What's There to Do on Oahu?
Known as "the Gathering Place," there's plenty to see and do on O'ahu. Some are on everyone's "must-do" list and others are rather arcane. It is not difficult to achieve one's own desired blend of educational, unusual, familiar and relaxing. Join us for our virtual mini-tour of the island. We promise to take you a few places you won't find on the commercial tours.
Our first stop, of course, is a visit to the Arizona Memorial and the battleship Missouri in Pearl Harbor. There's a good reason why this is such a popular place--visiting here is invariably a deeply moving experience.
There's no need to arrange a special tour--the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Park Service provide them to all visitors, free of charge. Before traveling a short distance across Pearl Harbor to the actual memorial, visitors can peruse a variety of exhibits in the museum and view a short film about the attack. Actually, there are several films, frequently changed and all excellent.
Now for $10 per person, you can take a trolley across the new Ford Island bridge and visit the U. S. S. Missouri, the historic battleship on whose deck the peace treaty with Japan was signed. Alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending of World War II--so much history in such a small space!
Not far from Pearl Harbor, in the community of Aiea, is one of our very favorite places--Ice Garden. If you think shave ice (no, not shaved ice) is just a fancy name for a snow cone, you're in for a very pleasant surprise. Shave ice is to snow cones as chocolate mousse is to canned pudding--it's in an altogether different league! And the shave ice at Ice Garden is in a league of its own, as well. The finely powdered ice is topped with fresh pineapple (Al's favorite, shown at left) or chocolate sauce and mochi balls or taro and evaporated milk or peanuts, oatmeal and azuki beans. OK, admittedly it sounds weird, but the proof is in the pudding--which just happens to be one of their twenty-eight great toppings!
A commonly heard complaint is that O'ahu is too built-up. But the only people who say that are those who have never bothered to explore all this wonderful island has to offer. There are plenty of "hidden delights," and it doesn't require major navigational skills to locate many of them.
La Mariana Sailing Club is a quaint Polynesian-style marina and restaurant. Featuring uncommonly good food at very reasonable prices, it is located in Kehi Lagoon near the airport. It is truly an oasis in an otherwise industrial area.
The owner is a woman in her 80s. Visiting with her and hearing some of her tales is even more fun than hearing her parrot Corky imitate cellular phones ringing. A brief time here is enough to convince even the most jaded visitor that O'ahu, too, has lots of charm.
Hawaii is the northern-most of the Polynesian Islands and the original voyagers certainly didn't have the kinds of boats moored at La Mariana. It is generally agreed that they made the long journey in large sailing canoes. The Hokule'a, occasionally anchored at Pokai Bay, near Makaha, is a replica of the type of craft used. In the past 20 years she has made numerous successful trips to and from different South-Seas ports using only traditional Polynesian navigational methods.
Just being in her presence is inspiring, often mystical. Hokule'a and her two sister vessels, Hawai'i Loa and E Ala E, frequently call at different O'ahu beaches. To learn more about them, visit the Bishop Museum and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Even without a special visitor such as Hokule'a, O'ahu's beaches are grand and glorious. No need to belabor the obvious! Come see for yourself!!
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