I had the opportunity to go on a business trip for the US Air Force, Pacific Command to inspect the new Financial Services Center at Ellsworth AFB, North Dakota. On the way back I took a few days of leave to visit Hawaii. Sadly, Teresa was not able to go, but she was there to drop me off at the bus, bound for Narita Airport, Tokyo.
Teresa saw me off at the bus, and tried to make me laugh by hiding in the bushes with some camouflage folliage to help mask her location...:)
On the way to Narita, I had a clear and sunny day. This was rare, as this summer has been plagued with almost daily rainstorms. Here is a shot of the famous Tokyo Tower, 333 meters high.
Here is my NorthWest Boeing 777 coming in the terminal to take me to Seattle. From Seattle I went on to Salt Lake City, then Rapid City South Dakota. After a few days there, I went to Minneapolis and then on to Honolulu. I had the opportunity to have lunch with my friend Rob at Seattle, which was really cool to be able to do.
I had made reservations at the Wyland Hotel. I picked the Wyland because it had the fewest number of complaints or issues of the 20 or so hotels in my price range that I researched on Travelocity. It is a nice hotel, pretty new and about 3 blocks from the beach.
Here is a picture of my room. it was very spacious and comfortable. And clean. That is a big issue for me...:)
There were lots of Wyland metal sculptures in the grounds around the hotel. Dolphins...
Sea Turtles...
And whales too of course. On Saturday and Monday , I was able to have dinner with my good friends Richard and Jennifer. On Monday I also got to have dinner with their daughter as well. It was great to be able to see them all again. Richard and I have been friends since 2001, when I first started the FSA job with the US Air Force.
Here is the street in front of my hotel, leading down to the beach. It was really cool to see all of the palm trees and such...not something you get in Tokyo!
Almost all of the old shops and strip mall type areas have been demolished, and new chic, upscale shopping and eating buildings are every where now.
But Diamond Head is still the same as always! The water was so warm, you could just walk out into it and not feel a chill or be cold. There were fish everywhere, and some reef areas were just a dozen feet out or so.
I spent a fair amount of time on the beach and in the water, but I don't have many photos of these trips, because as I was by myself, there was nobody to guard my camera and clothes when I was in the water. So, trips to the beach were made with a room key and a $20...that was it.
Each day the skies were partly cloudy, but lots of sunshine. It would rain for a few minutes everyday, but most people ignored the rain, as they knew it would end in a few minutes after it started...
The beach barriers that were put in to hinder a Japanese invasion during WWII and for erosion control afterwards are actually causing a severe erosion problem themselves. They have not figured out how to remove them safely yet, but the Hawaiian Government is owrking on it.
But there are still areas of wide and beautiful sandy beaches...each day was about 90 degrees with cooling breezes, and nights were in the low 80's.
You could easily tell the tourists from the locals...us tourists were mighty pale!
The Hilton Village Complex is huge, and inbetween a hundred shop bungalows are small parks. Here is some Flamingos and some small Neenee birds.
The Wedding Chapple inside the Hilton Complex...it has waterfalls coming down from the hill it was made on.
There are dozens of large life-sized metal sculptures all over as well.
As well as the Hawaiian Tiki Totems as well...
Another sculputure of three women making Taro Cloth.
A close up of one of the sculptures.
There were so many stretch limousines too. Here is a "Hummer" stretch limousine.
A traditional modern limo. There were quite a few exotic limo's too. Last time I was here about 5 years ago, there were tons of tourists on motorized scooters. I did not see very many this time, only a small handfull. Evidently accidents and insurance rates have killed that market for the most part.
On the beach by the Hale Koa Military Hotel is Fort DeRussy, a prior defensive fortification, now a military museum. It is one of the few free things to see or do in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Tiki works in the front of the museum.
A Vietnam era attack helicopter...
A WWII American Sherman tank with 1 inch steel armor.
A WWII Japanese tank with 1/4 inch steel armor.
Everywhere was beautiful folliage and colors. This is in a park front of the Hale Koa.
I got to try a Segway for the first time on this trip. I did a 4 hour tour, which started at the Hawaiian Hilton Village Segway, and took me up to Diamond Head mountain. I did not get that many photos of the trip, as I needed both hands to stay safely on the machine. It was a ton of fun.
We started in Waikiki, went thru town, thru residential areas, such as Hugh Heffner's mansion area, and then up to Diamond Head.
I'm #13 there. On the way up, the speed govenors were set to 12MPH max. On the way back they upped the Govenor to about 20MPH.
It was a beautiful day as always, and we did about 12 miles on the Segways.
Up by Diamond Head we got to see beach areas where only the locals went for fishing and surfing.
Hawaii is a tropical island, but around Diamond Head it resembles a desert in many ways. The ground is dry, brown and barren in most places.
In the distance in this shot you can faintly see Maui. Also, in the middle, to the top right a bit you can see some boats. They are escorting about 100 paddle surfers who are doing a marathon from Maui to Honolulu.
Up on the left side is some homes of the very very wealthy. One of them, owned by the Dukes, (as in Duke University) has been valued at almost a Billion Dollars.
Back in Honlulu, here is the harbor where the opening scenes of Gilligans Island was filmed.
The Ala Moana Shopping Mall has gotten much bigger, but my favorite resturaunt in the food court, the "Poi Bowl" was still there. I got my Lau Lau and Poi several times there. Lau Lau is steamed pork, wrapped in spinach, with Banana Leaves used to give it a flavoring during the steaming. Poi is fermented Taro root paste.
