Monday, May 31, 2010

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii


I had a two day stop here on the way out to Japan and stayed in the Hilton at the Hawaiian Village. Grand total for two nights - $400.00. Of course the Navy paid for it. Go Navy. Despite being here for two days I didn't get a chance to see very much of the surroundings. Between the plane I fly being on display at Hickam Air Base and flight planning for the trip from Hawaii to Japan, I had about eight hours off.


Here's a view of the beach and Diamondhead in the background


Palm trees. Non-existent in Washington.


View from my hotel room of a passing storm



The Hawaiian Village


Here's a somewhat common occurrence. If these birds are nearby, making weird noises attracts them. Trying to catch them makes them fly away though.


That's about it. I didn't do anything here except take pictures of scenery so there isn't much to say.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wake Island, United States Territory


Wake Island, A.K.A. middle of nowhere. This is by far the most isolated place I have ever been...and probably will ever be. It is approximately 2,000 miles from Hawaii and 1,500 miles from the nearest significant land mass - Guam. The island is known for the Battle of Wake Island. During World War II a small American force defended and eventually lost the island to the Japanese only after inflicting over 700 casualties.


As you can see, the first picture (taken on takeoff from the plane I was flying), pretty much resembles this picture taken in 1972. The runway takes up half the island. Also interesting to note: during World War II the island was cut off from the supply route and the starving inhabitants hunted the indigenous Rail Bird, a local flightless bird, to extinction. That's what happens when you're a flightless island bird.


My plane being refueled with the lagoon in the background. The stop here was brief so I didn't have much time to explore the island, despite how small it is. Below is a picture of the beach on the Eastern most side. The distant mound in the right of the picture is an old World War II bunker.


Northeast view


Memorial dedicated to the Marines who defended Wake Island during World War II


Here is a better view of the Bunker


The island now has a population of approximately 150 persons, of which only a few are female. I'm not sure if this is true or not. During my trip here I saw about five people total...but all were male. Because the island is so remote, some days there are no visitors at all which means no work. The locals pass the time by taking their fishing boat out in the middle of nowhere (which isn't far) and catching Tuna. What a hard life.