Pearl Harbour, Oahu
How often do you get a chance to go on to a vintage Iowa-class WWII battleship?
WWII came to an end officially with Japan surrendering on the Missouri (Sept. 2, 1945) after the
dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasazaki (Aug. 9, 1945).
For the history of the USS Missouri and for pictures of the Missouri in action during WWII, the Korean War, and the 1st Gulf War go here:
We took the bus going to Pearl Harbor, but we should have taken one of those tour buses for $5 each. You can always ask the hotel staff for guides. You go directly to Pearl Harbor and save time, especially when you have to fall in line for about an hour just to get in.
Pearl Harbor lays host to the Arizona Memorial to commemorate the sunken battleship and pay homage to those burried beneath the water. When visitors arrive they are given a ticket indicating their time to begin the tour. While waiting there is a gift shop and outdoor memorial with names of those killed in the war. The journey begins with a brief show giving a history of the war. Afterwards you are taken to the USS Arizona Memorial by boat. The memorial is designed to encourage quiet contemplation, and to appeal to our memory and sense of sacrifice. Broken pieces of dishware can be seen on the deck of the ship under the water. The amazing thing is you can still see drops of oil from the ship rising to the surface and producing rainbow streaks in the water
Pearl Harbour is an area in Hawaii which must be seen for so many reasons. Its a place where people can feel at peace and learn so much about Hawaiian, American and Japanese history as well as about human nature and themselves
Its best to get there very early in the morning because this is a very popular place that people visit to pay their respects, and by 11am it is almost impossible to get in.
I was amazed and awed to see a World War veteran.
It brings a tear to your eye to be here but afterwards you feel like a part of you is complete, experiencing something so amazing in history.
Certainly, everyone visiting Oahu knows the history behind Pearl Harbor: on Sunday morning 7 December 1941 a Japanese surprise attack nearly destroyed the entire U.S. fleet docked at the U.S. Naval Base there. Yet, visiting the memorial run by the National Park Service will make it real like never before. First, you will see a short film covering the entire Battle of Oahu -- the Japanese also attacked Hickam Air Base, Schofield Barracks, Honolulu Harbor and other points on the island. Then you'll take a short boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial, which lies astride the sunken vessel itself. I didn't realize until I got out there that you can still see some of the USS Arizona from the platform of the memorial and that oil still leaks from the fuel tanks below deck -- it has continued in a slow trickle since 7 December 1941!. Finally, you'll be reminded that over 1000 sailors still lie entombed in the USS Arizona, victims of the attack. It was a lot more moving than I expected.
The USS Arizona was moored off of Ford Island on Battle Ship Row, along with six other battle ships, California, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennesse, Weste Virginia, and the Nevada.
Normally the ships wouldnt be moored so close together, but it was decided that they would group them up, to make them easier to protect from sabotage, since this was considered their greatest threat.
Because of their formation, they were sitting ducks for the Japanese when they attacked shortly before 8am. Within minutes the first wave of torpedo planes were able to get succesful hits on the California, West Virginia, Nevada, and Oklahoma.
Minutes after, the horizontal bombers with armer piercing bombs came in scoring hits on California, Tennesse, West Virginia, Maryland, and the Arizona. The Arizona suffered its finishing blow at 810am, when one of the armer piercing bombs made its way through it decks, and exploded in the forward magazines room. The Arizona sank within minutes.
Out of the seven ships on battle ship row, 5 of them would be repaired and see battle again, but the Oklahoma, and Arizona had found their final resting place.
Barbette No. 3 is the most visible piece of the USS Arizona wreckage. A barbette is a protective cylinder that surrounds a revolving gun turret on a warship.
Barbette No. 3 can be seen on the North facing side of the memorial, towards the mountains. Between the Barbette and the memorial, is also where you can spot one of the oil leaks still coming from the ship. For more on the oil leak, check out my Oil Leak tip.
When the USS Arizona sunk, it was carrying over 500,000 gallons of oil. Since the ship sank, corrosion has eatin away at the ships fuel bunkers, causing a small amount of oil to leak each day. Bubbling droplets of oil measuring 2cm wide account for an estimated 1 quart of oil a day.