I had lunch at Bubba Gump's with Richard. The food was great, we had huge piles of shrimp...go figure. I also later went back (I was too full the first time) for a huge slice of Key Lime Pie.
Here is a shot from the balcony of Bubba Gump's Resturaunt at the Ala Moana Mall.
A shot of the beach in front of the Hilton Complex.
On another day, from the Hilton Complex, went on a Submarine Ride. The dock for the ride starts right in front of the Hilton.
The day, as usual was gorgeous. The submarine is owned by Atlantis Submarines.
The seas were pretty smooth, with a nice breeze..Honolulu in the background here.
A shot of me and Diamond Head.
The Submarine came up from a dive, to unload and load passengers.
We pulled up alongside the submarine...which unloaded its passengers.
Then we climbed down into the hull. This is one of their newest and largest sub's.
A shot of me inside the submarine...
We went down about 110 to 115 feet. Here is a man made reef structure. It got damaged during the last Typhoon when a wrecked aircraft got tossed ontop of it.
We saw an old lava flow onto the sand, where the sealife exploaded in density.
Coral, fish, and all sorts of critters. The photos actually have come out better than you could orginally see, because I was able to highlight and filter the images inside Photoshop.
A shot of the passengers with me, at 113feet indepth.
Here is an engine mount for a wrecked Aircraft that the Atlantis Company put down on the seafloor a number of years ago.
It's in alot worse shape now then when they first put it down, because the last typhoon picked it up and smashed it against the artificail reefs they also built. What was left was hauled back to it's orginal location a few months later.
On the WWII oiler that was sunk here, we got to see a sleeping Sea Turtle. These turtles are still on teh endangered species list.
A shot of the bridge area of the Oiler.
Colorful fish were everywhere.
This is the stern of a large Korea Fishing vessel that caught fire and was sunk here.
The fire warped the structure of the 150 foot long vessel. The crew ran out of water and fire extinguishers, and had to use large 55 gallon drums of Soy Sauce to put the fire out. Evidently the smell was pretty wild.
Up comes the sub, and we exit the vessel. We spent about 90 minutes underwater.
The crew waves us good bye!
The salt water enclosed lagoon in front of the Hilton Complex. It is totally enclosed, so it's a great place for kids and those that are scared of sharks to splash around.
Another shot of the marina. The water was very clear, and there are tons of fish in the water here.
On another day I went out to Pearl Harbor to look at their newest exhibit, the USS Misouri, the last active Battleship of the US Navy. http://www.ussmissouri.com
It fought in WWII, Korea an Vietnam. It also fought in the Gulf Wars after it was brought out of mothballs and outfitted with missles.
A shot of me on the Missouri, with the Arizona Memorial behind me.
The front of the USS Missouri, with the Gulf Wars era radio antennas on the bow.
The huge 16 inch guns that can hurl a 2000 pound explosive projectile 50 miles with a high accuracy.
A self portrait. The Missouri was attacked successfully twice by Kamikaze pilots, of which the first attack still is evident with a dent in the hull near the back right of the ship.
Across the water, in the active US Navy harbor are many ships, including these three frigates.
Here is an Air Craft Carrier and several cruisers.
A shot from higher in the ships superstructure, looking down onto the USS Arizona Memorial. After all these years, the Arizona is still leaking oil. That is the click area you see this side of the memorial. It was especially thick the day I visited.
Another shot of me and the guns. The USS Missouri, or "Mighty Mo" could fire off a round from each gun every 90 seconds.
A shot of the Executive Officer's cabin..the Captains was huge.
This is what the berths looked like for the crew during the Gulf War. The crew in WWII was about 2500, during the Gulf War, about 1200.
Here is a shot of what the berths looked like in WWII.
A last look at the "Might Mo" before I continue the Pearl Harbor Tour.
The white building here was the actual Air Control tower that was damaged by the Japanese attack on December 7th. The tall tower next to is was built later during the war to train deep sea divers.
Inside the Air Museum is many WWII and later era aircraft and navy craft. It was a really fun place.
Next was the USS Bowfin, a WWII submarine that survived the war. The US Submarine Fleet took enormous losses during WWII, but it was also responsible for majority of the total tonnage destroyed by the US Navy.
I got to tour the Bowfin back in 1988, when I vacationed here with my parents and Grandmother Verlie, at Christmas time.
Inside WWII submarines the equipment that controls it looks very primative...
And very cramped compared to the interiors of the "Mighty Mo".
This is a WWII Japanese suicide submarine. One way trip, with the sub filled with explosives.
Here is my friend Richard and myself as I leave to return to Tokyo...or so I thought. After standing in line for hours with the status of my plane marked "Canceled" I found my plane was broken, and I was forced to spend another night on NorthWest Airlines dime in Hawaii.
After spending 5 hours at the airport, I arrived at the Ala Moana Hotel, next to Ala Moana shopping center.
This time I had a view...of the "mountain". Which means the city, with a little rocks thrown in for good measure.
Still, I had time for one more dip into the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii. I went out to Wizard's Park.
The water was warm and clear....
Mostly it was locals who frequented this area. This is down a mile or two from Waikiki.
But the view and water was just as nice...if not nicer!
And then a return on United, as my original Airlines, North West did not have room for me. The plane was not as nice as a NorthWest plane, but it got me home safe and sound....if not a bit tired. It was good to be home!
MUSIC VIDEO OF THIS TRIP HERE