Towards the end of our Hawaiian cruise we were docked at HONOLULU. This came us the opportunity to see another item on our list of 100 Things To See And Do Before You Die.

The map shows the anchorage of America's Pacific fleet on November 1941 before they entered the Second World war. Unbeknown a Japanese attack force of 33 warships including 6 aircraft carriers sailed towards the Hawaiian Islands.

185 American naval vessels were docked in Pearl Harbour.

Between 6.0am and 7.15am two waves of 183 and 170 attack planes descended on Pearl Harbour. The result was devastating :

The USS ARIZONA was hit by a 1,760lb armour-piercing bomb which ignited the forward ammunition magazine. The ship sank and  1,177 of her crew died.

The USS OKLAHOMA rolled over trapping 400 men. The CALIFORNIA and WEST VIRGINIA sank at their moorings. The UTAH capsized and many other vessels suffered serious damage. Military installations were hit and hundreds of planes destroyed on the ground. The second wave of planes destroyed more ship and airfields. A few American planes managed to take off and shot down 14 enemy aircraft.

The raid was a complete success but the Japanese Admiral, YAMAMOTO's words:

"I FEAR ALL WE HAVE DONE IS AWAKEN A SLEEPING GIANT AND INSTILL IN HIM A TERRIBLE RESOLVE" were to ring true when President D. Roosevelt soon after announced that America was to enter the war against Germany and Japan.

All visitors to Pearl Harbour head for one place :

This is the USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL. We travelled out to it by boat as do 5000 other visitors each day.

Approaching the memorial. The shape of the shrine sags in the middle to denote the original setback. The two ends then rise to indicate the final victory. Inside one complete wall is covered with the names of the crew who died on the ship :

The atmosphere inside was sombre, seemingly intensified by the light drizzle that was falling. There was also a feeling of tremendous grief, it was almost like the names on the wall and the bodies of the men below us were there in spirit.

Anther interesting fact was the little patches of oil around the structure. For 61 years 4 gallons of oil has been escaping from the sunken hull and is expected to continue for another 60 years.

The outline of the ship's hull can be seen below the water but all that remain above the water is :

One of the forward gun-mountings.