Around Oahu 2017 and 2010
31.10.2017 - 31.10.2017
When I visited Honolulu with my grandson in 2010, I had booked a two day World War II tour. The first part of the tour was to follow, in the air, the flight path taken by the Japanese pilots on December 7, 1941.
But the company doing that part of the tour went bankrupt before we could do the tour. [A report on the 2010 trip will be at the end of this one]
31 October 2017
So on this trip I tried again to get an aerial view by booking the Alii Sacred Falls Helicopter Tour through Shore Excursions Group which works with Expedia. These tours were more expensive than the ship tours, but they were supposed to be smaller groups and better quality.
After the helicopter tour in the morning, Polly was to sail and snorkel in the afternoon, and I was to have a dinner cruise. The Cruise Director had finally decided that they would have a costume parade for Halloween at 8 pm, which is not convenient for any of the evening tours, and this is the only port where an evening tour such as a luau would be feasible. The ship did not make much of Halloween
Since the helicopter tour was not until 10:30, we went to breakfast and I had the poached eggs which were on the specials menu - otherwise poached eggs take an extra 15 minutes.
I called both the dinner cruise people and the helicopter people. I talked to the dinner cruise people about how to get there and I told the helicopter people that I would be bringing a scooter. They were OK with it.
We went down and exited the terminal (Terminal 2) a little before 10
because I wasn't absolutely sure exactly where we were to be picked up - in front of the cruise ship, or out on the adjacent street. That's because the directions assumed that we would be at Terminal 1 (that's one reason I called). So we watched people coming and going for about half an hour.
The van to pick us up came at 10:30 and came all the way into the terminal. The driver just picked up my scooter and stuck it in the bus. They didn't weigh us like the helicopter tour people did in 2010.
We had the safety briefing and they gave us our safety equipment. We had to put all our stuff in a locker - we couldn't even take water. They put Polly (who was the smallest and lightest of the six people who were going on our flight) in the front next to the pilot - she had the best view. I was in the middle of the back. I put the telephoto lens on the camera and I was able to get some reasonable photos shooting in between Polly and the pilot. Even one lighthouse.
The description of the tour was that it was the Alii Sacred Falls Helicopter Tour. I did not have the whole description of the tour when I made the reservation so I was not aware that it would be much more than that.
When I went to the website afterward, I got the description of the tour, which is as follows:
The incredible scenery and landmarks of Oahu are on display during this spectacular aerial tour. Let the hourlong flight show you monuments and famous locations from Hawaii's history and popular culture, along with the beaches, mountains, and waterfalls that give the island its world class beauty. Get started with a beautiful view the historic Aloha Tower at Honolulu Harbor and fly over the Hawaiian capital to see Iolani Palace and Punchbowl Crater. (I didn't see the Palace or the Punchbowl, but the Aloha Tower was in the bottom of the first photo)
After you pass Diamond Head and the affluent homes of the Gold Coast, follow the rugged shore around Oahu's east end. Admire the solitary lighthouse at Makapuu Point
and get a stunning view of Nu'uanu Pali, the site of a historic victory by King Kamehameha's warriors.
Next, your flight shows you gorgeous coral formations at Kaneohe Bay, the distinctive islet of Mokoli'i, and the iconic Ka'a'awa Valley, which served as a setting for productions such as Jurassic Park and Lost. The highlight of the tour is the 1,000-foot (300-m) cascade of Sacred Falls
. Along the storied North Shore, you can look down at world-renowned surfing spots like Sunset Beach, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay. Your flight over Oahu's Central Plain shows you the Dole Pineapple maze and the ancient Kukaniloko Birth Site. When it's time to start back, the helicopter takes you south through the Kolekole Pass to see the Ihilani and Ko Olina resorts. Fly over the deep-draft harbor at Barber's Point and get a panoramic view of Pearl Harbor before you come in to land.
I did not get a photo of the Sacred Falls because that was a tiny part of the tour and we weren't there long enough. But because I felt a little guilty about not booking a Pearl Harbor tour for Polly, I was thrilled that we went around the island and came back over Pearl Harbor so Polly got to see the Arizona from the air.
We got back a little after noon and went up to have lunch in the buffet. Somebody always helps me, but I really can't see most of the food. That's the good part of the day.
Came back to the room and I happened to look at my phone and see I had a text message. Polly's catamaran had an engine problem and was not going to be going. (This was after she had her suit on). So I made a reservation for her to come on the dinner cruise with me. She went up to have a swim, and I just fell asleep as I was exhausted. And I totally forgot to call Bob.
We got a cab to the dinner cruise boat.The driver said it was $7.60 and I gave him $10 because he was nice. There was dancing before we got on (hula type dancing by professional dancers).
