In June of this year, while vacationing in Hawaii, I was blessed to be able to take my family to Pearl Harbor. As someone who is interested in history, WWII history in particular, this was a must-visit! I've visited before, when I was 15, but unfortunately wasn't mature enough to understand what I was looking at. This visit was going to be different!
The format of Pearl Harbor is a little interesting. There are a handful of exhibits that you can see for free. There are some memorials and other features placed around the harbor, but most of the big things, you'll need to buy a reservation/ticket for. The most competitive ticket is the tour of the USS Arizona, the most important feature of the whole experience.
There are a couple options. The first option is to pay a pretty penny and buy the all inclusive tour. This can be done through visitpearlharbor.org or pearlharboroahu.com. After some discussion with customer support at Pearl Harbor, we decided to buy the Passport to Pearl Harbor tickets from visitpearlharbor.org, which is the Pearl Harbor Visitor's Bureau. We bought the standard Passport, not the deluxe, to save a little bit of money.
Now, the Passport DOES NOT INCLUDE tickets to see the USS Arizona. We were driving ourselves because we wanted the flexibility of getting there when we wanted to, and leaving when we wanted to. We have three children, 8, 6 ,and 4, so we wanted the option of leaving if the 4 year old started to melt down. We could have bought an all inclusive tour pass, tour bus and all, but we would have been on their schedule. We decided to drive ourselves, which caused us to get creative with the tickets. So we bought the Passport, which left us responsible for buying the USS Arizona tickets. The tickets are free, if you want to arrive at 6am and wait in line. There are a limited amount of tickets, and no guarantee that you'll get tickets. But customer service recommended that we try to grab tickets online through Recreation.gov. This website allows buying tickets for many of America's parks, forests, and monuments, including the USS Arizona. This only costs $1.50 per ticket service fee. The catch with this service though, is that the tickets are opened up only 24 hours prior. We rolled the dice, jumped online 24 hours before we had planned on going, and were able to buy 9 tickets without a problem. We wanted to go a little earlier in the day, but no tickets were available. We ended up going right around noon, which worked well. All in all, we paid $65 per adult, $35 per child, and the service fee for the USS Arizona tickets. This allowed us access to everything we wanted to see, gave us the flexibility to do what we wanted, and we weren't pressed for time!
Studying and Resources
When I first found out our family was traveling to Hawaii, and visiting the Big Island, I immediately wanted to climb something. I have had a goal of climbing Mt. Rainier for the last year, planning on going in early Summer 2018. After looking through some options, we landed on Mauna Kea, the 13,800 dormant volcano which happens to be the highest point in Hawaii. This was going to be a big day, and we prepared and studied the best we could. I wasn't able to find a bunch of information, but found two useful sites. The first was the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station (VIS) website. The second was an article written by Dobbs, a hiker, who wrote for On Walkabout. The Dobbs account can be found here. I depended on these two articles heavily, taking a lot of notes, then comparing these notes with a couple YouTube vides I was able to find.
In this blog post, I will do my best to break down how we prepared, how the altitude and incline affected us, and ultimately, where we went wrong. That's right, we didn't summit, but we had a great time in one of the most visibly amazing places we had ever been!
Fitness and Preparation
Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa is located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It was about a 30 minute drive from where we picked up our rental car, to the resort. Most of the drive was on big highways, so the drive was nice. Aulani is nestled in with a group of resorts located on Ko Olina Beach. This is on the southwest corner of Oahu and is a beautiful location. There are golf courses surround Ko Olina and great little shopping areas too.
We were amazed at the smallest details, like this picture above. Where can you find views like this, FROM THE PARKING GARAGE!! Everywhere you look, there are views like this, pretty cool, especially from some people from Indiana! We were very happy though, that there was a Target within 10 minutes, plus small shopping centers and places to grab food outside of the resort. The small shopping areas and food shops were within walking distance and a nice second option.
As a certified diver, PADI Open Water, Dive Rescue International Public Safety Diver and Rescue Diver I, I've been in the water a fair amount. With that being said, I've been in Northern Indiana water, I'm lucky to see my hand in front of my face when I'm diving. At work for the fire department, I dive with a Viking Pro Dry Suit (in the picture above, I was diving in a drainage pond and found what looked like a goldfish that got ahold of the same ooze the Ninja Turtles did. The Viking dry suit works great for staying dry and remaining isolated from the contaminates in the ponds and river we dive it. The dry suits, though, don't offer a lot of cold protection and can leave some pretty nasty pinch marks when diving at depth. As you descend, the suit compresses and pinches small spots all over your body! I continue to dive with it because it offers the best protection, with just a little discomfort. I recently dove in 40 degree water with nothing under the dry suit other than shorts and a t-shirt, and remained "kind of" warm.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None