You can’t go to Hawaii without visiting Pearl Harbour – it’s like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower. Pearl Harbour is famous for a very cruel event in world history – the surprise attack by Japan on this naval base on 7 December 1941 that dragged the USA into World War II.
Over 2,500 people died (and more than 1,000 were wounded) that day including 1,177 men aboard USS Arizona. The average age of the crew on board was19 and their fate was sealed in under 9 minutes – the time it took the boat to sink after it received a direct hit. Nearly 350 planes were annihilated and 19 ships were sunk within two hours during the attack.
The sunken ship the USS Arizona’s Memorial is the most significant sight at Pearl Harbor and I highly recommend a visit.
The memorial is offshore and features a platform that has been built over the spot where USS Arizona lies. The boat remains at the bottom of the water and the platform where you’ll see the boat right underneath is kept in honour of the fallen military members, whose names are engraved in marble on the wall.
Parts of the sunken ship can be seen from the platform and even to this day oil continues to seep from the wreckage, floating to the surface. Until this day, remains of some of the crew members are still inside the ship. Being just above the ship it gives you a very eery feel when you imagine what the last minutes before the ship sank must have been like for the crew.
Before boarding the boat the takes you to the platform, you’ll be shown a 20 min video footage on the attack on Pearl Harbor. The entire tour including the movie, boat ride and time spend at the USS Arizona memorial takes about 90 min.
Having visited Pearl Harbor really gave me a much deeper understanding on history and the cruel events that have been happening and are still happening all over the world.
We brought the kids as well and even though they wouldn’t have had a bigger understanding on what happened there, they still really enjoyed the day out.
Tips for visiting Pearl Harbor
- There is a maximum number of tickets available each day for USS Arizona Memorial (4,500) – we booked online to secure our tickets and collected them once we got there. There is also a limited number of ‘walk-in ‘tickets but you better be very early to secure one of them.
- Bags: You are not permitted to take any items that allow concealment so keep this in mind when you pack for the day. You are allowed to take a camera, phone, wallet and water, but it must be carried by hand or pocket. Any type of backpacks, purses and camera bags are strictly not allowed regardless the size of them. I took my camera but left the bag in the car.