We were in room C/D which was not air conditioned. The menu was in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. They gave us each a free Mai Tai (I gave mine to Polly).
I just had water and when I asked for tea, I got hot tea. We had a nice soft roll (all the Princess rolls are hard rolls),
but the rest of the food was mediocre at best. I had expected Hawaiian luau type food. But we just got some salads, a piece of white fish, a piece of chicken and a slice of roast beef. A decent Old Country Buffet would be ashamed to serve such a selection.
And a brownie and some cake type things as
Polly roamed around the ship and saw what other people were eating. She said top deck (3) was A/C and there was better food up there (lobster/king crab legs) but it was way more expensive.
There was a singer/ukulele player who was terrible. Too loud and he sang off key. My back started to hurt. They had people get up an learn a hula in grass skirts, and then there was a regular show with two dancers and canned music. The show was good.
I decided I would use the rest room and there was a "handicapped" rest room on deck two - I got the elevator down. But the door was extremely heavy and I could not hold it open and get in with the scooter. Someone had to help me with it.
And someone had to help me get out too, or I would be there still.
There was a nice sunset, but I saw only the reflection of the sun on the clouds over Honolulu. There was too much vibration in the ship for me to take good nighttime shots of the city lights.
The cab back to the ship was under $5.00 until we stopped and then it jumped to $10. So that's what I gave him and didn't tip extra. We got back about 10 after eight so too late for the Halloween parade which was a big disappointment, as we had costumes.
Arriving Honolulu Wednesday 16 June 2010
We went out to meet my friend at the shopping mall for dinner. We were to get the pink shopping trolley (free).
Some of the yellow and blue route trolleys came first.
When the pink trolley came, it took us on a tour of downtown and then went out to the dinner location - we met at Zippy's.
My grandson had a hamburger steak and couldn't eat all of it. I had a corned beef sandwich and corn bread and a float.
Then we followed the footprints to get the pink shuttle back to the hotel and went to bed about 9 am.
Thursday June 17th
My grandson was up at about 5:30 our time. He says he has no jet lag. I'm not so sure about myself.
We are getting the trolley to the Bishop Center this morning. We ate breakfast at Jimmy Buffets. He had an omelet and I had oatmeal. We get a 20% discount if we are hotel guests. I picked up beach towels from the pool as my grandson has suddenly decided he'd like to go to the beach. (He said his mother "made" him learn to swim, by which I conclude that he's not much on swimming.) I asked him about the Bishop Museum and he changed his mind about going to the beach this morning and so as noted above we went to the Bishop Museum. Before we left, I went to a cash machine to replenish the money that I had spent on a cab.
Originally I had planned to take one of the sightseeing trolleys out there, but they have shortened the route and no longer go out that far. Now I have to figure out an alternate way. We were told that the #2 or #13 bus (The Bus) would go to the museum, but we just missed a #2. I was told the fare was $2.25 for adults and $1.00 for kids and there is some kind of reduced fare for disabled seniors but I don't know what it is. I had the fare out, but only managed to find $1.25 and the driver said that was enough. I guess I look like a disabled senior. The driver and other pax were very helpful about where to get off and where to go after that. We got transfers.
The bus doesn't go directly to the museum - there is a two block walk, plus the gate is about another block from the buildings
We went first to the science building. We were told that there would be a lava melting demonstration in about 10 minutes, so we went up to see that. There was a very noisy furnace going behind a steel mesh curtain, heating up the lava rocks. The demonstrating person passed around various kinds of lava to the audience, and then he opened the curtain a little and put on turnout gear (like firefighters wear) and poured out the lava in a red glowing stream.
After that my grandson played with the remote control underwater robot and looked at the volcano model
and down into where the underwater robot operates. We also saw information on volcano tubes.
We had lunch (I had quiche and my grandson had grilled cheese) and then went to the Planetarium for a talk on how the Polynesians got to Hawaii using the stars. Although I thought it was semi-interesting, I almost went to sleep and my grandson thought it was boring.
As we walked up to the bus stop and there was a bus there - I told my grandson to run up and tell the driver I was coming, but he misunderstood and thought I just wanted to know what bus it was. So we missed it.
Eventually got on a #2 and went back to where I thought we could buy a ticket for the trolley that went to Diamond Head. But the map that the hotel marked for me was wrong so I went into the hotel which was where the map was marked and asked. They said the depot was several blocks away. I was tired of walking, and I figured the tickets would be about $22 each ($44 total), so I asked how much a cab would be and the girl at this other hotel's excursion desk said she thought $20 each way. No contest - I would get a cab. The guy at the desk of the hotel called one for me. I felt I probably ought to tip him because I wasn't even a guest there, but didn't think of it in time.
