A Not-so-modest Proposal to ameliorate some of the damage done to our National Forests by Smokey the Bear and his henchmen in the Environmental Movement

Ever since I can remember, Smokey the Bear has been telling us that only WE can prevent forest fires.

Smokey

So, who told Smokey that the Prime Directive was to Prevent Forest Fires?  Well, since the 1940s, the US Department of Agriculture used him to prevent Human-caused fires.  In later years, Environmental Wackos did their best to make sure that the National Forests remained in their pristine condition.  They did this by basically putting the forestry profession as much out of business as possible, to “preserve” the National Forests for whatever endangered species they could find.  Humans were considered destroyers of both forests and wildlife.  So national policy discouraged logging in national forests for many years.

The result of this enlightened policy was entire regions decimated by the logging companies put out of business.  On the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, towns like Forks which had had thriving economies were deprived of their ability to support their people.  Unfortunately, when evergreen forests are not thinned, and fires are prevented, they build up heavy loads of underbrush, which in summer are fire hazards.  Another plague that has hit especially Western National Forests has been the pine bark beetle, which thrives on the wood of Ponderosa and other pine trees.  The dead trees killed by the beetle remain dried-out, and standing among the live trees, just waiting for that bolt of lightning.  Here is a picture of a forest in California.  The red trees were killed by the beetles.

dead trees

And here is the slope of Mount Rushmore.  See the dying trees?

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So I have come up with a proposal that should be a win-win-win situation.

First, the Federal Government should hold regional auctions, covering portions of the National Forests.  They would auction off, to the highest private-sector bidder, the rights to log their territory, ONLY removing dead or dying trees, and dry underbrush.

This type of auction would have many beneficial effects.  First, it would bring in money to the government, to help it manage the National Forests.  Second, it would improve the conditions in the forests, as dead and dying trees were removed and fire danger thus reduced, and the remaining trees would be healthier overall.  And Third, it would create jobs in the forestry industry, allowing professional logging companies to get back to their work, and reviving the economies of Western towns that used to depend on logging for their livelihoods.  Those loggers could sell their wood wherever they could find markets, and furniture-makers and others would have a large supply of wood with which to create products.  So everyone, except maybe the Environmental Wackos, would benefit.  Finally, society as a whole would benefit from the sight of forests that are greener and healthier.

Last Half of the Journey-Hawaii Cruise Travelog-Leaving Hawaii for Mexico…And Home

Last Half of the Journey-Hawaii Cruise Travelog-Leaving Hawaii for Mexico…And Home

Wednesday, July 25 through Monday, July 30, we were again at sea, and you know what that means…  Lectures!  The weather wasn’t conducive to much deck-walking, but I did get a few ocean and cloud pictures.  This was the last picture of Hawaiian waters.

Out of Kona6PM

Sea-and-sky-July25

July 25 speakers were Roger Kimball on “Trump vs The Elites”; John Steele Gordon on “A Brief History of American Medical Insurance”; Dr. Arnn on the history of the Administrative State; and George Neumayr on the political papacy of Pope Francis.  The Pope has been the subject of lively discussions, both on the cruise and on Ricochet among the site’s many devoted Catholics, and Mr. Neumayr’s talk generated lots of questions.  In fact, the ship’s Irish-Catholic chaplain had some slightly-hostile remarks which Neumayr fended off masterfully.  We took home a signed copy of his book entitled The Political Pope, which is a must-read.

Thursday, July 26 saw a new roster of speakers.  Nick Lloyd discussed the part of World War I from 1915-17; Patrick Caddell discussed media and polls; and Walter Russell Mead spoke on “Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World”.  I brought home Mead’s book God and Gold, and it is proving to be a very interesting treatment of the history of Western Civilization with an emphasis on the invaluable contributions of the English-speaking countries.

This is what the view was from the Promenade Deck that day.

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And this is what we saw from the Churrascaria restaurant that evening.

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Friday, July 27, brought more captivating lectures.  Michael Ramirez gave a history of the editorial cartoon, with ample examples of his own work.  Victor Davis Hanson discussed the Battle of Midway, and John Steele Gordon spoke on the history and future of money (which everyone was very attentive to, for obvious reasons).  After lunch, Michael Walsh spoke on the decline of music in Western culture, a subject that interests me greatly.  I have never been very fond of recently-composed music, since it seems to me to be aimed at the composer rather than the listener, and if you can’t please the audience, your music might not get played or sung very much.

