The National Park Service and the United States Navy will co-host the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This event is also supported by the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawaii and the Governor’s Office, members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, and other branches of the U.S. military.

Pearl Harbor, named for the pearl oysters once harvested there, is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii, a World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the only naval base in the United States to be designated a National Historical Landmark. The devastating aerial attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in 2,403 dead and 1178 wounded, and drove the United States into World War II. Pearl Harbor honors this history-changing event with the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites:

The USS Arizona Memorial is a place to learn about this historic attack and pay your respects to the brave soldiers that fell that day. Begin at the Visitor Center where you can watch a film about the attack and view plaques honoring lives lost on that fateful day.  You’ll then take a boat shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial, a floating memorial built over the sunken hull of the Battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the ship’s crew. In the shrine room, a marble wall exhibits the names of the men who lost their lives on the Arizona. Poignant and powerful, this is a place where visitors come face to face with the devastating effects of war.

Battleship Missouri Memorial   General Macarthur accepted the unconditional Japanese surrender that ended WWII on September 2, 1945 on the Surrender Deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Now located at Pearl Harbor’s historic Battleship Row, the massive “Mighty Mo” is a living museum, with exhibits spanning three wars and five decades of service.  Explore the decks of this 60,000-ton Battleship, three football fields long and twenty stories tall. Stand on the Surrender Deck and view the documents that ended the war. Take a tour and get special access to restricted areas. You won’t want to miss the ship’s most stunning feature: towering 16-inch guns that could fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park   The U.S.S. Bowfin (SS-287) is one of the 288 U.S. submarines that carried out the war in the Pacific during World War II. Explore the 10,000 square foot submarine museum to learn about the battle under the seas. A tour of the grounds will take you to a Waterfront Memorial honoring submariners lost in WWII as well as interactive gun and torpedo exhibits.  Step onboard the USS Bowfin, also known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” for a panoramic view of the harbor. Step below decks and walk through an authentic submarine, touring its torpedo room, engine room, and sleeping quarters. In the Bowfin’s claustrophobic quarters you may ask yourself if you have what it takes to be a submariner.

Pacific Aviation Museum   Located within former WWII airplane hangars on Pearl Harbor’s Ford Island, the Pacific Aviation Museum is an immersive aviation museum complete with interactive simulators and exhibits showcasing the stories behind authentic WWII fighter planes and bombers.  Explore the battle in the skies in Hangar 37, a 42,000 square foot airplane hangar that survived the Pearl Harbor attack. See planes like an authentic Japanese Zero and a B-25B Bomber, similar to the one used in the famous “Doolittle Raid” on Japan in 1942. Gain a new perspective on the war at the Pacific Aviation Museum.

USS Oklahoma Memorial   Dedicated on December 7th, 2007, the USS Oklahoma Memorial honors the 429 crewmen who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack. Approximately nine torpedoes hit “The Okie,” capsizing this 35,000-ton battleship in only twelve minutes.  Some crewmen were actually trapped in compartments below deck after the ship capsized. They used hammers and wrenches to signal rescue crews on the surface. Two days after the attack, thirty-two men were rescued from the overturned hull of the Oklahoma.

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safari3Safari Helicopters motto is safety first.  Safari utilizes the toughest, most robust helicopter in Hawaii because the safety of passengers and pilots is paramount. Our state-of-the-art Safari A-STARs are flown nowhere near full power; another built-in safety precaution because if the pilot needs a little extra lift, the power is right there. Safety first, then an exciting and unique helicopter adventure is next.  Conditions change daily and even hourly. You can expect Safari Helicopters pilots to fly the safest and most scenic route for the given day. Pilots monitor combine weather data with their intimate knowledge of the varied micro-climates in Hawaii. Each day is different, and that’s where experience comes in.  All Safari Helicopters are FAA Certified, and all pilots all have instrument ratings and extensive experience in all forms of flights throughout the world. Owner Preston Myers requires that all his Safari pilots adhere to the same high standards of professionalism that he personally has carried out over the years. Preston believes that the best way to safely navigate the skies of Kauai is to have new top-of-the-line helicopters, experienced pilots, and a rigorous maintenance schedule with attention to every detail on every flight.  Safari always makes it standard practice to balance the aircraft and make general inspections for each and every flight. “Safety is in the details, not by chance” says Preston Myers. Our policy is to exceed safety standards and practices set forth by the FAA.   For you as our valued customer and precious cargo, know that we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the quality and comfort of your experience.  Safari combines the right equipment, practices and experience to make this the safest and most comfortable experience possible. After all we want you to relax, and be awestruck at the amazing sights we’re going to show you.

