Ugh. Rain. I don’t mean I hate rain–I love rain! It’s just that I love it even more when I can stay at home and watch old movies while lounging on the couch with the pupcicle. But not when I have to be out in it schlepping things for work and especially not when it ruins perfectly nice plans to visit the USS Arizona.
If you google “hurricanes that have hit Hawaii” there is a long list starting in the mid 1800’s, however, relatively few of them have actually hit the islands of Hawaii. Apparently, that is a thing. And by “that” I mean that the islands do not receive many direct hits and by “direct hits” I mean where the eye of the hurricane makes landfall. Hurricanes usually tend to divert course at the last minute or dramatically downgrade to a tropical storm just before they hit.
There are several reasons theorized as to why, but I’m not going to get into any of them today (sorry–but here is a google search you can click on to read all about it!). The only reason I’m mentioning it is because our vacation fell at the end of hurricane season and while we were there, there were a couple of hurricanes passing by (and by “by” I mean close enough to increase the rainfall, but far enough that we didn’t have to hunker down in our rooms with provisions for several days).
In fact, the only time it really interfered with our plans was Day 2. We were scheduled to go to Pearl Harbor in the morning and then fly out later that afternoon to the Big Island. So as not to have to arrive at the crack of dawn and wait in line for tickets, we booked a combo city bus tour + Pearl Harbor packet, which first took us on a tour of Honolulu and then dropped us off at Pearl Harbor so that we could explore the museum, go visit the USS Arizona, and then it would pick us up to take us back to our hotel.
Along the tour we saw the Hawaii State Capitol building, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue, and Punchbowl National Cemetery (not to mention great views overlooking of Honolulu!).
After the tour, we headed to Pearl Harbor. At this point, it was raining intermittently. We signed up for a slot on the boat out to the USS Arizona and then wound our way through the museum.
As it neared our appointed boat slot time, we went to stand in line. Alas, we were delivered saddening news: the US Navy had cancelled all trips to the USS Arizona.
We were devastated.
Having grown up in Fredericksburg, home of the Nimitz Museum–the only WWII museum in the continental US solely dedicated to the Pacific War–visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona has been on my bucket list for a very long time. And visiting Pearl Harbor was the main reason we decided to stay a bit longer in Honolulu. We knew that Day 2 was our only chance to go see it, as we would not be coming back to Oahu in this trip. After moping around for a few minutes, we realized that, while disappointing, it was a very legitimate reason to come back!
We did get to to see the USS Missouri, which is now permanently docked at Pearl Harbor. And the highlight of the day (IMHO) was meeting Uncle Herb, a survivor of the surprise attack. During the early morning of December 7, 2941 the Japanese sent over 350 planes to attack the US Naval Base, damaging 170 aircraft and 16 ships, sinking 3 ships, and claiming the lives of 3,700 Americans. Despite the weather and the change in plans, it was a humbling experience and should you find yourself in Hawaii, it it definitely worth the trip.