Here’s the view from our balcony on Friday.

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On the trip home, the sea was pretty rough, and we got excellent balance practice every time we walked anywhere.  I was lucky, and never completely lost my balance, even in the pitching, rolling shower!  Saturday’s lectures were by Walter Russell Mead on US foreign policy, George Neumayr on the “never-ending investigation”, and Nick Lloyd on the end of World War I.

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On Sunday, July 29, we approached land again, toward Ensenada, Mexico.  I could tell that we were nearing land when the color of the water changed, the skies grew lighter, and the air was warmer.

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I couldn’t sleep well Saturday night, so I was up at dawn to capture this beautiful sunrise.

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The water was very calm, and almost seemed to melt into the sky, making the horizon almost disappear.

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My followers will know that I love watching the wake of a big ship, and I have pictures of the Washington State Ferries, as well as the cruise ships I have sailed on.  I just love the patterns the wake makes in the water.

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This is an island off the west coast near Ensenada, called Todos Santos Island.

IslandMexico7-29

I had to zoom in to see it, but about 3/4 of the way down the slope to the right, there is a structure that I saw was a big cross, which is consistent with the name of the island.

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We could tell there was a big school of fish out there, due to the presence of seagulls and pelicans having a fine time fishing for breakfast.

Pelican-Mexico

This guy came out to meet us.  The name on the boat was PilotoII, indicating that he was a Harbor Pilot, assigned to guide us into the crowded harbor at Ensenada.  See how his wake is twice as wide as he is.

PilotoII

Then, I saw something that reminded me of home in the Puget Sound.  There were a few big buoys out in the harbor, and this one was occupied.  By a local sea lion, a kind of seal.

RestingOnTheBuoy

In Seattle, big sea lions rest on the buoys, and use them as a spot to fish for passing salmon.  I’m betting this guy was fishing too, and he has a gull to keep him company (and compete for fish).

MexicanWaters

That’s our wake in the water of Ensenada.

HarbotToursEnsenada

We also saw numerous Mexican tour boats which go out of Ensenada, all filled with enthusiastic tourists.  When we landed and walked around, we saw people lined up for the next tour.

I saw this structure in the harbor, just outside the working waterfront, and wondered what it might be.  Followers, can you enlighten me perhaps?

Floating-what?

As we approached our berth at the cruise-ship terminal, we got to watch this container ship, the COSCO Indonesia, being loaded with containers.  COSCO is a big Chinese state-owned shipping company.  It was fun watching the orange crane picking up and placing containers precisely where they should go.

CoscoIndonesiaUnloading

Here are some more highlights of the Ensenada harbor.

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Homes on the hillside above the harbor.

BigFlagEnsenada

I think this is one of the biggest flags I’ve ever seen.  Those Mexicans are proud of their country!

Marina-Ensenada

Nice Marina they have there.  There’s another one on the other side of the harbor.

CarnivalInspiration

Our berth-mate that day was the much-larger Carnival Inspiration.

CruiseTerminalEnsenada

The cruise terminal at Ensenada is very colorful, and has a building with lots of shops where the locals sell their wares.

Fountain-Seagull

The fountain is a very convenient bird-bath, and this gull was taking his daily shower.  Ensenada, in Baja California, has a very dry climate with little rain, so you can understand how the gull takes advantage of what humans have provided.

Upon disembarking, we walked around the bay to a crowded, lively marina shopping area, and took in the sights and sounds of Ensenada.

Band-PlazaMarina

Restaurant-Ensenada

CantinaBand

My husband, who plays accordion, got a kick out of this little band.

All too soon, it was time for us to board the Crystal Symphony, for the journey back to San Francisco.  Monday, July 29, was a sea day, and we had lectures by Michael Walsh and Pat Caddell.  The final lecture of the cruise was supposed to be Dr. Arnn discussing Hillsdale’s Mission.  But it turned out that Dr. Arnn left the cruise at Ensenada, to answer the call of Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, to go to Washington DC to discuss education.  Since he was not there, the Hillsdale crew cooked up a big panel discussion with all the remaining speakers, and the audience asked lots of interesting questions.  The Hillsdale cruisers are well-educated bunch, and we all thoroughly enjoyed all the lectures and all the speakers.

