The only reason we started our anniversary trip in Oahu was to visit Pearl Harbor. I dig military history. Since the budget cutbacks of our government the National Parks service has shortened the number of tours that they do at Pearl Harbor, limiting the amount of people that can visit in one day, so we arrived at the harbor at 7:30 (or half an hour before they opened) and found a line almost two blocks long to get in to visit the Arizona Memorial.

long line to get tickets to visit the Arizona on a drizzly day in Pearl Harbor
long line to get tickets to visit the Arizona on a drizzly day in Pearl Harbor

The last tour started at 1 PM, ours was at 12:45, so we lucked out. If you’re planning on visiting the Arizona Memorial please try to get your tickets reserved online prior to your visit. We tried two months in advance and couldn’t get any, but lucked out and arrived early enough to get some of the few remaining “open tickets” of the day. With five hours to kill we bought tickets to visit the battleship Missouri (the tickets to visit the Arizona Memorial are free). Pearl Harbor is exactly that, a harbor that holds many, many ships. They provide a free shuttle service that takes you from exhibit to exhibit. We could have also purchased tickets to visit the Bowfin (a WWII submarine) and Air Museum but opted to pass.

The Mighty Mo's big guns
The Mighty Mo’s big guns

They let you walk around the ship or you can have a guided tour, we’d recommend that you do both. If you decide to do the tour, get an old guy as a guide as they’ll give you a little more colorful and first hand account of what it was like on board. We had a young man give us our tour and he did okay but it was more like he was reciting out of a history book rather than telling it from the heart.

"Hello?  McArthur...? Can I get a coffee and donut with sprinkles to the bridge ASAP?"
“Hello? McArthur…? Can I get a coffee and donut with sprinkles to the bridge ASAP?”
The Arizona Memorial from the battleship Missouri
The Arizona Memorial from the battleship Missouri

After we finished with the Missouri we grabbed some lunch at a place called Schooner’s. Like most of the other places that we ended up eating at, we dined with a view of the ocean, or in this case Pearl Harbor. I had the best fish sandwich ever, and we both ate fish for most of our meals…except breakfast cuz breakfast is BACON-TIME.

The best fish sandwich that I've ever had until the following night when I had the next best fish sandwich that I've ever had.
The best fish sandwich that I’ve ever had until the following night when I had the next best fish sandwich that I’ve ever had.

They take you out to the Arizona Memorial on a shuttle boat after you’ve watched a short film about the lead up to WWII. There’s several exhibits for you to look through on the grounds of Pearl Harbor that are very well done and real interesting. If going and a history nut, allow a couplea hours for that alone. I’m not attaching any photos of the Arizona Memorial as they don’t do justice. It’s a great place to visit, and if you go…take it in, in a hurry as you’re only allowed about ten minutes in the Memorial itself. They really push a bunch of folks through there in a short time.

We returned to our hotel in the afternoon and changed into our swimming suits. Now for those of you reading this that don’t know me or where Iowa is…we don’t have ocean access. We’re unfamiliar with tides, undertows, currents and especially surf (also known as crashing surf). Connie and I ventured into the water until we were essentially waist-deep, then something weird happened…the water left quickly. We went from waist deep water to ankle depth in just a few seconds. What the heck? As we turned around to look out to the ocean to see what was happening we were hit with a wave a little taller than us that lifted and engulfed us, sending us rolling along the bottom beach-ward and lodging sand where sand should never ever be lodged in the human body. We repeatedly attempted to find the “sweet spot” of where to be in the water where we wouldn’t be gathered up and tossed to the shoreline, it took awhile. As you can tell by the following photos we had a good time with it as we played in the water like a couplea kids (I’m sure that the locals and folks familiar with beaches and such were rolling their eyes at us, but we were having a ball, minus the sand in areas of our bodies that typically don’t see the light of day, just sayin’)

Connie "hugging" the surf
Connie “hugging” the surf
...and Connie coming out of the surf.  I had the same experience.  (all that brown stuff in the water is sand that's been churned up by larger than average waves during our stay in Hawaii)
…and Connie coming out of the surf. I had the same experience. (all that brown stuff in the water is sand that’s been churned up by larger than average waves during our stay in Hawaii)

We ended up at the pool, warming ourselves in the late day sun, tired of being rolled in the surf. Folks from all over the world were doing the same all around us. In the evening we ventured out in the downtown area of Oahu, where high end stores line the streets. We found a nice place to eat called “The Yard House” where I had the best fish sandwich ever, again. Connie tried it and thought that they had added beef to the burger, but no…the fish is that good over there. Still feeling the affects of jet lag and the time difference (and the fact that the hotels fire alarm went off every twenty minutes for an hour and a half the night before starting at midnight) we turned in early, or around 2 AM Iowa time.

Tomorrow we fly to Maui for the majority of our stay in the islands. We sleep deeply, our room is like a palace to us.
Until then, peace.
R

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