Touring Pearl Harbor in Hawaii
Just west of Honolulu, Hawaii, is a lagoon harbor that is home to the United States Navy and the United States Pacific Fleet. With the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor approaching on the 7th of December, attention to this destination has begun to heighten. Even though the harbor has a tragic history, it is also remembered for the bravery the enlisted men showed on that day. With the numerous attractions and activities that are located in and around Pearl Harbor, it has become a popular tourist destination that sees approximately 1.5 million visitors exploring the destination each year.
It was believed that the harbor was the home of Kaáhupahau, the shark goddess, by the Hawaiians, and is referred to as Wai Momi (Pearl Water) or Pu'uloa (Long Hill), by the locals. Because of its shallow entrance, it was not the ideal location for big ships, but as the whaling industry grew, the United States' interest in the island grew, as they had to protect their business interests in Honolulu.
The attack on Pearl Harbor is a controversial matter, as even though the Americans were aware of an attack being planned through intercepting messages, they could not decode the location of attack in time. Just after six o'clock in the morning on 7 December 1941, the first wave of attacks hit Pearl Harbor with a devastating blow. Numerous ships and lives were lost, with many injured men and damaged ships remaining after the attack. The sinking of the Arizona battleship is probably one of the most heartbreaking stories in this attack, and the USS Arizona Memorial is a monument to pay tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives, and to educate the public on the events of that day. Visitors can also take a boat ride to the floating memorial of the Arizona which hovers over her sunken remains. There is also a Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Oklahoma Memorial to explore.
Surrounding attractions that are located in close proximity to Pearl Harbor and are also recommended attractions include the Polynesian Cultural Center, Sea Life Park Hawaii, Kualoa Ranch Hawaii, Teddy Bear World Hawaii and the Living Art Marine Centre. Visitors to Pearl Harbor are advised to set aside at least two hours to complete the tour of all the memorials, and visitors will find this tour to be extremely emotional and powerful, especially the drifting memorial to the Arizona, as visitors will be on the watery grave of 1177 courageous men. Touring Pearl Harbor, and the visitor centre that has a large display of photos in there exhibits, is fascinating, educational and a way for visitors to pay their personal respect to those who lost their lives here.