FinalPanel7-30

Personnel, from left: Tim Caspar, Hillsdale Associate VP for External Affairs who moderated; John Steele Gordon, Michael Ramirez, Pat Caddell, Michael Walsh, Nick Lloyd, George Neumayr, Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, and Walter Russell Mead.

Monday, July 31, we arrived back in San Francisco.  We had packed the night before, and when it was time, we all filed into the Starlite Club ballroom to await our group being called.

WaitingToLeave7-31

When we disembarked, we boarded a bus for the ride to the airport.  We got checked in, and awaited our flight back to Seattle.  Once in the air, I pointed my camera out the window, and got some spectacular cloud pictures.  And mountains, too.

AboveTheClouds7-31

Mountains7-31

The cruise had been wonderful, but we were glad to be home.  And the kitty was glad to have us back, too.

Next year’s Hillsdale cruise will be to the British Isles, to celebrate the conclusion of the project involving the complete Churchill biography and documents.  We don’t know yet if we will go, but we will have this year’s cruise to remember for a long time.

 

 

 

Vacation Travelogue-Last Hawaii Stop-Kailua-Kona

Vacation Travelogue-Last Hawaii Stop-Kailua-Kona

After the thrilling volcano-viewing session, a nice dinner, and a good night’s sleep, we arrived at our last Hawaii stop, the town of Kailua-Kona.  Again, the Crystal Symphony had to “anchor out” in the harbor, and we were ferried in on the ship’s tenders.  It was only a 15-minute ride, and we got a good view of the other vessels.  On these trips, passengers and speakers rode together and got a glimpse of famous people dressed-down.

VDHOnTender

Yep, that’s Victor Davis Hanson in shorts and lime-green t-shirt.

SymphonyAnchoredOut'

Seen from the dock on shore, there’s the Symphony and one of the other tenders, which shuttled back and forth all during the day.  Here’s what we encountered after getting off the tender.

OutriggerCanoes

Now that’s Hawaii!  Those outrigger canoes were available for rental right at the dock.  Also right at the dock were some very Hawaiian businesses.  I got the biggest kick out of this shop.  I wonder what distinguishes “gourmet” from “ordinary” Hawaiian Shave Ice?

ShaveIceSign

My husband just had to try real Kona Coffee, so we went into the shop next door.  Another sign that just caught my fancy.  We don’t have kids, but I wonder if parents would find this funny.  I sure did.

CoffeeSign

From the dock, we took a walk through town, just seeing the sights and peeking into the various shops.  We found a little outdoor mall, which had a very interesting fountain in the middle.  It featured some exotic plants, and some interesting animals too.

FountainPlants

Mosses

I thought those mosses were so beautiful, with the rivulets of water cascading down.

Greenery

Now, see that tree trunk?  I moved around to the left, and used the zoom setting on my camera, and what I saw was quite remarkable.

Animals

I spotted both the little green lizard on the left, and the big snail on the right very quickly.  Hubby had to be shown the snail!  I was fortunate to get them both in the picture before the lizard moved, and he was standing very still.

We headed down the street, and passed this landmark.

PalaceSignPalace

I don’t know, that doesn’t look like much of a palace to me, but it was in its day.

We (well, I anyway) did some shopping, and on our way back to the dock, we found a little beach, in back of a motel in town.  This beach had some beautiful volcanic rocks, and a nice view of the harbor and the incoming surf.  No surfers, however, since the beach was way too rocky!

Beach

BeachAndBoats

BlueWater-rocks

On a pretty gray day, that wave looked awfully blue!  And see the kite-surfer on the horizon?  We seemed to see them at every port we visited in Hawaii, though this one stayed pretty far from shore, for obvious reasons.  I did like the volcanic rocks, which showed the makeup of the terrain on this island.

VolcanicRocksRocksAndSurf

KonaShore

We walked as far as we could on the beach walk, then headed back toward the street.  I did enjoy viewing all the varieties of plant life in Hawaii, many of which were brightly-colored.  These flowers grew on the motel property.

