Hanging Loose in Hawaii, Brah

Our last port of call during our Semester at Sea was Hawaii, and it was bittersweet. Sweet because Hawaii is beautiful and fun (and so are our new friends); bitter to think about the end of the voyage–an ending that must happen and that will bring new beginnings for all of us, but also an ending that feels very sad because none of us will ever be all together in this place at this time again. We decided to use our time to learn a little about the history and culture of the islands, relax and reflect on our voyage, and log some QT with a few of our new BFFs before they split up and scattered to Chicago, Colorado, South Africa, and Virginia.

Our friend Stephanie led a half-day SaS trip to Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. We were once more saddened by the toll of war as we learned about the Japanese surprise attack and the misinterpreted radar data that led US military officials to believe the Japanese planes were US planes coming back from an exercise in California. We saw video and photos of the devastation, and we took a ferry over to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial–one of the simplest and yet most beautiful monuments that we have ever seen. We also remembered the stories relayed by fellow shipmates who visited Hiroshima in Japan. Because we were in Honolulu just a few days before the anniversary of the attack, a number of Pearl Harbor veterans were there to talk with visitors about the “day that will live on in infamy” and to share their memories.

For the last few days of the voyage we rented a car and drove all around the big island with our friends. We did all the usual things you’d expect to do in an island paradise:

  • Visit Wal-Mart to buy snacks for a party on the ship and also to buy our shipboard family some holiday/goodbye treats. (Besides, we hadn’t seen a Wally World in 4 months–give us a break!)
  • Wal-Mart turned out to be even more culturally sweet than we expected because we learned that in Hawaii, Salvation Army volunteers play ukeleles instead of ringing bells.
  • Admire the plethora of rainbows.
  • Look at Jodi’s waterfalls.
  • Watch surfers.
  • Be the photographer chronicling some goofy girl-time in the back seat.
  • Splash around with sea turtles.
  • Eat, swill, and chill like true DudeBros.
  • Play in a volcano.
  • Write secret messages with lava rocks.
  • And last but certainly not least, get a hang loose from Santa.

Merry Christmas and Aloha (both a little late)!

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