Historic Pearl Harbor Tour

Since today is Memorial Day, I’m sharing photos of our tour around Pearl Harbor on Saturday. The Pearl Harbor Historic Tour is offered this weekend as a collaboration between the National Park Service and the US Navy. The tour guide said we could take photos so here they are.

Arizona Memorial

It started to rain as we passed the Arizona memorial and battleship row. We’d stop there on our return. First we headed to Torpedo Alley. Aerial torpedoes easily destroyed ships that lined this channel.

Torpedo Alley

We turned back to the main harbor area. I was looking back at torpedo alley when I realized a submarine was in front of me.

I hardly noticed the submarine.

We tried to exit the barricaded section of Pearl Harbor. We had to wait for the Navy to open the gates for us.

barricades

Turning to our right we passed the other side of Ford Island on our way to the USS Utah memorial. It’s known as the “forgotten memorial” because it sits in an area where active military live. The remnants of the Utah moved me. I envisioned what really happened that day by viewing this sight.

USS Utah. The Forgotten Memorial

Here’s a closer view of the Utah.

We turned then, stopping to view the small entrance to Pearl Harbor.

The small entrance to the harbor.

It’s because the entrance is so small that when the USS Nevada was attacked, she was heading towards open sea when she started sinking. Knowing she would block the small channel, they beached the Nevada on an area to the left and before the entrance.

The monument for the brave crew who beached the USS Nevada in order for others to reach open sea.

Back in the main harbor area where the battleships are, we passed the shipyard. No Ka Oi means “the best”.

No ka oi = the best

We passed the Missouri. I’d been on it before, but had never seen it from the water looking at her starboard side.

USS Missouri

And finally we stopped at the Arizona. It was a choppy water day so we didn’t see any oil or bubbles, but the shrine is always poignant.

Thank you to all who serve our country. Let’s remember those no longer with us and the sacrifices they made.

Welcome Home to O’ahu

You know you live in the right place when you don’t want to leave.

That’s what I told myself as I slowed my pace while walking to my boarding gate at Honolulu airport.  I stopped on the walkway overlooking the courtyard below and inhaled the smell of the plumeria. I took in the colors of the trees and the sound of the wind before I shut myself into the enclosed boarding area. I didn’t want to go to California.

I was heading to a writing conference at USC, my alma mater. I was going to a place I love, doing what I love, and I didn’t want to leave the place I have come to love more – Hawaii.

Before I moved here, people told me the ‘aina (land) would either take me in or spit me out. I worried, especially after my bumpy arrival here. Hawaii isn’t like anywhere else I’d been. I needed to adjust.

So I did.

I learned to slow down, to listen to the land, the weather, the animals, the people.

I think of the mountains and how they slope into valleys and stretch out to sea. It’s like relaxing in a comfy lounge chair. I settle into the slope and breathe in the green around me, then gaze into the blue stretched out before me. Living here is soothing.

There are three places I feel connected to on this planet: one calls me back to its magic every few years; the second grips me and tells me I can’t leave because I have roots there and need to explore them: the third, O’ahu, welcomes me to the space it has made for me, and invites me to rest and take in its beauty.

Upon my return, I exited the airport and sat in traffic overlooking the industrial part of town. Even there, I felt the land welcome me home.