Hibiscus

WhiteHibiscus

I thought this tree-trunk looked a bit like an elephant.  I wonder why?

BigTrunk

So we made our way back to the street to walk back to the dock.

PalmTrees

GnarlyTree

I really liked the twisted branches of this tree.  I zoomed in on it to capture the smaller branches.  Can you see the bird in this photo?  Even I had to look more than once to see what I had captured!  And I don’t know what kind of bird it was.

FindTheBird

We took the tender back to the ship, and while en route saw this.

Sub-Atlantis-Kona

That is a little half-submarine, which took tourists out to see what is beneath the waves.  We went back aboard the Symphony, and left harbor around 6:00PM.  From this shot from the ship’s deck, it looks like the trip home might be a bit choppy.

LeavingKailua-Kona

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Travelogue, Hillsdale Hawaii Cruise, Days 9 and 10-Hilo and beyond

Vacation Travelogue, Hillsdale Hawaii Cruise, Days 9 and 10-Hilo and beyond

We arrived in Hilo just before noon, and the skies were hazy with what had been described to us as “vog”, or “volcano fog”, caused by the still-erupting volcano on the other side of the island.  About which more later.

HiloHarbor2

Above is the view from the port side of the ship.  Below is the view from the starboard side.

Port side Hilo

We disembarked from the ship, and walked into a large concrete hall, where we found the welcome murals.

WelcomeHilo

WelcomeMural

mural2

We boarded a bus for the short ride into town.  When we got off the bus, the downtown area was just across the street.  To be honest, we didn’t think much of the town of Hilo.  To us, it looked rundown and in need of a facelift.  At least where we were, the buildings looked old and tired, and rust was evident everywhere. [but that is probably not unusual in a town on an island in the ocean, where they are surrounded by salt water].  The first thing we saw across the street was this.

HiloFarmersMarketSign

Most people are familiar with farmers’ markets, where local farmers gather to sell their produce and other merchandise to the people in cities.  This, however, was a very unusual farmer’s market, where the items for sale were somewhat unfamiliar to those of us who live on the mainland.

MarketBuilding

Roots

You would expect Maui onions, which don’t have very far to travel.  See the big roots called taro?  Those make the island food called “poi”, which, from its description, is pretty awful.  But it was very popular in the islands through history, and seems to still be an island staple.

Fruits-veggies

I was just flabbergasted at the size of those green onions in the foreground.  They must have been two feet long from one end to the other!  There were flowers, and other island products in addition to the various fruits and vegetables.

IFlowersjpg

jewels

We left the farmers market to walk through town and see what we could find.  We knew that Hawaii is a very liberal state, almost entirely governed by Democrats.  So this combination of signs did not surprise us.

LibsLiveHere

Here are some of the sights from our trip around the central area of Hilo.

StreetArt

1925Building

PineappleBuilding

I got a kick out of the pineapples on the side of this building. How very Hawaii!  Actually, pineapple is my favorite fruit, and was a staple of the breakfast buffet on the Crystal Symphony.  It was also the end-of-meal palate-cleanser in the Churrascaria restaurant aboard ship.  I got my fill of pineapple on this cruise, and now that we are home, I miss my daily ration of pineapple!

We had a nice lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Ocean Sushi.  Then, it was back to the ship for our cruise around the island of Hawaii to our next stop at Kailua-Kona.  Leaving the harbor, some of the vog had cleared up.

LeavingHilo2

PaddlersHilo

BigIsland

HawaiiHomes

Nice views from those houses!  The sun was setting as we left.

LeavingHilo1

LeavingHiloSunset

As the sun was setting, we left the rail and went back inside for dinner.  But after dinner came the very best part of the cruise for us.  After sunset, we approached the other side of the big island of Hawaii.  Here is our first glimpse of the most important part of our cruise, the part that everyone had been waiting for.

View1jpg

Yes, this was the first sight of the still-erupting Kilauea Volcano.  We were still fairly far away, but we could hear the sound of the lava hitting the salt water, and we could smell the sulfur in the air, too.  It’s hard to capture the entire experience on film, since it involved all your senses.  But this was something that we will never forget.  Here are some of what I think are my best volcano pictures, but they don’t really do it justice.