Anyway the cab whisked us out to the lighthouse and then drove us into the crater and back out. When we got back to the hotel, the fare was $35.10, and I gave him $30 and was looking for another $10 bill when he said that was sufficient. So I thanked him.
We ordered pizza for dinner thinking that we could have some before the tour in the morning. My grandson had sausage and I had Hawaiian. I also ordered cheese bread. It was delivered to the room. My grandson went to get ice and bought himself a soda. We put the leftovers in the fridge
He has been going down to the hotel gift shop and the international market which is near us and buying stuff. We decided we were too tired to go to the beach this evening. Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor
June 18, 2010
Set the automatic wake-up call for 5:30 and it came at 5:20 and asked if I wanted another call in 10 minutes. Since the phone is NOT by the bed, I was already up, so I declined. It was obvious that it had rained last night. My grandson and I each ate a piece of pizza and applied sunscreen and went down to meet the van about 6:10 for what was advertised as a 6:15 pickup. The van was about 20 minutes late.
First we went to the Pearl Harbor visitor's center. We were to meet back at the Pacific Ocean (map on the sidewalk).
They had already gotten our tickets for us with a time to visit.
Apparently they were all sold out of times by 10:40 today. At least we didn't have to wait in line for the tickets. Since our time for the shuttle to the Arizona was 9:40, we were to visit the submarine first and then see the movie and then line up for the boat.
I did go into the submarine but it was a struggle. My feet don't pick up high enough to get across the hatch threshold. So I would put my cane on the other side of the hatch, pick one foot up and put it through, and then get my body through, stand on that first foot and then pull the other foot after me steadying myself with the cane. We took lots of photos.
Some places on the sub (like the
I recognized from when I've been aboard with Bob long ago.
Then I rested and visited the bathroom, and hobbled over to the movie which was in a temporary theatre - they are re-doing the visitor's center. The movie was very touching. Then I just sat and waited for the 9:40 ride and took pictures of the banded doves - there were a lot of these - they are not native to Hawaii. This had the advantage of that we heard the 9:20 speech before going out in the shuttle boat - our 9:40 speech was nil. They let the wheelchair and crippled people like me board first. I sat in the front on the port side. My grandson sat in front of me. It was kind of spitting rain - nothing hard, but the sun was behind a cloud.
We were instructed not to stop on the way in. I took some pictures, including one of a barracuda hanging around the ship which did not turn out. But the sun was behind a cloud and it was hard to see anything.
When the sun came out we could see better, including the oil slick which you can't really see if there's no sun.
My daughter said that her photos when my mother took her to the Arizona memorial were almost identical to the ones that we took 30 some years later.
We were loaded back on the bus and driven to the
I was told that I could go up in the elevator, but not told that I could have a wheelchair. So my grandson went on without me - I was too tired to climb around on another ship and Bob has really only served on subs and carriers - no battleships. We did have our picture taken.
I went into the store which had A/C
and sat on the floor next to the drink cooler after I got an iced tea and a snickers bar. My iced tea top rolled under the cooler and I tried to retrieve it with my hat but didn't get it and got my hat full of dust bunnies and dirt. One of the people warned me that tea is a diuretic and I'd have to 'go'. I don't know if that was it or not, but my ankles are not swollen anymore.
The people were apparently unhappy with me sitting there so they brought me a wheelchair and took me up the elevator.
But I didn't see my grandson anywhere. So I rolled down the deck (it was not level) to the fan tail.
Then I saw him finishing his tour and he took me back down the elevator and we went to look at the memorial for the
They were very adamant that we were not to take pictures on the base, but I did take some of the Missouri from outside the gate.
We got back on the bus and went to the Pacific Air museum.
Here we ate lunch. My grandson had a burger and I had a pulled pork sandwich. We had a very nice tour of the museum with a tour guide who explained why the Zero was constructed as it was and the strengths and weakness. He also explained the types of bombs that were used. He showed us the small two seater plane - civilian which happened to be in the air at the time of the attack.
They had a model figure of General Doolittle next to the Ruptured Duck and the yellow biplane trainer which was was the trainer flown by all the military pilots at that time. After the tour, while my grandson was shopping, I took some photos of the air traffic control tower that was there in 1940.
Then we did a drive-through of the city (photos are taken from the bus) including the Punch Bowl
and the tour included every house that Obama's family ever lived in or place he worked or had been in any way associated with him. We got back about 4:30. My grandson thought we might go swimming, but we were both tired, and so we just finished up the pizza for dinner. Tomorrow we board the Pride of America