Holiday in Hawaii – December 2020 – Part 4

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Day 6 – Ka’ena Point, Shave Ice, Pearl Harbor Museum, USS Arizona Memorial, USS Utah Memorial and Dinner at Aiea Bowl

Walking to Ka’ena Point

The most western tip of Oahu is called Ka’ena Point. By taking a trail on either side of the island’s tip, you can visit a beautiful bird sanctuary and sit on a beach made entirely of corral. We took the 3-ish mile (each way) trail from the south side and enjoyed the incredible views of the crashing waves along the rocky shoreline. Literally the entire hike provides a picturesque view. And the waves were booming and blasting against the rocks. I couldn’t resist pretending I was an air bender from Avatar, or Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, orchestrating and directing the massive waves.

Many blue and green colors of the water of the pacific ocean that we saw during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Look at the colors of the water!
Panorama along the Ka'ena Point Trail
Panorama along the Ka’ena Point Trail
There was so much foam because the waves were tumultuous, especially on this day during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
There was so much foam because the waves were tumultuous
There were tons of little alcoves or mini bays along the shore line here and other places we saw during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
There were tons of little alcoves or mini bays along the shore line
Looking out at the vast and powerful ocean from Ka'ena Point Trail during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Looking out at the vast and powerful ocean
Gazing at what lies ahead on Ka'ena Point Trail - beach grass, lava rock and ocean
Gazing at what lies ahead
There were tide pools create along the shore from the waves crashing up and over the rocks to continually keep them full
There were tide pools created along the shore from the waves crashing up and over the rocks to continually keep them full
There were tide pools create along the shore from the waves crashing up and over the rocks to continually keep them full
Maybe a mermaid used this particularly shielded tide pool as a bathtub?
a monk seal resting on the rocks
Can you spot the monk seal?!
On the left, there's a precarious bridge created by the rock formations
On the left, there’s a precarious bridge created by the rock formations
On the left, there's a precarious bridge created by the rock formations
And another bridge! This one looks a bit sturdier, so we walked across it.
photo of the ocean with lots of foam from the waves
The ocean is a reminder of the sheer force of Nature

Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve

At the tip of Ka’ena lies a bird sanctuary and nature reserve. We got to witness a handsome Laysan Albatross sitting in some shade under a bush. These birds build their nests on the ground, so they are prone to attack from rodents. The area is protected by a large fence, so rodents can’t sneak in.

There are monk seals that live out here as well, and we had the privilege of spotting two! They were far apart from each other, since monk seals tend to keep to themselves. They were both snoozing in the sun on the shore, listening to the soundtrack of the ocean as they dozed the afternoon away.

The tide pools at the tip of Ka’ena point are teeming with wildlife. I even laid eyes on an eel! It was pretty small but I immediately sprang out of the water after seeing that guy!

Laysan Albatross, maybe guarding their nest
Laysan Albatross, maybe guarding their nest
butterfly on a flower
butterfly!
View at the tip of Ka'ena Point
View at the tip of Ka’ena Point
two hands holding a heart-shaped piece of corral
There are heart-shaped corral pieces everywhere! We decided to have a romantic moment :p
The whole beach was made of corral instead of rock or sand
The whole beach looked like this!
Tons of tide pools - where I saw an eel!
Tons of tide pools – where I saw an eel!
Path that leads down to another side of the beach
Path that leads down to another side of the beach
a monk seal laying on the beach in the sun
Can you spot the second monk seal we saw?! He’s by the rocks!
photo of light sand-colored lava rock and blue ocean
This photo reminds me of somewhere in the Mediterranean <3
Heart-shaped hole in the rock! we saw a few during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Heart-shaped hole in the rock!
View coming back to the trailhead from the westernmost tip of the island - one of the hardest hikes during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
View coming back to the trailhead from the westernmost tip of the island

Magic Mountain Shave Ice

After that trek, we were so tired and hot that my partner dipped his head in the cold water of the public restroom’s shower just to cool off a bit! Luckily, we only had to drive a little ways (with the windows rolled alllllll the way down) to get some sweet and freezing shave ice! That’ll lower your body temperature and raise your spirits!
This place became my favorite shave ice EVER, because the ice was even finer and softer (like cold cotton candy) than any other shave ice I’d ever had. Or maybe it was because I had just walked 6 miles in the blazing sun? 🙂

Rainbow shave ice from magic mountain shave ice - the best shave ice during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Rainbow (the best flavor) Shave Ice, Thank You Very Much)

USS Arizona Memorial

As a last-minute decision made the night prior, we took time to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, the Pearl Harbor Museum, the USS Utah Memorial and Ford Island.
It was a somber boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial, followed by an emotional experience. The memorial was built over the sunken USS Arizona, which is a battle ship that entombs more than one thousand men who died on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Standing over the gravesite, with the ship lying just 40 feet below the water’s surface, it really puts everything into perspective.

