70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor Hawaii. Before the day was over, the Unites States lost airplanes, battleship and many lives in this surprise attack.

This week, we remember the 70th anniversary of this World War II milestone with events at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The brand new visitor center was opened on Pearl Harbor day of 2010 as part of the final reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Members of this group are in their 90’s and many find it hard to travel long distances to these gatherings.

We are fortunate to have met several of these heroes and are touched by  their stories.

A visit Ford Island and Pearl Harbor is moving. Sites include the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, USS Bowfin, USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum. Nearby Punchbowl National Cemetery is nestled in a volcanic crater and narrates the war time timeline through mosaics.

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, we share stories of service men who were at Pearl Harbor during the bombings and we were fortunate to meet these Pearl Harbor survivors. The personal stories they tell are much more powerful than reading history in books. These gentlemen in their 80s and 90s have plenty of spunk and courage. Read their stories, see picture and watch video of our heroes. Click on the links below to hear their testimonials.

Arizona Memorail in Pearl Harbor Honolulu Hawaii

Waikiki World War One Honor Roll Remembers Brave Soldiers

The World War One Honor Roll is across the street from the larger and more well known Waikiki Natatorium. The massive stone recognizes the 101 Hawaiian Territory soldiers who served in World War I. Each hero’s name is etched in one of three columns on the marble stone. This monument reminds us of the bravery of these people who served for United States or British forces during the war.

The Waikiki Natatorium and World War One Honor Roll are located at the east end of Waikiki Beach on Kalakaua Ave just east of Kapahulu Ave. When you visit, stop by the nearby Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo.

World War 1 Honor Roll In Waikiki

World War 1 Honor Roll In Waikiki

 

Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu Hawaii World War 1 Memorial

The Waikiki Natatorium, just Diamond Head side of Waikiki Beach is a memorial to World War 1 veterans. At the time, Hawaii was a United States possession, not yet our 50th state. Over 100 residents of Hawaii fought for our country in this war.

Opened in 1927, this salt water pool was a popular swimming hole. On opening day, celebrities were invited to the festivities and those attending included Olympic Gold Medalist and surfer Duke Kahanamoku. Other famous swimmers include Johnny Weismuller, Esther Williams and Buster Crabbe.

Bleachers next to the pool offered a specular view of the Pacific Ocean and Waikiki Beach. The concrete facade is divided by a towering iron gate fence while four stone eagles watch over visitors as they enter the pool.

The gate of the Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawaii

The gate of the Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawaii

Over the years, time has taken a toll on the building. The city of Honolulu infused money into renovations though these we halted before completion. The site is was closed due to dangerous conditions. The pool decks have deteriorated leaving gaping holes in the concrete.

Estimates to repair and reopen the war memorial are in the millions of dollars. Honolulu officials considered tearing down the facility and moving the gates to another location in Honolulu.

Preservation groups have organized to fight the destruction of this war memorial. For more information follow the Waikiki Natatorium on Twitter or Facebook.

If you are in Honolulu, take a few minutes to visit the Waikiki war memorial while it still stands. When you visit, walk directly across Kaulakaua to see the World War 1 Veterans honor roll.

Click on the image below to watch this video episode of “Where Are You Today?”.

Visiting the Libery Bell in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Our trip to Philadelphia would not be complete without a visit to see the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell, symbolic of our freedom is housed in the Liberty Bell Center.

No tickets are required for visitors to see the Liberty Bell up close. Allow ample time to pass through the security checkpoints. Prepare for the weather in Philadelphia as you may wait in line outside the building exposed to the elements.

The Liberty Bell is mostly copper mixed with tin, lead and other metals. The large bell is 12 feet in circumference.

The Liberty Bell was built in London. The distinctive crack occurred the first time the bell was rung.

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for GPTMC

Philadelphia Tourist Attactions

During a recent business trip to Philadelphia, we took a couple of personal days to see historic sites in the area. We found Philadelphia an easy city to navigate without a car. After our plane landed we picked up our luggage and took the SEPTA train into City Center. The conversations between clueless travelers and a patient train conductor were entertainment itself.

