Friday we gathered our strength, and set out for Honolulu, making our way through the traffic in good humor and with excellent directions provided for us by the concierge at Turtle Bay.  We wanted to see the Arizona Memorial, the Missouri battleship and anything else that looked interesting at Pearl Harbor.

We decided quickly that we would not wait the two hours that it took to catch the boat out to the Arizona Memorial.  Instead we took pictures of it from both the submarine Bowfin and from the Missouri, and I purchased a postcard that showed a view I could never get, looking down at the submerged Arizona from above the harbor. You can see the outlines and substance of the sunken battleship, which still contains the remains of more than 1500 sailors. 

We did tour the submarine Bowfin, and the only thing about it all that I kept asking myself was, “why not the Barb?”  The Bowfin had an outstanding series of tours in the Pacific, but the Barb was even more successful, and it had the advantage of having on board my cousin, Jim Richard. :-)

On the Battle Flag of each submarine hanging in the museum at Pearl Harbor is an account of their successes.  The flag of the Barb hangs there, and at the bottom of it is an emblem no other submarine can claim.  She sent a select group of her crew onto Japanese soil to blow up a train in the latter stages of W.W. II.  Among those who took part in this venture was my cousin, Jim Richard.  

So I went looking at the book,
Thunder Below, written by the commander of the Barb, Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey to find out what happened to his boat.   His account of the war patrols of the Barb is precisely written, yet so compelling, that its substance carries an excitement that can keep one up well into the night.

Now an Admiral (Ret.), Fluckey received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the tours he conducted with his crew on the USS Barb.  He believes however, that his greatest accomplishment in the war was the fact that not one of his crew every suffered a scratch.  No Purple Hearts were distributed to any of them. Sometime, someone will make a movie of this submarine and its captain and crew while it roamed the Pacific.

For now, I would have to be content with the book.

There I learned that after the war ended the Barb traveled from Pearl Harbor to the east coast and was mothballed until 1951 when she was re-outfitted and sold to the Italian Navy.  She served there until 1972, when at the age of 30, she was destroyed for scrap.  Had Fluckey and his crew known of that, there is no doubt that she would have been saved and maintained as a museum, just as was the Bowfin. 

In 1964, the nuclear submarine, USS Barb was commissioned and when she arrived in Pearl Harbor, Fluckey, who by this time had advanced to the position of Commander, Submarine Force, Pacific, made her his flagship. 

So I walked the Bowfin, but I thought of the Barb.  My cousin, Jim Richard, was a machinist mate, and so I was particularly keen to visit the engine room, to see the powerful diesel engines which he helped to keep running reliably and smoothly and to get some of the sense of being aboard a vessel which cruised regularly well below the surface of the sea.  It was a treat from bow to stern. 

Then, Linda and I walked the gangplank up to the main deck of the battleship, Missouri, toured some of its rooms, got up close to its 16 inch guns, (they each can accurately fire a shell weighing about one ton, a distance of 23 miles) and visited the spot on the upper deck where General Douglas MacArthur accepted the surrender of the armed forces of Japan at the conclusion of World War II.

Surrender Deck is a sobering location, and it holds many reminders of a very serious but joyous occasion, VJ Day.  The war in the Pacific began with the sinking of the Arizona here in Pearl Harbor, and on that spot a mere 500 yards from the Missouri, she remains.  Both battleships are within hailing distance of one another today, one under the water, the other resting gently upon it, upright for its visitors and its place in history.

At the end of the day, we drove our traffic pattern and returned to Turtle Bay.  The surf was up, and the viewing was fantastic.  I captured a sunset which I will never forget, and we again ate good food.
Saturday, we shopped some more, watched more surf and then visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  I remember some of Michener’s description of the pineapple business in his novel, Hawaii, and a story in which one of his character’s, drunken by nature, is hired to solve a problem with the soil and thereby gives an unlimited future to the pineapple on Hawaii.

The fruit was first cultivated in Paraguay, and introduced to the “old World” by Columbus, later returned to North America by traders.  George Washington cultivated them at Mount Vernon.  There are several varieties of the pineapple, but in Hawaii, there is just one kind grown, and for many decades there was only one man of importance growing it…Jim Dole. 

Dole was a turn of the century member of the Hawaiian agricultural community, and while he was not the first to grow them, he was the first to envision the kind of market that might be available for them.  A fellow by the name of John Kidwell had demonstrated that the Smooth Cayenne pineapple would be the best specie to grow on the islands, and Jim Dole started buying land, and importing labor from the Philippines, Korea and Japan to help plant, harvest and maintain the pineapple. 

He decided finally that with canning, he could reach markets throughout the world, and the presence of the sugar cane industry on Hawaii made the sweeteners cheaply available. Canned pineapple came to be consumed in huge quantities by families who loved the taste, texture and tidiness of the fruit.  And so Jim Dole prospered.  Eventually, he realized that he needed more land than Oahu had available to him, so he purchased the entire island of Lanai and turned it into a huge pineapple plantation. 

When one realizes that a single acre of land can hold 28,000 plants of pineapple, one can appreciate what production can come from an entire island.  Volcanic ash provides the right kind of soil; rainfall and irrigation from water reservoirs provide the moisture;  Hawaii’s natural climate with a temperature range between 60-85 degrees give it the perfect locale for the growth of pineapples.

