Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 20 - Pearl Harbor & Aloha!

Can't believe we are at the end of our time in Hawaii - it was so action-packed and went so quickly!

What a wonderful three weeks we have had together.

Our last day began with an early rise of the sun on Kauai. A few of us saw our last sunrise a little after 7AM on the beautiful green island. Then we headed for the airport to catch our flight to Oahu.

Our trip back east was to be a long trip and it was overnight, which gave us the chance to see a little of the area and we headed straight for Pearl Harbor.

Our choice of travel mode to Pearl Harbor
Waiting for the bus
The harbor is only a couple of miles away, so we were eager to get there. While at the airport before the bus came, we did see a few Pro-bowl NFL football players coming through on their way to play in the Pro-Bowl this coming Sunday.

We only had a little amount of time before we had to head back to catch our flight
Rockets and torpedoes in front of the museum area
Unlike wars of the past, the battle of the Pacific Theater of War in WWII the plane was sea power - not the Battleship
USS Bowfin in Pearl Harbor
The anchor of the USS Arizona

The surprise attack on the US fleet harbored in Pearl Harbor, Oahu by the Japan air power launched from carriers was one of the worse moments in our nations history. On December 7, 1941 early on that Sunday morning Japan launched about 350 airplanes - fighters and bombers to destroy the air and naval power of the United States, to clear the way for unimpeded takeover of the entire Pacific. The statistics are sobering as they reflect real lives of fallen heroes: 2,390 killed in the attack, hundreds of others wounded, all battleships in the Pacific damaged or sunk, nearly all military fighter planes destroyed.

The USS Arizona Memorial on the right
After a one-hour movie in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater we boarded this ferry to the Arizona
Entering the memorial

Part of the deck of the USS Arizona

Part of the battleship turret

Oil stills leaks from the USS Arizona and remains a tomb for the 1,177 men who died here. The ship exploded and sank in 9 minutes

The wall of brave Navy and Marine soldiers

Old Glory at the USS Arizona

Heading to the ferry out of the entrance

The flags at Pearl Harbor
Catching the bus back we made our flight with about an hour and a half of down time. Our flight to Atlanta was great with fun entertainment in each seat, but the turbulence was one of the biggest challenges of flight many of us had ever experienced. One stewardess said, "The air turbulence yesterday was the worst I have experienced in 35 years". After the flight, she said it wasn't as bad as the day before.

Arriving in Grand Rapids to the cold and snow was a joy - even if not the beauty of Hawaii. It was great to be back home and back to our School. Much love to all of you. Mahalo (Thank you) and Aloha (Good-bye).

Miles Hiked today and yesterday 0.7
Miles Hiked in Hawaii: 60.5 miles
Miles on the car: 1499 miles
Number of U-Turns: 23
Number of flights on this interim: 9

Tired Prof's out-hiked by these young college men and women
Professor Van Kooten "survives" Haleakala on Day 13
Professor VanHorn sleeps on a black sand beach after the Day 7 Lava hike
Professor's Jan and Gerry Van Kooten enjoy a snooze on the lawn of a National Park on Day 10

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