USS Arizona Memorial - one of the most emotional moments during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
USS Arizona Memorial
USS Arizona Memorial
Parts of the USS Arizona that reach over the water’s surface
Parts of the USS Arizona that reach over the water's surface
USS Airzona

Nearly 80 years after the attack, the ship is still leaking oil. They call the oil “black tears“. After seeing it in person, the black fluid stains escaping the ship and flowing through the harbor’s water do uncannily resemble tears. About nine quarts of oil seep into the water each day. While there are environmental concerns about the oil leak, the ship has remained intact and nearly untouched, in order to pay the utmost respect to all of those who lost their lives.

oil leaking from USS Arizona we witnessed during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
“Black Tears”
USS Arizona
The ship looks so close to the surface of the water
 USS Arizona Memorial - one of the most emotional moments during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Departing from the USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor Museum

After paying our respects at the USS Arizona Memorial, we took the boat back to the Pearl Harbor Museum and spent quite a bit of time there. In the museum, they have all sorts of videos from survivors of Pearl Harbor, both American and Japanese, giving their account. It was touching to hear the re-lived stories from the American men at Pearl Harbor during the attack and the atrocities they witnessed. It was equally fascinating to hear the Japanese soldiers telling their heart-breaking side of the story. We relished the opportunity to learn about everything leading up to the attack, with the U.S.’s embargo on oil and gasoline exports to Japan, Japan’s conquest of Southeast Asia, etc. War is complicated. Humans are complicated. I’m really glad we set aside time on this trip to visit and learn about a very important piece of history.

poster of Japanese planes dropping torpedo's on Pearl Harbor - an emotional moment during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
poster of a Japanese plane dropping a custom-engineered torpedo

USS Utah Memorial

The USS Utah Memorial is less visited than the USS Arizona Memorial, because it’s located on Ford Island, which is only accessible with a military ID or by the public shuttle bus that departs from the Visitor Center every 15 minutes. It was stirring to see the ship still partly sticking out of the water. Fifty-eight of the crew on the USS Utah died in the attack, after a torpedo hit the ship.

USS Utah at sunset
USS Utah at sunset
USS Utah Memorial plaque
USS Utah at sunset, one of the most emotional moments during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Looking at the USS Utah from Ford Island

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Also on Ford Island is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. It wasn’t open when we were there, but we got to drive by the old planes and helicopters. Both my dad and my partner are big history buffs, so I think they enjoyed the planes a bit more that I did. But it was cool!

planes outside the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum - we didn't get to go inside during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Look! No clue what type of plane that is, but I bet my Dad knows :p
helicopters outside the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum - we didn't get to go inside during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
GET TO THE CHOPPA

The entrance to Pearl Harbor is relatively small. We stood on Ford Island looking at the mouth of Pearl Harbor while the sun set. Some folks were fishing nearby with their kiddos, and it made me feel like life was brought back into the harbor, after learning so much about the death that happened here.

pearl harbor opening at sunset
Mouth of Pearl Harbor from Ford Island, at sunset

Dinner at Aiea Bowl

Have you ever seen the show on Food Network called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? If you haven’t, a guy named Guy travels the country to visit the most unassuming food establishments that serve incredible food. Why do I tell you this? Because Guy Fieri has featured this local bowling alley on his show! And for good reason. Their food is full of flavor and everything is mouth-wateringly delicious. The spicy edamame, the award winning tasty fried chicken, the furikake ahi tuna, the lemon crunch cake!
Oh, I’m so sorry, please excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard…

tasty chicken, furikake ahi and rice from Aiea Bowl - one of the best meals during our Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Tasty Chicken, Furikake Ahi, Rice & Tossed Salad!
spicy edamame from Aiea Bowl - the best snack during out Holiday in Hawaii - December 2020 - Part 4
Spicy edamame!

Thanks for reading!!!

Check out Part 1 of our trip, when we landed in Oahu and watched the sunset at Sand Island on Day 1. Then on Day 2, hiked to the Lanikai Pillboxes and went on an epic beach tour, ending at Waikiki Beach for a swim in the ocean and sunset with pineapple dole whip.

Check out Part 2 of our trip, when we went snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, devoured shave ice, toured a few more beaches and watched the sunset at Barber’s Point, all on Day 3.

Check out Part 3 of our trip, when we hiked the Pink Pillbox trail, snorkeled with turtles and watched the sunset at Secret Beach, ate katsu chicken ramen, toured the magical Aulani Disney Resort, ate all the goodies from Liliha Bakery, and watched the sunset at Ala Moana.

Stay tuned for Part 5! <3

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