Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Heading North to Hawaii

Just in case we or any of the other guests on our Trans-Pacific adventure got a little confused by all the time zone changes, we had a magnificent Waterford-crystal globe in the Atrium to help us stay focused on our objective.

The spendour of the Oosterdam Atrium

Pago Pago on the mountainous island of Tutuila, is the de facto capital town (and only significant port) of American Samoa. Despite centuries of European influence, it was very obvious how Samoans have maintained their culture and historical and social customs.

Surf spray off the fringing reefs of the island of Tutuila

Tuna fleet in Pago Pago Harbour
Pago Pago Harbour

This rock is known locally as the Camel Rock because of its obvious shape. I can't see it myself.

Camel Rock 

Nawiliwili Harbour was our first port after American Samoa and is on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Kauai - Hawaiian Islands

The mountain at the very center of Kauai, Mt. Waialeale receives so much rain each year that totally unique flora and fauna exist at its summit. Receiving up to an annual record 17.3 metres of rain, this mountain (at least the bit where the rain gauge is located) is claimed to be the wettest place on Earth.

The entrance to the harbour is very picturesque and narrow. I have included the following pictures to show you.


Sunset at Nawiliwili Harbour

As I spent the majority of my childhood at a small harbour in North Queensland that exists primarily for the export of raw sugar my interest (and thus this photo) piqued. The sugar industry on Kauai has ceased to exist largely due to the cost of land and labour. The storage shed at Nawiliwili Harbour is one of the few remaining vestiges of this significant periods in Hawaii history,

Raw sugar storage shed - Nawiliwili Harbour

We visited Waimea Canyon State Park, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific - a large canyon, approximately 16km long and up to 900m deep formed not by the steady process of erosion and by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauai.

Over time, the exposed basalt has weathered from its original black to bright red.

Waimea Canyon

Spouting Horn is located on the southern coast of Kauai. Wave action has eroded lava rocks on the coastline creating narrow openings. With every wave, water shoots upward when it is forced through an opening and creates a sound suggestive of (a lizard's roar) hissing.

Spouting Horn Blowhole

Honolulu Harbour was also host to Star Princess the day and evening we spent on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. This is the second cruise ship by this name operating for the Carnival Group. The first was renamed Pacific Pearl and transferred from Princess Cruises to P&O Cruises Australia in 2010. You may recall that (ironically) we berthed in Noumea on the same day as Pacific Pearl.

Star Princess and her "Grand" class sister ships Grand Princess and Golden Princess featured the unique Skywalkers nightclub suspended over the stern - I've read at least one comment that the nightclub makes these "Grand" class ships look like a shopping trolley.

Pacific Star berthed at Aloha Tower Cruise Ship Terminal

The suspended nightclub on Grand Princess has since been removed.

Goodbye Skywalkers 

Bunkering operations in Honolulu Harbour was a whole day affair with the tug Namahoe and accompanying oil field support barge came alongside until an hour before departure.

Tug Namahoe with bunker barge Neena alongside Oosterdam

Pearl Harbor, our primary objective in Honolulu, is a National Historic Landmark and still remains an active military base as well as the headquarters of the USA Pacific Naval Fleet.

The visitor centre consists of several exhibition buildings which describe the history and the drama of the "surprise" attack on multiple US military assets on Oahu (including Pearl Harbour) by the Empire of Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

The highlight of the visit is a short launch trip across the lagoon to the USS Arizona Memorial. Here lies the sunken wreck of the battleship Arizona and the tomb of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed on December 7. Oil leaking from the sunken battleship can still be seen rising from the wreckage to the surface of the water. This oil is sometimes referred to as "the tears of the Arizona".

The shrine within this national memorial is a marble wall bearing the names of all those killed on the Arizona. Many of the surviving crew members have subsequently elected to have their ashes interred within the sunken remains.

USS Arizona Memorial straddles the sunken wreck

The battleship USS Missouri is a late addition to the memorial and is berthed 460 metres from the USS Arizona Memorial. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the USA Navy

Those of you familiar with WW2 history will recall that the Japanese formally surrendered to United States on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, thus ending World War II.

Plaque commemorating the surrender of Japan to end World War II

The pairing of the Arizona wreck and the Missouri has become an evocative symbol of the beginning and end of the United States' participation in the war.

USS Missouri now berthed at Ford Island

The Pearl Harbour Historic Landmark also features the USS Bowfin, a Balao-class diesel-electric submarine commissioned 18 months after the Pearl Harbour attack. Bowfin served in the Pacific during the remainder of WW2 and was recommissioned for service during the Korean conflict.

Notably amongst the numerous enemy vessels attacked, an unmarked Japanese cargo ship Tsushima Maru was sunk by Bowfin on 22 August 1944 as the ship was carrying hundreds of schoolchildren from Okinawa to Kagoshima. About 1,484 civilians, including 767 schoolchildren were killed,

USS Bowfin

The numerous sea days with warm evenings and smooth seas has been perfect for some evening photography with my new camera.

The twin funnels serve as both air intake as well as an engine and waste heat exhaust.  Up to 5 diesel engines and one gas turbine on board Oosterdam can power electric generators that in turn provide electrical energy to the ships electric propulsion motors, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, freshwater production and cooking plus all the other navigation functions and the hotel electrical load.

Oosterdam's "twin rubbish bins" funnels
Satellite Dish Dome
Moon rising over the Observation Deck

Finally a photo from the Piano Bar on Aussie Night.

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