neighborhood, on the other side of Diamond Head.
More views of the harbor of Honolulu, including its container port and city park. There was a whole fleet of tugboats, used to guide big ships into the harbor.
Surfers! Right in the harbor among the boats and buoys.
See the fleet of tugboats, waiting for work in the harbor. July is actually low season for cruise ships in Hawaii, and there was just one other ship in port when we docked on Friday afternoon. We didn’t have a lot of time left in the day, so we just took the opportunity to take the bus into town, to the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. It has been there for many years, and I remember going shopping there in 1962. It’s a lot bigger now, and we were impressed with all the stores, and the many amenities.
The first place we stopped upon alighting from the bus was a little Japanese shopping area, which was filled with food sellers and tiny shops. Located there was a shrine, based upon the Asian Zodiac, with carved Buddha statues for all the animals of the Asian Zodiac. The statues were very intricately-carved, and before each stood a “charity box” for people to donate based on their sign.
In the center of the mall is an artificial river, with koi ponds and a waterfall. I loved the colorful fish, easily visible through the clear water. What a beautiful, relaxing place!
And some human interest that I just couldn’t prevent myself from photographing. This little boy and his grandfather were enjoying the pond and fish.
We discovered that we could not leave behind signs of our home. See that Ben Bridge store in the background? They are based in Seattle, and I want to Synagogue with the Bridge children.
After doing a bit of shopping and getting the obligatory Starbucks Frappuccino, we went back to the ship for dinner, to relax in preparation for the next day’s outing to Pearl Harbor.
Saturday, we again boarded buses for the trip to our tour of Pearl Harbor, and the USS Missouri. The Missouri was where the Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies to end World War II, and we saw many landmarks of that historic occasion.
This was the entrance, and our first glimpse of the vessel. Not far inside the entrance and off to the left was this typical sign of WWII military bases.
From the dock you can see the Arizona Memorial in the background, but we could not go aboard, as it was closed due to structural problems. I could not get over that absolutely spectacular sky.
Our group, listening to our guide at the bow of the ship.
The deck of the Missouri was an excellent platform for photographing Pearl Harbor.
This was the Surrender Deck where the Americans and other allies accepted Japan’s surrender. This plaque commemorates the occasion.
After our tour of the ship, our Hillsdale group was treated to a catered lunch on the fantail of the ship, and a lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, on the weaponry of World War II.
After lunch, we boarded a launch for a trip around the harbor. It was the closest we could get to the Arizona Memorial that was closed.
Once back on land, we were free to explore the rest of the Pearl Harbor exhibit, which was extensive. Hubby instantly declared that he wanted to see the submarine, the USS Bowfin, which was available for tours. Going through my pictures, I discovered that I’d gotten an excellent picture of the craft, that really shows how long it is.
The tubes and other machinery in the torpedo room show you how little space there was in that vessel. Definitely no place for anyone suffering from claustrophobia!
Again back on land, here is more of the scenery.
That’s Plumeria, the state flower of Hawaii. I have fond memories of sitting on the grass in front of the house we stayed in, in 1962, with my sister, making leis from the Plumeria bush in the front yard.
Old Polaris Sub-launched Ballistic Missiles. Fortunately, there was no need to use them, and they essentially died of old age. Military readiness keeps us safe.
And I just could not resist capturing these two totally-unexpected tour vans parked in the Pearl Harbor lot. Who would have thought there were Polish tour companies? Well, it looks like there are! And, get the license plates!
One other structure that I was not able or willing to photograph presented itself on the way back to the city after our tour. It seems that the Hawaiians have drunk the same Kool-Aid as the Seattleites, and have been building a “light-rail” project between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. And, just like Seattle, it is a long way from being finished, and way over budget. And the driver told us that the project has been dogged by all sorts of government corruption, resulting in lengthy lawsuits. Sigh, it sounded very familiar, and everything being more expensive in Hawaii, it will probably be a bigger drag on their economy than ours already is. The progressives who run both places never tire of their stupid, backward-looking transit projects that no one will ride but everyone will have to pay for, in perpetuity.
There was still some light left when we got back from the tour, so we walked a bit. Right on the same cruise ship pier is this Honolulu landmark.
And across the street is this beautiful tree.
As it had been a very long day, we re-boarded the ship and had a shower and dinner. Later in the evening, our ship pulled away from the dock, and headed toward Maui at sunset.
Next stop, Lahaina on Maui.