West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Atlantis Submarine Tour- Honolulu Hawaii

I had heard that you can actually take a ride on a submarine while in Hawaii!  There are some serious bragging rights attached to that.  Seriously, how many people have actually taken a ride on a real sub?

We were told that you check in behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  I wish we had had some more time to explore the VERY historic Hilton Hawaiian Village, but we simply didn't.  It is one of the largest hotels in the world, AND Elvis stayed here.  That alone is pretty cool.

BUT, we still had to snake through the village to find out check in area, and this actually took a while.  We did see a filming crew, a ton of extras, and some signs about filming.  We are pretty sure there was some filming for Hawaii Five-0 going on!  Speaking of which, I did not watch this show at all, until after we came back from our trip.  More on that later, but it is cool watching it, and pointing out all of the places we saw on our trip!

So, we walked through the village, and eventually found the Atlantis Submarines area.  We went through a line to check in.  A photographer took our photo with Diamond Head in the background.  After our ride, they tried to sell us the photos for $45!  I actually love the souvenir photos, even if they are over priced, but $45 was way over priced!

Anyway, instructions were given in English and in Japanese, and we were all loaded onto a boat, which took us out to where the submarines were.

The boat ride was not very long, maybe 15 minutes, but the waters were choppy.  They did tell us this before going...  but, it was a rocky ride.

I have done pretty good in these kinds of conditions in the past, but not on this day.  I think most people on the boat were feeling it.  There were plenty of bags available for those who really got sick- I made sure one was within arms reach.  I did not hear anyone get sick, but I did notice a few people throw away bags stealthily.

We were told to watch for the subs when they came up, and this was very cool- seeing them popping up from out of the water!

A ramp connected the boat to the sub, and we walked down a stair type ladder into the sub.  We took seats with a nice round window in front of us.

After going down into the water, the moving waves on the surface could not be detected, and I think everyone started to feel better.

There are some interesting items to see once we went under, including a boat and a plane.  Fish were abundant, and we did see a turtle.

A crew member narrated the tour, and was great about telling us where to look.  He was funny too, cracking jokes here and there.  he also called out when some dolphins came by (I am not sure if anyone got a good look at them).  He also said that a whale had been spotted recently!  THAT would be something cool and scary to see on a sub ride!

When we reached 120 feet down, he suggested that we kiss our significant others.  He said that this would probably be the deepest kiss of our lives!

I am not sure if I remember this stat correctly or not, but I THINK he said that, something like 1/10th of 1% of the population ever makes it this deep underwater.

As our time underwater came to an end, we went back up towards the surface.  I could feel the waves again, and that sickness came back.  We got off the sub, and back onto the boat for a brief ride back.

I kept my eyes closed to help with the wave motion...  and I was glad to get back to land.

Even with the motion sickness this was a great trip and I am glad to say that I have been on a submarine ride!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hilton Rainbow Tower, Hawaii

This unused postcard says on the back-

Hilton Rainbow Tower... is the newest edition of the Hilton Hotel complex at Waikiki Beach.  In the foreground is the largest Glass Bottom Boat in the world featuring popular cruises off Waikiki Beach, Hawaii.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hickam Air Force Base- Oahu Hawaii

We were VERY lucky while in Hawaii to have some access to Hickam Air Force Base!

Our friends have a relative who is military, and who gave us a bit of a personal tour around the area!

Some people don't realize how encompassing the attack on Oahu was by the Japanese in 1941.  I am sure that some might simply assume that they flew over the island, attacked the USS Arizona, and that was it....  but more was done.  Much more.

They attacked Hickam to prevent pilots from following them back to their aircraft carriers.

AND this base took a big hit.  Nearly 200 were killed here and over 300 wounded. 

We saw several areas that were attacked, and one of the main buildings still shows the scars of the attack vividly.  It is still an active building, but the outside has not been repaired.  Also, INSIDE of the same building is a staircase penetrated by two bullets during the attack.  They have also not been repaired.

I did see a flyer about private tours that tourists can take to see Hickam and its historic areas, but I am not sure of how much access the general public has to these areas.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Island Watersports Hawaii- Underwater Scooters

We had heard about underwater scooters  from googling around, and this just looked too cool to pass up.  We had to do this!

So, we booked with a very pleasant company called Island Watersports Hawaii.

