Nimitz cruse 2005 #1: Hawaii
Trip Start Mar 11, 2005
7Trip End Nov 08, 2005
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10 May to 20 May -Going to Hawaii.
We came home from JTFEX and got to spend a little time with our families before heading back to sea. We left sunny San Diego, heading into the sunset after all of the on loading, last minute meals and booze and the inevitable tearful goodbye's. There is something terribly gut wrenching to wave goodbye to your wife and kids from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, five stories above the pier. You know that unless something terrible happens, you won't see them again for the next six months. You are torn between wanting to hold your wife, or husband, one more time, and the excitement of what is to come.
We steamed West and did circles between San Clemente Island, and San Nicolas Island until the birds (aircraft) from the airwing arrived. In total, it was three days before we started heading out into the land of sea monsters and mermaids on our way to the Arabian gulf.
On our way, we broke into the routine of wake, eat, work, work, eat, work, shower, sleep, that makes up the majority of cruise. The days are 18 to 20 hours long and you collapse at the end of the day and pray for rest while aircraft launch over your head. Imagine sleeping in a big grey dumpster and every thirty seconds or so, some jackass hits the side with a sledge hammer. The jolt is so hard that sometimes it knocks light fixtures off of the overhead (ceiling).
15 May, 2005 the port briefs begin. We are told an extensive list of places we are not allowed to go, and that even though we are adults, and visiting an American State, we must be back on the ship before midnight. So, we all know that we are only going to see Hawaii from 09:00 AM to 10: 00 PM or so for four days. Three days if you have duty, which 99% of us do.
16 May, 2005 we pull in to Pearl Harbor. Seeing the Arizona memorial from the deck of a U.S. Navy ship some 60 years after the start of WWII, put a lump in my throat. The technology may have changed, and our submarines now displace more volume than the aircraft carriers of World War II did; but I am struck with the knowledge that the people serving their country are basically the same. As we salute the memorial, I think about the men who have been entombed in the wreckage. I say a prayer for them and their families. For those men, the hard part was over, but the pain of their loss still rebounds through our psyche as a nation. I can't help but then think about the innocents killed in 911, and I say a prayer for them and their families too.
As we pull in, the shore is lined with people. There are American flags throughout the crowds, and every face is smiling at us. This isn't my first cruse, but it still fills me with pride. The scent of the land is intoxicating. Combined with the beauty of the island, even with all of the modern development, my mind imagines what it was like when Capitan Cook first sailed into these waters before all of the concrete and asphalt painted the land. Having never been to Hawaii, I'm excited to get off of the ship.
Once we are dismissed from manning the rails, we all mob the starboard side (The "right side of the ship" for those of you who are nautically challenged) to watch the crews tie the ship to the pier and the young guys strain their eyes looking for hot chicks.
So what did I do on liberty while in Hawaii? First of all, that place is EXPENSIVE! Cheap sailor tip: Renting a Cadillac is cheaper than taking taxies all over the place.
First day, $100.00 in cab fare. The other three days cost me $75 total for renting a Cadillac that blew cold air on your nether regions. It gets even cheaper if you split the cost with friends.
We were not allowed to go to the "cool places" because of the "threat of terrorist attack on large groups of sailors". So we got to go hit all of the other touristy stuff such as Waikiki beach, strip clubs, restaurants, and the shopping malls. We were not allowed to rent scooters, or water craft. Yes, I see the irony in the fact that sailors are not allowed to rent water craft.
Hawaii most definitely earns it's reputation as paradise in my book. Yes, it's expensive, but there is enough free or cheep things to do that it makes the trip worth while. The only thing I didn't get to see while I was there, that I really wanted to, was the active volcanoes.
I got to hook up with some friends that I served with while stationed in Japan, who were now stationed in Hawaii, and it was great to see them. Over all, it was a great port visit. If you plan to visit that fine state, take lots of sun screen, cash, and a large memory card for your camera. No, you don't have to change your money over to Hawaiian money. Yes, the luau pork is worth the trip.
Enjoy the pictures and the video and I'll work on the blog for our next leg to Hong Kong. Oh, and the drunk guy with the cheese stick is my friend Aaron. Sure miss hangin' with you Bro. Also, we got the results from the advancement exams just before we pulled out, so the pictures of all of the people at the end of the video are my shipmates getting advanced to the next pay grade.