Sister Trip 8 – Oahu & Maui – September 26 to October 5, 2017

23 Oct

Alaska had such a good deal that we were able to fly first class. Such fun and good food! We were doubly glad we were in the comfy seats because just before we reached the halfway point, we had to return to Oakland due to two medical emergencies. (if you wish to enlarge the photos, please click on them)

Our first must-see was Pearl Harbor. The Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri represent the beginning and end of World War II

WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument is the the official name of where visitors see the Arizona Memorial.  One of the ships you can tour is the submarine, USS Bowfin. This is looking toward the stern from the conning tower.

Those WWII submariners were special people to be in these tight quarters. There were bunks even in the aft torpedo room.

Pearl Harbor and Honolulu are truly at the Crossroads of the Pacific.

I was impressed with the logistics of moving people out to see and board the Arizona Memorial. Upon arrival, one receives a ticket with a time to see a very well done film about the attack. After seeing the film, you leave the building and board a navy boat that takes you out to the Memorial. Everyone gets about 10 or 15 minutes to look around and then you get in line to wait while the next navy boat lets people off and then you board. It’s very efficient and done very respectfully.

The memorial wall with the names of the men who are entombed in the Arizona and their shipmates who did not survive the attack. The bench-like boxes on the left and right list the names of survivors who chose to be interred with their shipmates.

This map shows the ships’ positions just prior to the attack and what happened to them. I was incensed when I saw what I thought indicated the USS Nevada was also sunk. It was anchored in front of the Arizona and was the only battleship to get underway that day. It was heavily damaged but was repaired and fired one of the first salvos on D-Day. I even wrote a letter to the Park Service explaining what I thought was an error. Not until I saw Jerri’s picture here that I realized the colors were different shades and the Park Service really did have it right. So then I had to write a letter of apology. I still think the colors should be completely different so as not to confuse folks like me.

As we were leaving Valor in the Pacific Monument, Jerri spotted this moa (a feral chicken). He was just pecking his way around the Monument grounds. His cousins are all over the Islands.

The USS Oklahoma Memorial: The marble standards symbolize the “manning of the rails” – the crew in dress uniforms standing at attention along a ship’s rails in a display of honor and respect. I think this is a unique and poignant memorial for the 429 men lost on that fateful day.

We are on board the USS Missouri. Those guns behind us weigh, literally, tons.

The exact spot on the USS Missouri deck where the instrument of formal surrender of Japan was signed to bring a close to WWII.

We were able to tour a good part of the Missouri above and below deck. It was like a confusing city below deck where the men slept, ate, went to the dentist, saw the doctor, wrote letters and lived their lives. We were glad to get back to the main deck away from (again) those tight quarters.

Perhaps the most famous photo of the end of WWII.

Our tour bus took us from the Missouri to the Pacific Aviation Museum. It is housed in pre-WWII aircraft hangars and displays aircraft from WWII on. The lobby floor is very unique in that it is an aerial photo of Pearl Harbor as it is today. It is tiled but you can hardly see the seams. This portion is looking down on the USS Missouri, the Arizona Memorial and the two white spots above the Arizona mark where the USS Nevada was moored.

These Hangar 79 windows still have bullet holes from the December 7, 1941 attack. The Navy continued to use the hangar as a repair facility but never repaired the holes to remind the sailors they were working in a combat zone.

Our bus then headed toward downtown Honolulu and the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Crater). Due to previous issues with tour buses, we were not allowed to wander around the cemetery but we did drive around the grounds and did see Ernie Pyle’s grave between two unknown soldiers. We got to stop just outside the cemetery grounds and take pictures of a pretty rainbow that seemed so close that we could almost touch it.

As I took this picture, I wondered what the ancient Hawaiians would say about this jungle of massive buildings beside their beloved Diamond Head.

The next morning, Jerri and I visited the Ali’iolani Hale, home of Hawaii’s Supreme Court and the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center. It was originally designed to be a palace but King Kamehameha V decided that the need for a government building was greater. Finished in 1874, the building was one of the first of its kind to use pre-cast concrete. You might recognize the building as a backdrop for “Hawaii 50.”

We walked across the street to visit the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on US soil and the only place where the Hawaiian flag flies alone. The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty (1845) and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani (1893) under the Kalākaua Dynasty, founded by her brother, King David Kalākaua.

The entry hall staircase to the living quarters. It is made from native Hawaiian koa wood.

The throne room

The dining room

The ‘Iolani Palace had telephone service, electricity and indoor plumbing before much of mainland USA did.