We arrived in the morning to find their location at a strip mall!  They had told us to find the boat around back though.  This might be a common thing in Hawaii, but finding a boat, ready to go out on the ocean BEHIND a strip mall just seemed odd!

We were welcomed by Captain Boone, who ran a very casual, comfortable ship.  He explained how the scooters work, what was going to happen, etc.

Our group of 5 was joined by another group of 4 for the ride out.  We quickly came to our spot, and the other group went first.  We were invited to snorkel if we wanted, but we were enjoying the scenery.

After a bit we were able to get onto the waterscooters for our turn. 

This is a bit of an odd experience, as you have to climb down a ladder from the boat into the ocean, and then you have to duck your head underwater and come back up with your head inside of the glass helmet attached to the scooter.

Most in our group did this with no problem, except me, I inhaled a little water on the way up!  No big deal though!

We each had a diver helping us get around and keeping an eye on us.  The whole process was VERY user friendly, and we all felt like we were in good hands.  A photographer also took some underwater photos of us, and made a short video!

There was a piece of bread attached to the scooter.  My diver showed me to squeeze it and release small piece for the fish.  MANY fish came over to nibble.  It was very sweet.

Underwater, we did see a turtle and starfish too!  The entire experience was very cool. 

After our scooter experience underwater, Boone drove us around in the boat a bit, and we eventually came across a HUGE pod of dolphins!  I am not kidding, there had to have been over a hundred!  Our boat was surrounded by many of them to the delight of everyone!  This was a huge bonus on our journey, adding to the overall wonderful time we had in Hawaii, and with Boone and his crew.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sterling Cale: A True American

While we were at Pearl harbor, we were fortunate to meet one of the last Pearl Harbor survivors, Sterling Cale!  Sterling was very pleasant and he posed for photos and signed autographs for visitors stopping by to say hello.

We swung by to meet him, and for a low $10, we bought his autobiography!

The book is an easy to read 50 pages.  There are photos from Sterling's long military career.  He talks about growing up, joining the military, and finding his way to Hawaii.  He gives his personal, vivid story about the events of December 7th, 1941.  He also talks about the clean up and recovery afterwards.

I think it is so great that Sterling spends time at Pearl Harbor!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Battleship the USS Missouri is at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  I don't think my photos really show just how big the ship is!

The Missouri is noted for being the site of the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II.  The Missouri saw action up through Desert Storm.

I was reading that a kamikaze pilot actually crashed into the ship during WWII.  The Captain of the Missouri felt that the now dead pilot had done his job to the best of his ability and he gave the man a military funeral.

Here are a few of my photos of the USS Missouri!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

USS Bowfin at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

You can tour the submarine the USS Bowfin at Pearl Harbor!

We have been to a couple of other subs before, and I was thinking that there are only a handful or so that you can tour...  but I just looked it up, there are lots!

You can look up the Bowfin's history pretty easily, and I really don't have a lot to add.  Here are my photos.

The important thing to remember about a submarine tour is that you will be in a very tight and cramped area.  In some places, on shoulder was touching one wall, and the other shoulder was against another.  If you are claustrophobic, you might want to skip a tour.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

Here are just a few pictures we took while at Pearl Harbor, mostly on the USS Arizona Memorial.

This is an absolute must see location, and a site that I am proud to say I finally got to visit.

We arrived around 7 one morning, and there was a pretty long line formed already to get in.  We got in the line, and it moved pretty fast.  Within minutes we had tickets to go to the USS Arizona Memorial for 7:45 in hand.  This gave us time to get our tickets to tour the USS Missouri, and the USS Bowfin.  Only the Pearl Harbor tickets were free.

We made our way to a theater area where we went in to see a short film.  The film tells about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After that, we got on a boat to take us to the USS Arizona Memorial.

In case you don't know, the USS Arizona was bombed during the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941.  1,177 members of the US Navy were lost.

The Arizona has been left at the bottom of Pearl Harbor ever since, and, in 1962, the memorial was built over it.  Now, visitors can ride out to the fallen vessel, and look directly over it. 

Survivors of the attack who served on the ship may have their ashes scattered over the ship, or they may have their urns places inside of it.

AND, visiting is a very touching experience. 

Each group has maybe 20 minutes or so to take it all in before the next boat comes in, rotating out visiting groups.