You can witness the leak yourself at the memorial by walking to the center of the memorial and facing the stern of the ship towards the mountains. Directly infront of you, you will see Barbette No. 3 sticking out of the water. Between the Barbette and the memorial is where you will find the leak. Sometimes you will have to wait a few minutes until the oil slick appears.
There has been heavy debate on if the leak should be stopped. Many argue that it will cause harmful damage to the enviroment if the leak gets any bigger. While others say it is a link to the past, and the wreck should not be touched.
The Pearl Harbor Memorial was opened on Memorial day 1962, as a reminder of what took place on Dec 7th 1941, when the Japanese military launched a suprise attach on Americas pacific fleet.
Within 2 hours, 2,403 lifes were lost, 21 ships sunk or damaged, including all 8 of our battle ships, and 1,177 killed on the Arizona alone. This was a huge success for the Japanese, only losing 10% of their attacking force.
Today Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial is one of Americas most visited National Parks, with an average of 4,500 visitors a day, and 1.5 million visitors a year.
Entry is FREE
Open 7 days a week
730am - 500pm
Upon entrance, you will be given a ticket with your tour time. The wait can be up to a few hours which leaves you with a couple options. Many people spend their time waiting by walking the grounds, or exploring the museum. You are also free to leave and re-enter, so if you have a car, you can always go and come back before your tour. I recommend being back atleast 30 minutes before your tour time.
Parking is free, but the lots get pretty crowded come noon time. For shorter waiting times, the earlier the better.
The Arizona Memorial is a somber reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Battleship Arizona was sunk during the attack and almost 2400 people were lost as a result.
The Tour starts with a short film followed by a boat ride to the memorial. The Memorial is built over the wreckage of the Arizona and it's still leaking oil to this day. The Wreck is a tomb and should be treated with utmost respect.
When visiting you may see a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack. These people will give you a first hand account of what they experienced on December 7th, 1941. One of the guides mentioned to us that most Japanese visitors will watch the film but not take the boat to the tomb out of respect for the soldiers and regret for what their military did on that morning.
Being from Australia I did not know much about Pearl Harbour but I learnt a lot from visiting the memorial. It is best to come early and get your tickets. You can not bring anything in with you so you have to leave your bags with them. They show you a movie about the bombings and explain how and why it happened. You then get on a boat and go out to the memorial. You have to respect the people buried in the sunken ships and not talk. You can see the ships in the water underneath you.
On a quiet Sunday morning December 7, 1941 a Japanese surprise air attack left the Pacific Fleet in smoldering broken heap of twisted steel. On the battleship Arizona, approximately 1200 sailors and Marines lost there lives.
Today, visitors come from around the world to see the USS Arizona Memorial, which spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship. When you visit the memorial, you can still see oil droplets bubble to the surface of Pearl Harbor creating a link to the past. The national memorial is designed to encourage quiet contemplation, and to appeal to our memory and sense of sacrifice.
There is no fee to visit the memorial, but please be aware that it gets crowded early, so I would recommend getting your tickets before 8:30 a.m. Also, due to security reasons, no bags are allowed (there is a place where you can store your bags and the charge is $3.00).
As we arrived to the Arizona Memorial on the ferry operated by the US Navy, it got very quite except for the crackle from the speaker on the boat. When we entered the memorial the realization that directly beneath us were the bodies of someone's children - navy men that died when the Japanese bombed this ship, was sobering.
Bi-planes are of the vintage variety; no longer manufactured after the 1940's, the bi-plane boasts two wings instead of the modern one. These are open air cockpits, where the passenger rides in front and the pilot behind.
Book the scenic route over North Shore, a longer flight tracing Pearl Harbour, or best of all, do it all upside down! Aerobatic flights are the way to ride in an open air cockpit! Try split S, hammerheads, and rolls, all while safely buckled, strapped and secured with a parachute. Not for the faint of heart or the strapped for cash. Rides average around $150 but are worth every penny.
Contact Stearman BiPlane Rides, Inc for info.
Definitely a must see when you are in Oahu. The battleship USS Arizona is still leaking traces of oil to the surface after all this years.
You can catch a bus from Wakiki ( sorry forgot the number) but when you buy a bus pass from convenience stores/info centre ask the staff. You can do the tour yourself so don't waste your $$$ on a guided tour.