The royal john

We flew over to Maui to begin the VERY relaxing portion of our Sister Trip. Our very first Maui sunset was taken from Leilani’s at Kaanapali. Jerri was hooked right then and there with Hawaii. She loves clouds and sunsets.

View from our condo at Kaleialoha (courtesy RDS)

Our first Maui morning found us at Kapalua Beach fighting for a parking spot in the very small public lot. We finally had to walk the equivalent of a city block after finding one. Soon we were in the water and very quickly, Jerri became an ace at finding the honu (sea turtles).

A green sea turtle.

It was so awesome to swim with them.

On the bluff above Slaughterhouse Beach.  No one was murdered there.  A slaughterhouse used to be a distance away to the right of this photo.

We drove around the north side of Maui, not a well traveled, very skinny (one lane in some cases) road that sometimes hangs on a cliff. It’s a challenge and Jerri did a great job of traversing that stretch of road. Here we are above Honolua Bay.

We drove a bit farther and looked back at much of the development that has occurred in the last 30 years on the west side of Maui. It makes me sad but I understand why it’s being done.

North of the development, the landscape returns to a natural setting with tiny settlements along the way. We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole. The surf and tide weren’t just right to make it blow a giant spume. But it was big enough for us.

The “path” going back up to the car after seeing the Nakalele Blowhole. We had to rest a bit before getting back up to the top.

Rock surfing

Kahakuloa Head (636’ straight out of the ocean) towers over the tiny village of Kahakuloa. The quite narrow one lane road finally ends here. The road then passes through the valley between the two peaks in the picture.

Julia’s in the ”tree house” as she calls it is THE highlight of Kahakuloa. She bakes marvelously tasty banana bread that we sampled and then, of course bought a loaf. It was so good for breakfast!

We really enjoyed the road around the north side of Maui as there was so much beauty to be seen that is much different than the highway that most people take. It was a much slower pace (although the top speed limit in Maui is 55 mph) that we liked. Our final destination was Mama’s Fish House in the little town of Pa’ia (still living in the Age of Aquarius…it’s a fascinating place). Mama’s is famous and we were lucky to get reservations on a Sunday afternoon. We’re waiting for our table at the edge of this beautiful little beach. If you look closely to the left of our palm tree, there are two wind surfers in the ocean. This area is famous for great wind surfing.

Our dinners were just served. Every bite was a gourmet’s delight. Jerri said it was the best lobster she’d ever eaten. My fish was no slouch either.

The Black Pearl was our luscious, out of this world dessert. One just can’t beat Mama’s for a superb meal!

After we visited every ABC Store (the go to place for souvenirs and anything else you can think of) in Lahaina (and other towns in Hawaii), we visited its world famous banyan tree. Believe it or not, this tree is all one tree even though it looks like many.

Since snorkeling was our favorite activity on this trip, we spent our last day seeing as many honu as possible at Kapalua. It was early on a weekday and we still had to fight for a parking space.

We saw many fish, but no sharks, porpoises, octopi or whales. This is a domino damselfish, about 3” long.

An elegant Moorish Idol

All these fish were feeding on coral and rocks. There is a coronetfish (the long, skinny one in back), a yellow tang, zebra surgeonfish, and black surgeonfish. There are probably more, but they are not clear. (Don’t forget to click on the photo to enlarge it if you can’t see it clearly)

Then we hit the jackpot! A large (we called him Grandpa) honu swam under Jerri and went over to a large rock with coral on it. We had discovered they like to rest/sleep in divots in the sand at the edge of these rocks. Pretty soon, Grandpa tried to get a much smaller honu out of the place he wanted to sleep in. You can see Mama is in the picture also.

Baby didn’t like that but got out. He nipped Grandpa on the flipper and after some nudging and sparring, decided discretion was the better part of valor.

Baby surfaced for some air. They can stay underwater for 20 minutes to more than an hour.

He dove back down to try to get his place under the rock again.

Grandpa would have nothing to do with Baby and chased him away again. Baby finally decided to rest under another rock.

We watched this drama for probably 10 or more minutes. The beach was crowded and lots of snorkelers were in the water, but no one joined us or even came close our personal show. This happened several times, which made us happy but shows a lack awareness of many folks.

We went to Duke’s Beach House for dinner and to enjoy one last piece of Hula Pie. Dinner was good but Hula Pie is the best. Thirty years ago, I used to eat one whole piece by myself (I justified it by swimming several hours every day while we were there.) OMG! Times have changed.

Jerri practicing for her sunset picture. 🙂

A gorgeous sunset for our last evening on Maui. Perhaps it’s two sunny searchlights beckoning us to come back?

























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