The sad environmental news out of Oahu this week got me thinking about the beauty and fragility of Hawaiian waters.
A massive molasses spill off the Honolulu Harbor is wreaking havoc with the fish and the fragile coral reefs. An estimated 230,000 gallons of the thick and sticky substance has seeped into the waters and scientists will probably not know its entire impact for years.
If you have snorkeled anywhere in Hawaii, you know the mystery and beauty of these reefs. You look, admire and marvel from a distance. Even the slightest human touch is dangerous to the reefs, so the thought of a spill of this magnitude saddens me. These reefs are thousands of years in the making and the fish you find in the seas of Hawaii are colorful, diverse and fascinating.
The people of Hawaii take the beauty of the islands seriously. It’s one thing I admire when visiting. With waters and shorelines like this, it’s easy to see the importance of protecting it and keeping it clean for future generations.
And speaking of taking care, don’t ever, ever take rocks or sand from Hawaii home. I’m not particularly superstitious, but this is one warning I would heed. It’s a common belief that it will be followed up by bad luck. More about that here.
A National Historic Landmark, Pearl Harbor is one of the most visited destinations on Oahu and in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s a somber and unforgettable experience—one that will stay with you for years.
The Pearl Harbor historic sites include the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. You could easily spend a full day visiting, especially if you are a student of history. The National Park Service has information on hours, the various historic sites and helpful details on how to plan your day.
For a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial, you will begin at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater for an excellent 23-minute film, and will then take a Navy-operated shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. There are three areas of the Memorial: the Entry Room, the Assembly Room and the Shrine Room with the great marble wall with the names of more than 1,000 people who perished on the ship.
It was more than 12 years ago since I visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, but I think about it frequently, especially on the anniversary each year on Dec. 7. The attack in 1941, which propelled America into World War II, is something Americans learn about in history books. When you visit and reflect upon the lives lost, the heroic acts and the stories you hear, it really brings this history to life. This is a place to consider and reflect upon America’s history, the devastation, the pain of war and the price of freedom.
Oil still leaks from the wreckage of the USS Arizona
Tickets may be reserved online for the USS Arizona Memorial here.