A Day at Pearl Harbour

Holiday in Hawaii #19

On a sunny day the vast expanse of blue water that is Pearl Harbour is calm and peaceful. This tranquil scene belies the harbour’s history as the site of the air attack in the Pacific that brought the United States of America into World War II. Early on 7th December 1941, hundreds of fighter planes from the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the US Pacific Fleet stationed on Oahu, killing 2390 and sinking or damaging 21 ships.

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There are several historic sites at Pearl Harbour, including the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine. It’s free to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and accompanying exhibitions, but the queue begins long before opening time and it’s first in first served. In order to avoid the long queue, we pre-purchase a guaranteed entry ticket.

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We watch a short documentary movie about the history of Pearl Harbour before boarding a shuttle boat for a ride across the harbour to the memorial. Even though there are many people at the memorial, the atmosphere is quiet and reflective.

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The feeling of respectful contemplation continues on the USS Bowfin Submarine. We buy tickets for a self-guided walk which goes the full length of the inside of theΒ  WW2 submarine through the engine room, torpedo room and sleeping quarters. After looking at the cramped conditions inside,Β  I decide that submariner is not my dream job!

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To visit the Battleship Missouri, we travel on a shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to Ford Island. Before exploring above and below decks by ourselves, we join a guided tour of the top deck, three football fields long. The documents that ended the war in the Pacific on 2nd September, 1945 were signed on the Missouri.

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We arrived at opening time and we stay all day; the gates close behind us as we leave. It’s been a day of listening, learning and paying our respects – a day well spent.

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40 thoughts on “A Day at Pearl Harbour

  1. A sad place to visit and I find the volume of people visiting strange after all these years. It’s not obvious from your photos though and all looks serene. Never been on board a submarine so thanks for the peek. πŸ™‚

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  2. What an amazing place, Carol. I could imagine the groups (even though quite large) would be hushed and somber. Great planning on your part to pre-purchase entry tickets – well done! I couldn’t do the submarine thing either – under all that water? Yikes! πŸ˜‰

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  3. Thanks for a great post. A beautiful harbor with a very tragic history. It is one of those places that can be revisited. I have been 3 different times over many years and it is always a very moving experience. So glad you visited and was nice to read your reactions also. And, my favorite islands are probably Kauai and Oahu. But they are all beautiful and offer something different. If you return to the big island, I recommend the helicopter over the volcano. Love your posts. Thanks

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    • Thank you. We didn’t go to the Big Island, only Maui and Oahu. We enjoyed both islands very much. We considered doing a day trip to the Big Island to see the volcano but it was going to cost $1200 for the day and we decided we could spend a whole week there for that price. So that’s now on our list of destinations.

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  4. This was one of the most pensive places I’ve visited. We didn’t get to see everything because Vince was sick while we were there, but even with that obstacle, we both loved the experience.

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  5. Submarines are awfully small, aren’t they – I once spent about twenty minutes on board HMAS Orion when she was in service – just passing through, as it were, and it seemed incredible so many crew could live aboard. Later I toured HMAS Onslow, now a museum submarine, and realised I’d forgotten just how really cramped they were.

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