And so they grow: take the top off a pineapple, plant it in the ground, fertilize it, water it, keep it safe from temperatures and in about 20 months, it will grow another pineapple.  Harvest it and in about 16 months it will grow another pineapple.  Harvest it and grow one more pineapple, then it is time to remove the plant, prepare the soil and sow another generation of pineapple tops.

All of this cutting, planting and harvesting is done by hand…then and now.  Originally, between 1900 and 1940, workers imported from other Pacific nations, worked for about .05 cents an hour.  A good worker could plant 10,000 heads of a pineapple in a single day.  So for about .50 cents/worker each day, Jim Dole got his crop maintained, while he concentrated on the business of exporting. 

He built a canning factory; he built a railroad to Honolulu; he built additional factories in Honolulu and in the end, he bought the island of Lanai.  He made millions, and his workers made about $135.00 per month, which in the early decades of the 20th century was a pretty darn good wage.

My parents married in 1935 on $90.00/month and were comfortable.  Linda’s parents were budgeting about $150/month in 1941 and were comfortable.  Still, working in heat, with clothing stuck to you, whether in the cotton fields, the oil fields, or the pineapple fields is a hard way to make a living.

So visiting the Dole Plantation was truly a way to appreciate what the crop of pineapples has meant to the people of Hawaii, Korea, the Philippines and Japan as well as to the economy of the world.  And there it was before us, as we circled a part of the Dole Plantation on the Pineapple Express.  History and contemporary life, all placed alongside the same track.    

To be here on the shores of the Pacific and not get wet was something that both Linda and I thought was unacceptable.  So, since I was wearing my new “surfer boy” pants, I went stepping into the water, amazed at the force of the wavelets as they receded sucking sand from under my feet and leaving me off balance a number of times.  Since I had my camera in my hidden hand, I made sure that I did not fall.  Then, Linda, using her sarong as a stole, accompanied me to yet another great meal at the golf club.

We spent time this day, as we had on others, just observing people....on the beach, around the pool, in the lobby, and we spent time too, trying out our new clothes among the crowds.  It was all a lot of fun.   

After supper, we walked back to Turtle Bay and  spent an extra amount of time on a bench overlooking the incoming surf and just listened…to the crash, the whirl, the surprise of blowholes sending up geysers of foam as the waves flooded their compartments with massive, sudden amounts of sea water. 

We licked our lips and they were salty.  We turned our faces into the wind and were caressed.  We sat in silence and found the world filled with  nature’s language.  We tried to find the most exciting wave rising, and moved on from each discovery to yet another one.  As foam ran into and shot up from the face of the reef, silent land and roaring sea merged for a moment, with runoff signaling the victor.  Harsh rocks fractured the water, but in the long run, we both knew, water wins. 

Finally, it was time.  We returned to our special hiding place and tucked ourselves in.  In the morning, it was Hawaii still, but by the sunset of this next day, we would be back in Los Angeles.
Bowfin sinkings: 4 Japanese Naval Vessels, 29 merchant vessels, 10 smaller craft.
Barb sinkings: 4 Naval Vessels including the  Unyo, a Japanese Escort Arircriaft Carrier, one ship damaged beyond use; one German merchant vessel; 25 merchant vesseks, plus 8 damaged beyond use; 8 smaller vessels sunk;  note the rockets on the  bottom row, (second left). The Barb was the first submarine to launch rockets at the enemy; the train in the center bottom is for the blowing up of a 16 car freight train on Japanese soil. My cousin, Jim Richard was among those who did this.
Bowfin, water converters, salt to fresh.
Bowfin, l-r, crew of torpedo room, torpedo stowed, bow torpedo tubes.
Bowfin PinUp Girl with signatures of crew
Bowfin Kitchen
Bowfin: Cook at Work
Kitchen served about 184 meals a day.
Bowfin Commander, Officers and Crew
Barb Commander, Officer and Crew.  My cousin Jim is on the conning tower, first row, first on the right hand side.  Technically, all sailors with caps set on back of head, were "out of uniform."  But this was a special day.  Home safe and none had a scratch on them from battle. While the crew received 26 Silver Stars; 6 Navy Crosses; 23 Bronze Stars; One Congressional Medal of Honor, no one received a Purple Heart.  Fluckey said that, as Commander of the Barb, of all of its accomplishments, he was most proud of returning his crew without a scratch. 
Looking down the 16 inch guns of the Missouri, to the Arizona 500 yards away. These two ships mark the beginning and end of W.W. II.
On the "Surrender Deck" of the Missouri.  The plaque marks the spot of the signing table.
Marilyn Monroe's Greeting to the crew of the Missouri.
Gangplank to the Missouri
One planted, only 9,999 to go and we'll call it a day.
Pineapples at about 6 months.
Mature plants, ready for hand as always
Harvesting pineapples.  Note the heavy clothing all workers wore to protect themselves from the branches and prickling of the plants.  Since pineapples are harvested all year round, temperatures soar. After being hand picked, the fruit is placed on a conveyer belt for further handling and packing.
Touring the Dole Plantation on the new,  million dollar Pineapple Express and its rails.
Young Boy sets up his war games in the sand/grass pile.
YOUNG GIRL AT POLYNESIAN CENTER (note leaf feather). Photo taken with permission of her mother.
Linda, on Lanai, in Sarong.
Tired Family Just in From Japan
On the Con aboard the Bowfin.
Don't Dive Now!