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First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

Saint Cloud...
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First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

What were your first thoughts, impressions and memories of the first time you arrived in Hawaii?

Though I had flown through Hawaii from Chicago, Illinois to catch my first ship, USS Joseph Strauss (already off the coast of Vietnam), the first time for me was when the ship arrived back to Pearl Harbor after a 6 month deployment (5 months & one week for me) in September 1970.

As we arrived, we manned the rails in our dress whites.

Off to the right we could see Diamond Head & the City of Honolulu.

Off to the left (didn't know it then) was Barber's Point.

As we entered the harbor a tug boat came out to escort us and it draped a huge lei across the bow of the ship.

As we got farther into the harbor, we went past USS Arizona Memorial & we stood at attention & saluted the Arizona & those that are still aboard the Arizona.

As we got to the pier we could see hundreds of family members & friends waiting for their "sailor".

As we tied up to the pier, the Navy Band on the pier started playing. Hula girls on the pier started dancing to the music.

Then it was an emotional time as families & friends got together for the first time in six months.

Though I didn't have any family members or friends to meet me, it was really nice to see shipmates with their family & friends.

I was on several other deployments during my Navy years, but no return was ever as nice and memorable as the first one.

Huntington Beach, CA
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1. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

My first visit was to Kauai ~ the first thing I remember is the vibrancy of color all around me. I'm from southern California, big city girl, and the brilliant greens, blues and oranges made my eyes pop! I also remember the fragrances. My sister had drawn a map of Kauai for me on a napkin in a restaurant. As I drove around the island I was amazed at how accurate her map was.

Needless to say, I was hooked.


Kauai, Hawaii
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2. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

1. How spectacular the mountains and beaches were from the air. (Kaua`i)

2. How soft the air felt and how bright the colors were.

3. Amazement at all the "house plants" growing outdoors. :O

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

Sailor's memories here for me as well! :)

Our ship sailed past beautiful Diamond Head into the roadstead at Pearl on 20 April 1967, then docking for change of command and formation of squadron for SEAsia deployment.

For me, those first-liberty-in-Hawaii recollections are mostly about Hotel Street and the bar at Fort DeRussy?! :0


Princeville, Hawaii
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4. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

How soft the air felt and how my body just relaxed. It does every time we go to the islands.

Mount Vernon,Il
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5. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

For me it was the fresh smell in the air and how the clouds just seemed to hang over the mountains.

It got me then and still does to this day. There is nothing else like it!!

Joseph, Oregon
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6. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

I was 13 and flying with 6 younger children to meet up with our parents on the Big Island. (That was quite the experience in itself! ha!)

I vividly remember being stunned by the variety of the colors of blue in the ocean as we got close to the island. And, when I stepped out the doors of the plane I at first thought the heat in the air blowing over me was from the jet engines, and was amazed as I walked down the stairs that it was really just the warm, soft, tropical breezes. Ahhhhhh.......

Chesterfield, Mich.
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7. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

June 1984, arrived on Oahu to begin a 2 week trip which also included Maui and Kauai.

I remember driving from the airport, HNL, to the Waikiki Outrigger and thinking I was a bit disappointed. As we got closer to Kalakaua, things started to change. I began to see beautiful flowers, glimpses of the ocean. I wasn't shocked that Waikiki was so city like. I had heard all about THAT. What I fell in love with was the fact that here was this busy place, but it also sits right on the beautiful Pacific Ocean!! The breezes felt wonderful. The air temp was warm but it was different for me. Now I describe it as tropical warm. Very different from what I had always known.

Oahu was the first Hawaiian island I had stepped foot on. It has held a specialness for me all of these years.

Gig Harbor...
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8. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

The "ahhhhhhhhhh" = the soft air, the clarity and brightness of the colors, but I also recall a definite 'wow'. Three days on Oahu, then Kauai hit me with the smell of the flowers!

Los Angeles, CA
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9. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii


Thank you for sharing that beautiful memory! My first island was Oahu and my first impression was from the airplane as we were landing. I hadn't realized we were close so when I looked out the window I told my husband “Wow, look how blue they painted the runway!” and he said “that’s not the runway, that's the ocean!” I couldn't believe how blue the ocean was with so many different shades of blue and bright turquoise. I had never seen anything like that.

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10. Re: First thoughts & memories when you arrived in Hawaii

My uncle took his bride to live on Kauai after WWII. I grew up with a connection to Hawaii. As a young girl I received lei every year when my aunt's mother returned to Chicagoland from a Christmas visit.

My mother attended two Realtor conventions in Honolulu and loved Hawaii.

DH, DS and I finally were able to go to Hawaii when DS was eight. I remember driving up to the Royal Hawaiian (before the mall encroached on its huge green lawn) and waking the next morning in an old fashioned room with high ceilings, looking out as dawn lit the ocean and all the brilliant flowers.

I was struck by the handsome people of Hawaii -- the several different races, but more so, *blends* of races that made such beautiful people!

A personal surprise was to find my maiden surname in the telephone book. Wherever I traveled, I looked, always in vain. How could this be? There were almost a dozen listings combining my Scots surname with Hawaiian given names. I was to learn of the whaling ship's captain who married a Hawaiian lady and never returned to his native Berwick-on-Tweed. (My uncle had unknowingly carried on a 'tradition'. LOL)