Pearl Harbor - Oahu

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in USA

Our next trip was to famous Waikiki Beach where we stayed in a great hostel just around the corner. At the Waikiki Beachside Hostel we shared the bathroom and kitchen only with 2 more people and had a private room.

Sure we explored the island and went to the stunning North Shore with its high surf and beautiful beaches. At the Shark Cove we did some snorkeling but because of the waves the visibility wasn’t the best. But the Old Town of Hale’iwa was a great place to walk around and try the famous shrimp dishes.

At Waikiki Beach we played with the waves and tried body boarding but without fins it is hard to get the right speed. After some fun in the waves we met with Andy, his wife and his little son in Chinatown. Do you remember Andy? We have met him on the Kalalau Trail and he is living on Oahu.

A must do is Pearl Harbor and the Memorials. So we dedicated a whole day for the Bowfin Submarine, USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Aviation Museum. Those submarines are always a miracle for me. So narrow with this limited space the crew had to rotate for the bunk beds. Here just a little excursion into history:

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor which precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II.

The Americans had placed all there battleships in the harbor and their air crafts parked wing to wing on the airfield. Since Hawaii is situated in the middle of the Pacific the Americans never believed to get hit by Japanese airplanes since the small machines couldn’t fly long distances.

The radar picked up the airplanes but they assumed it must be American airplanes which were supposed to come in on the very same day on aircraft carriers. 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes came in two waves from six aircraft carriers.   18 ships were sunk, including 5 battleships. 188 American aircrafts got destroyed, 155 damaged. On this attack 2,402 people got killed, 1,282 were wounded.

Three battleships were lost forever, the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and the USS Utah.  The battleship with the highest lost in history - with 1,177 people - was and still is today the USS Arizona. To leave the sailors rest in peace the battleship remains on the oceans ground and the Americans placed a curved platform over the grave as a Memorial. The surviving veterans of the USS Arizona can be buried with their former comrades and will be brought down to the ship in an urn.

This memorial with their sunken sailors touched us and when an eagle ray just glided over the rusted wreck of the battleship it didn’t feel like a tomb.  They say the droplets of oil still coming out of the wreck are the black tears of the dead men.

A great memorial and you can just hope that everybody learns something from this history.