Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oahu - Pearl Harbor

In my opinion, the highlight of our stay on Oahu was visit to Pearl Harbor. During Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor nine ships of the U.S. fleet were sunk and 21 other were severely damaged. 2350 people died on those ships, and half of them were from the USS Arizona.

To visit the USS Arizona Memorial one needs to get a free ticket. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis directly at the site. Even though we arrived at the memorial site extremely early in the morning, still, we only managed to get tickets for 12:45pm. The people who arrived half an hour after us were sent back empty-handed.

As we had several hours from the moment we received our tickets to the time on which we could visit the USS Arizona Memorial, we decided also to visit the battleship USS Missouri and the submarine USS Bowfin. Tickets to visit those two ships were pretty expensive, so initially we were not thrilled about not having a better option to kill time than to have to visit them. But at the end of a day we were actually happy that we got a chance to visit them. In many ways they were much more interesting than the USS Arizona Memorial. For example, I was amused to learn that the USS Bowfin is the only know submarine to ever manage to destroy a bus!

All in all, I would say that it is definitely worth your time to go and visit Pearl Harbor. Just remember to be there as early as possible (preferably at 7am, and not later than 7:30am), if you want to get tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial.

On this photo you can see a model of Oahu island, the names of all people who died on USS Arizona carved on the blue plates, and in the background several battleships and USS Arizona Memorial:

USS Arizona Memorial is located on the waters above sunken Arizona battleship:

Inside USS Arizona Memorial:

Remnants of USS Arizona that can be seen from the memorial:

The names of all people who died on USS Arizona during Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are listed on one of the walls inside the monument. To my surprise, in front of the wall there were flowers from the mayor of Hiroshima:

USS Bowfin submarine:

My parents sneaking through the door on the submarine:

My father pretending that he knows what is what:

On the deck of the submarine:

USS Missouri battleship:

The rooms on the battleship are several times bigger than the ones on the submarine:

Also, you can easily walk throught the door, instead of crunching down to cross through them:

USS Oklahoma Memorial: