A Pearl Harbor day trip is an unforgettable experience. Visiting the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and the U.S.S. Missouri are just two of the many memorable things to see and do.
Our Pearl Harbor day trip was day 9 of the itinerary on our recent trip to Hawaii and San Francisco.
It was the first trip we did in Oahu Hawaii, having just arrived there from Maui late in the evening of the previous day.
We loved our time in Maui. It was such a peaceful beautiful island, compared to the hustle and bustle of Oahu, but unfortunately as much as we would have loved to stay on further, it was time to continue with the rest of our adventure!
Click on the links below for the full recaps of the trips we did in Maui :-
Breathtaking Haleakala National Park Sunrise
Don’t Miss Whale Watching In Maui
Awaking in the morning of our 9th day, this was the view from the balcony of our accommodation in Honolulu just on the shores of Wiki Beach.
Quite a stunning view don’t you agree?
Just Some Of What You’ll See On A Pearl Harbor Day Trip
There is A LOT to see in Pearl Harbor. Here I’ve summarised just some of what you’ll see and what Lynne and I would recommend that you DO NOT MISS!
Being from a naval family (my dad and his dad both served in the Royal Navy) a Pearl Harbor day trip was something that I had always wanted to do.
I remember when I was a student, hoping that I would be able to visit there one day, I was fascinated by history books covering the events that happened that fateful day on December 7th 1941.
The Japanese surprised and shocked the world by attacking Pearl Harbor and bringing America into the Second World War.
So finally after years of wanting to visit Pearl Harbor it was happening. I was finally here!
We arrived at Pearl Harbor after being picked up by our Roberts bus from near our hotel at 08:45 that morning.
Just like our excellent volcano sunrise trip in Maui with tour operator Roberts, we also chose Roberts for this day trip.
As you can imagine the tours are booked out well in advance and as Pearl Harbor is such a popular attraction it gets busy there quickly.
So, on arrival we were advised to queue for the boat that takes you out to see the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial as early as possible.
At 10.00 we duly did that, the boat passing by the above vessel moored in the Harbor, reminding us that Pearl Harbor is still a fully working Harbor and U.S. navy dockyard.
On our way to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial we also pass by the U.S.S. Missouri, which we visited after the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
I last saw the Missouri on TV during The Gulf War. I was a student then and stacking shelves in a supermarket at nights.
I remember my friends and I had some pretty in depth conversations after our shift ended late at night of how we all thought we were going to get called up and sent to war in The Middle East.
Fortunately I’ve always been spared that duty. Unlike the tragic lives of those young men caught up in the tragedy of the U.S.S. Arizona.
The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial (where most of the casualties took place during the attacks) is built over the remains of the sunken battleship.
The battleship is the final resting place for many of the ship’s 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.
The memorial is only accessible by boat. It is a place of quiet contemplation, inspiration and reflection.
At one end of the memorial, a list of the names of all the men who were lost on the Arizona are etched in stone.
The memorial wall reads, “TO THE MEMORY OF THE GALLANT MEN HERE ENTOMBED AND THEIR SHIPMATES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN ACTION ON DECEMBER 7, 1941 ON THE U.S.S. ARIZONA”.
The sunken ship is just below the surface of the Pacific waters.
Portions of the gun towers are just visible above the surface.
Drops of oil still seep from the ship every few seconds.
These “black tears” are from the the 1.4 million gallons of fuel that once filled the ship.
The U.S.S. Arizona was situated in Battleship Row which was a grouping of eight U.S. battleships in port in Peal Harbor that day when the Japanese attacked with torpedoes from the air.
Those ships bore the brunt of the Japanese assault. They were moored next to Ford Island when the attack commenced.
All of the other 7 U.S. battleships were also damaged by the Japanese torpedo assault, but unlike the others the U.S.S. Arizona was too badly damaged to be salvaged.
A bomb had detonated in a powder magazine and she exploded violently with the loss of 1,177 officers and crewmen. Never to be re-floated.
After the moving experience of the U.S.S. Arizona, next was a tour on the U.S.S. Missouri or the “Mighty Mo” as she’s known.
The U.S.S. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the U.S. Navy. She was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honour of the state of Missouri.
The United States Navy initially placed the order for the Missouri in 1940 and she was eventually commissioned in June 1944.
The primary gun battery of the Missouri consisted of nine 16 inch guns that were capable of firing 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) of armour piercing shells in excess of 20 miles (32.2 kilometres).
During World War 2, the Missouri saw action in the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and also took part in shelling the Japanese home islands.
The ship also saw additional war time service during the Korean War and after being decommissioned in 1955 was brought back to service in 1984.
She provided surface fire support in The Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm in January and February of 1991.
The above plaque is found on board the U.S.S. Missouri, marking the eventual Japanese surrender ceremony which was held on September 2 1945.
The ceremony took place on board the ship which saw officials from the Japanese government sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, thereby ending the hostilities.
As with any trip of such historical significance the whole day is quite a moving experience.
A solemn reminder of so many lives lost not just on the USS Arizona but also throughout the whole of the Second World War.
There is so much more to see in Pearl Harbor, and too much to write here, about the events of that war.
Much is covered extensively in the other museums you have to visit on your day trip to Pearl Harbor.
Folks, I hope I’ve given you just a snapshot of a piece of history that I would recommend putting on your bucket list. Lady Lynne and I are glad it was on ours. Experiences like this shape us and make us remember we are human. Experiences we need to learn from to prevent such tragedies ever happening again.
Next week we’ll continue on our trip in Oahu and I’ll bring you some of the pictures of the evening of the Luau we enjoyed, where we were entertained with traditional Hawaiian music, fire eating and Hula. Hope you can join us then!
I remember my trip to Pearl Harbor vividly. I think for anyone, regardless of whence you hail, that trip is going to make an impact.
Yeah, it’s really moving isn’t it?
There was also so much to take in that I wished we could have had longer!
I’ve never been out to Hawaii, but Pearl Harbor is one of those trips that everyone needs to make at some point. I knew it was the final resting place for the men killed that day, but I did not realize that Pearl Harbor is still an active port. I also didn’t realize that the Arizona is still leaking oil even today. Crazy. Thank you so much for sharing this, Neil! I loved the photos, and it sounds like you and Lynn really had a great trip!
It’s a place where I learned so much David. There was so much I didn’t know. It was fascinating.
And to finally be visiting somewhere that I’d always wanted to, albeit it’s a place where terrible things happened, was a dream come true. And another thing scored off the bucket list.