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You’ve heard the phrase “fire and brimstone”?  Well, this is real, live, fire and brimstone.

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Needless to say, anyone who could, found their way to the top decks of the ship, close to the bow.  This is the passengers crowded at the bow of Deck 12, the Sun Deck.  There was excellent commentary by the resident scientist on the ship, describing what we were seeing and hearing, and providing some background history of the geology of Hawaii.

ViewersOnDeck

IMG_0782

Finally, though, the Captain came on the loudspeaker and informed us that, due to the water around our ship becoming too warm (!), we would have to leave the area and proceed on to our next destination.  So we left, motoring around the Big Island to our next, and final port of call.  But you know what the topic of conversation was all the rest of that night!

 

 

 

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Day 9-Maui

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Day 9-Maui

We normally got up around 8:00AM, so we were able to stand at the rail and watch the island of Maui appear.  As usual, it was a beautiful, sunny day.

Mysterious Maui

KiteSurfer

We saw many of these kite-surfers all around the Hawaiian Islands.  Lahaina Harbor had a few, with their colorful kites.

LahainaSurf1

In to Lahaina on Tender

The Crystal Symphony had to anchor out at Lahaina, since there is no cruise-ship dock there.  Here’s a picture of the ship, taken from the window of the ship’s tender that ferried passengers back and forth all day, about every 30 minutes.

When we arrived at the dock in Lahaina, we were greeted by the cutest trio of ladies, doing their hula dance to the music of a small band.  They were just throughly delightful.

HulaLadies1

HulaLadies2

HulaLadies3

Aren’t they just precious?  That was the best welcome we could have asked for.

We discovered, to our surprise and delight, that there was an amateur surfing competition going on close to the dock, so we stood with the rest of the spectators and watched the kids go out with their surfboards to compete.  We saw 10-year-old boys, and girls in their competition.  They were marvelous!

WatchingTheSurfers

SurferKids

BoySurfer

After we watched the kids surfing, we took off down the streets to explore the town of Lahaina.  There is a nice city park a short walk from the dock, where we saw a bunch of the big banyan trees that seem to populate most of the Hawaiian islands.  These were especially large, with multiple trunks. It’s too bad the locals can’t keep from carving their initials everywhere they can reach.

ThreeTrunks

BigBanyan

SnakeTree

Hubby took this one of me, for scale.

MeAndTree

Next, it was a walk down Front Street, to find a place to have lunch.  And, boy, did we find a place!  We came upon Mick Fleetwood’s on Front, owned by the rock-and-roll icon, and decided to have lunch there.  We were seated on the upper level, where we had a nice view of the ocean.

FleetwoodsLunch

Now, for all you environmentalists out there, we here in the Seattle area are in the thick of the “plastic-straw-ban” movement.  Well, Hawaii is ahead of us!  See what we drank our lunch libations with?

PaperStraw

How about those nice, colorful paper straws!  Very festive.  And the best was yet to come.  Fleetwood’s has live music, and there was a band playing for our lunch, and another hula dancer.  Very nice lunchtime entertainment.

LunchDancer

After lunch, we putzed around downtown Lahaina, and of course I took more pictures.

LahainaView

Fishing

FrontStreet

LanaiIsland

Across the bay from Lahaina is the island of Lanai, and multiple boats advertised day trips there.

Too soon, it was time to leave for our next stop, the Big Island of Hawaii.  But on the way, we were treated to more beautiful scenery.  In the picture below, that flat area is a big solar farm, situated on the other side of Maui.  I guess you’d expect a tropical island to take advantage of their natural benefits.

MauiSolarFarm

Leaving-ValleyIsle

Maui is described as the Valley Island, and you can really see that here.

So it was on to the next stop, Hawaii.  Most of the journey was done at night while we slept, and we regretted not being able to see the journey.  But Nature and the ship’s Captain had some interesting experiences in store for us.

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

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.

ContainerShip

We finally saw signs of land.

LandHo

Oahu

Finally, we rounded the last headland and got our first glimpses of Honolulu.

DiamondHead

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.

Honolulu

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.

