On Friday I wrote about my visit to the Arizona Memorial in December (Arizona’s Still Bleeding), but there’s so much more to see, experience, explore and learn at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sights.
The day dawned bright and sunny, but soon after we arrived at Pearl Harbor, the rain began to fall. Luckily, we had more than enough to keep us occupied indoors, in the fascinating exhibits explaining events leading up to, and during, the Japanese attack.
As I said last time, our visit to the Arizona was accompanied by the rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning, which were appropriately reminiscent of the sights and sounds of a distant battle.
By the time we returned to shore, it was an absolute deluge. Time to head somewhere dry, we thought. And where better than inside a submarine? (Although we got pretty damp getting there!)
Clambering through the tight confines of the USS Bowfin, a World War II submarine, was a lot fun. Although I suppose ‘fun’ would be the last word used by any of the submariners who served with her. It must take a special type of person to spend weeks on end aboard such a vessel.
When the time came to leave the Bowfin, my first thought was that they must have submerged her while we were below decks. A wall of water hit us as we climbed the ladder back into the open. If we got wet as we came aboard, we got drenched as we walked the length of her deck, back to the gangplank.
Thankfully, by the time the shuttle bus to Ford Island dropped us off beside the monstrous USS Missouri, the rain had begun to abate. The seemingly endless rooms, compartments, corridors and decks of the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy were a complete contrast to the cramped interior of the Bowfin. And during the three hours we spent exploring the massive ship, the rain finally petered out.
Although the afternoon was getting on, we still had time to squeeze in an hour or so at the Pacific Aviation Museum to round off our day. My brother, Bisckits, loves anything to do with aeroplanes, as anyone who’s read Jaspa’s Journey The Great Migration, or some of my previous blogs, will know. We always try to fit in a visit to an aviation museum whenever we get the chance, like Seattle’s Museum of Flight or McMinnville’s Evergreen Aviation Museum, home of the Spruce Goose.
But the Pacific Aviation Museum has an extra draw. It’s housed in a pair of hangers at the former Naval Air Station on Ford Island, one of the airfields hit during the attack on Pearl Harbor. And some of the damage suffered back in 1941 is visible today.
In contrast to the terrible weather earlier in the day, we were treated to a beautiful evening as we left Ford Island, with the Arizona Memorial bathed in sunlight.
The same was true the following evening, when we briefly returned to complete a great Wherigo geocache (GC4KEKY, USS Arizona WIGO), which takes you around the exhibits of the main Pearl Harbor site.
And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!