Take a flight to the World’s most active volcano. The Big Island has been erupting almost continuously since 1983, pouring red-hot molten earth into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean.

All Hawaiian volcanoes are produced by a plume of lava known as the Hawaiian magmatic hot spot. This plume of lava rises up from deep within Earth’s mantle and burns through the seafloor crust to form volcanic mountains that eventually rise above the surface of the sea to form Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands are actually just the summits of these massive volcanoes that grew up from the ocean floor as much as 18,000 feet below the water’s surface.

The Big Island is the youngest Hawaiian Island, less than a half a million years old, and its two major volcanoes are Mauna Loa (which includes Kilauea Voclano) and Mauna Kea. These massive volcanoes are a sight to behold from the vantage point of a helicopter (when clouds do not interfere). Mauna Kea rises to 13,796 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea is considered the tallest mountain on Earth if measured from base to summit, towering up more than 6 miles from the ocean bottom.

The volcanic activity of the Hawaiian hot spot lava plume continues today on the Big Island at Kiluaea Volcano, and a Safari Helicopters tour will survey the diverse array of volcanic formations throughout the whole area where this activity has recently occurred and also where it is happening right now!  The aptly named Chain of Craters Road descends 3,700 feet from the summit of Kilauea Volcano to the sea, and has repeatedly been blocked by lava flows with more than 9 miles of the road covered since 1986. The Pu’u O’O Volcano flows into the ocean (fluctuating between Chain of Crater Rd and Kalapan Back Sands Beach) and sends up plumes of volcanic gas and smoke. From a helicopter this is a most impressive sight to behold.

There are four main districts in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park including: the Upper Rift Zone; the Mauna Ulu Zone; the Hilina Pali Zone; and finally the Coastal Zone, which is where the lava from Kilauea Volcano meets the sea (note: our Hawaii helicopter tours do not visit all districts – we only fly to where the current volcanic activity is taking place).  The Upper Rift area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is where the road begins and where many old craters are located. The landscape in this area is also very lush as it receives much rain. The Mauna Ulu area is only a few miles down the road from the Upper Rift Zone but is much more sparse in vegetation because of lava flows in the mid 1970s.

Also sparse in vegetation is the Hilina Pali zone which has steep cliffs caused by huge landslides. The Coastal Zone is also very sparse with vegetation because of little rainfall and very recent lava flows. Expect to be absolutely amazed at the incredible sights you will see from a Hawaii volcano helicopter tour. There are so many unique land formations and visible volcano history before your eyes that it is difficult to encapsulate it all in words.

If you go online to make your reservation, they will give you a substantial discount.  You must arrive 45 minutes before you flight to go over the safety instructions.  This is a must do when on the Big Island!

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I just returned a week ago after staying at Su’s condo and wanted to share my experience.   The last time Liz and I were in Hawaii was 30 years ago for our honeymoon. During the past 30 years we have raised 3 wonderful adults and decided it was time to treat ourselves.

Su’s golf course home is conveniently located about 20 minutes from the Kona Airport in the Waikoloa Beach Resort.   The area is beautifully developed with mature trees, colorful flowers and many wonderful areas to walk and explore.  It is a private home on the 3rd hole of the Waikoloa Beach Course.  We enjoyed watching the golfers while eating breakfast or sipping wine on the lanai.  We played the Beach course on Monday and enjoyed the discounted rate Su offers her guests. We had a wonderful dinner that evening at The Sansei Seafood and Sushi Bar which was a short walk across the street at the Queens Shopping Center.  The following day was our official anniversary date and we had a special dinner at Browns Beach House at Su’s recommendation.  We arrived early and enjoyed drinks and live entertainment while we watched a beautiful sunset at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel balcony.   The food, service, and ambiance at Browns Beach House was spectacular. They even gave us a free mud pie which was a nice surprise.  We spent the next day at the Hapuna Beach State Park and enjoyed the comfortable Tommy Bahama beach chairs and snorkel gear that was in the garage.  That evening we went to the Lava Lava Beach Club and had Mai Tais and appetizers and watched another beautiful sunset.  Make sure to get there early because a lot of people have the same idea.  The following day we did a road trip across the island to Hilo and visited Volcano National Park and walked thru the Lava Cave.  At the Visitors Center, we learned about the history of volcanos and how the islands were formed.  We splurged and did a helicopter tour over an active volcano and beautiful waterfalls.  That was the highlight of our trip.

I give Su my 5 star rating for the condition, location, and amenities offered with her golf course home.  The home was beautifully furnished with comfortable furniture, fast Wi-Fi, television with surround sound, and many nice extras.

Take it from me, you will be very happy staying at Su’s hawaiigolfcondo while in paradise.

Dave and Liz Beckmann

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