HonoluluWaterfrontHonoWorkingHarbor

HonoluluSurfers

Surfers! Right in the harbor among the boats and buoys.

WaterfrontPark

Harbor

TugFleet

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.

Zodiac-charity

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!

KoiPondRiver

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.

Kid-Gramps

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.

Missouri

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.

Canteen

ArizonaSky

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.

MizzouBow

Our group, listening to our guide at the bow of the ship.

Guns

PearlHarbor

The deck of the Missouri was an excellent platform for photographing Pearl Harbor.

SurrenderDeck

This was the Surrender Deck where the Americans and other allies accepted Japan’s surrender.  This plaque commemorates the occasion.

SurrenderPlaque

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.

FantailLunch

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.

Arizona-water

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.

ViewWithSub

Bowfin

InsideTheSub

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.

Plumeria

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.

SubLaunchedBallisticMissiles

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!

TourVans-Polish

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.

AlohaTower

And across the street is this beautiful tree.

HarborTree

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.

HarborSunset

Next stop, Lahaina on Maui.

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

By Day Four, we had gotten well into the routine of morning and afternoon lectures, broken up by an awesome breakfast buffet, walks on the deck when the weather permitted, lunch by the window, and just relaxing in the stateroom.  Most of the time, it was too windy and cold on the deck to sit outside much, which was a disappointment.

Day Four began with a walk out on the Promenade Deck 7, with my camera, around 7AM.

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This is the view off the starboard bow.

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Isn’t this just the Deep Blue Sea?  I really could not get over how blue the water was in the North Pacific.  Achingly Blue.

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Look!  You can see the curvature of the earth!

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This is part of the mechanism that lifts lifeboats into and out of the water.  I took a bunch of pictures of all the equipment on board that is there to ensure that everyone gets off alive in the event of a disaster.

The first lecture of the morning was by historian and journalist John Steele Gordon, who spoke about the economy under Obama, and under Trump.  He spoke to a rapt audience, and took spirited questions later.

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Next came Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal columnist, discussing the US, Israel, and the fate of my Jewish people.

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The final morning speaker was our friend Michael Walsh, whom we met on the Alaska cruise in 2016, and had dinner with on this cruise on the first evening.  His talk was on Politics and the Arts, about which he writes in his newest book The Fiery Angel.  Walsh is a delightful guy, and we met him and his delightful wife, Kate, often in our strolls around the ship, mostly after dinner at the Avenue Saloon.

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After lunch, was the lecture we’d all been waiting for.  Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist, spoke and showed pictures from his book “Give Me Liberty or Give Me ObamaCare”, which was a riot.  He had his audience laughing and groaning in turns.Ramirez0718

Mild-mannered-looking gentleman, but his wit is biting, and he knows just where to hit Liberals.

In the afternoon after the last lecture, I again walked the deck looking for likely pictures.

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My readers will know my love of clouds, and I sure found some beautiful ones on this cruise.

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Oh, yeah, and there’s the Pool Deck, where many passengers spent hours getting a tan.  See that gazebo on the left?  They had a band playing there in the afternoon.

The big lecture attraction of Day Five was Patrick Caddell, the self-described Democrat pollster, opining on what has happened to the Democratic Party.  I have already done one post on his talk, and I can’t really say much more, except that his lecture brought down the house.  He got rousing applause often during his speeches.  He deserved it!

We also heard from Roger Kimball again, and Victor Davis Hanson, who spoke on the Second World Wars.  This was in preparation for our arrival in Honolulu, home of Pearl Harbor.  Mr. Hanson spoke without notes, which was very impressive.

I admit that I took my camera to all the lectures, and sometimes I’d just point it at something in the room and snap.  The Galaxy Lounge was the place all the Broadway shows were staged, and I was intrigued by the complex lighting arrangement on the ceiling.

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Late on this day, things started to get stormy outside, and we hit some fairly rough seas.  I said many times during this voyage that we were getting great balance practice!  It’s a wonder more people didn’t fall when the ship was pitching and rolling around.   When was the last time you took a shower on a moving vehicle?  That’s an experience in itself!

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Looked at from this angle (looking down from our veranda to the Promenade Deck below), the water looks almost black.  Isn’t light wonderful?  That’s the last of Day Five.