We started our afternoon with a bowl of pho (Vietnamese soup) for lunch at a small restaurant on Race Street in Chinatown. Huge bowls of extremely hot soups were served very within minutes of our order. Bring cash, as several restaurants in town require a minimum charge for credit cards.

Your first stop in the historic district should be the Independence Visitor Center. Stop to see the National Park Service Rangers at the desk to pick up a map of the National Park area. They also distribute tickets to Independence Hall. There is no free for these time stamped tickets but they are usually gone early in the day. This is the only area of the Independence National Historic Park which requires a ticket.

At many sites in this district, you must enter though a security line. You can reduce your time in line by leaving all packages in your hotel room or car.

Once you have your ticket to Independence Hall, take a walk across the street to view the Liberty Bell. The building has exhibits on the history of the bell including how it was made, the fateful crack and repair attempts. There are photos of the bell as it traveled around the county.

Noel F. Williams visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

Noel F. Williams visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

Make your way across the street allowing plenty of time to get through security before your tour of Independence Hall. If you are early for your timed tour, check out Congress Hall while you wait. You can also tour the East and West Wings before the tour of Independence Hall.

We ended our day with a variety of dining options from vendors at Reading Terminal Markets. Product, cheese, wine, candy and prepared meals are a treat for the eyes and tummy. Stop at multiple vendors and snack your way through the aisles. We had Philly steak and falafel sandwiches topped off with a piece of chocolate cake.

Final Hawaii Reunion for Pearl Harbor Survivors William Temple

On December 7, 1941 William “Bill” Temple was a 20 year old in the U.S. Air Force working in Pearl Harbor when he was surprised by the Japanese attacks. This week he returns to Hawaii for the first time since he left in 1945. Bill is here for the final Hawaii reunion of members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Membership in the organization, chartered by congress, is open to those who were on active duty in Pearl Harbor during the World War II attack. His youngest daughter Joan joined him on this visit. Bill decided to make the trip this year as it was important to him to attend this last reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors in Hawaii.

Pearl Harbor Survivor William Bill Temple at Wheeler Field Honolulu, Hawaii

Pearl Harbor Survivor William Bill Temple at Wheeler Field Honolulu, Hawaii/ Photo credit Joan

One of the sights he looks forward to visiting on the trip is his old barracks at Wheeler Air Force Base. He was also stationed at Kualoa. Bill says, back in those days, he would walk out to Chinaman’s Hat.

Bill’s mind is sharp as ever and he keeps up with news and politics.

“The idiots in Washington better get God back into the country or they can kiss it goodbye. Republicans or Democrats – if they don’t have God in what they do, they are wasting their time.” he said.

Bill lived in Virginia Beach his whole life. He was not impressed with his first visit to Waikiki Beach.

“When I got there, the first thing I said was “I left Virginia Beach for this?””

I think he warmed up the the island of Oahu during his stay. When Bill was stationed in Hawaii, he took up surfing and body boarding and was pretty good at it. Not surprising as his teacher was Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku.

After his tour In the service, Bill returned to Virgina Beach, married and raised a family. His diverse career included gas station owner, carpenter, electrical engineer and hospital employee. At 91 years young, he is state chairman of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and the group’s chaplin.

A deeply religious man, Bill credits his long life and good health to God. At 91 years young, he lives alone, still drives, has 20/20 vision and is in generally good health. Besides his work with the Virginia state Pearl Harbor Survivor Association, Bill is active with his church and local army base.

Bill and Joan have nearly a week of organized activities planned for the attending Pearl Harbor Survivors including a boat ride around Pearl Harbor. This will be an emotional time for these veterans. The Pearl Harbor Survivors are getting a hero’s welcome. Joan showed me their schedule for the visit and there is not much free time. Tomorrow they look forward to renting a car and doing some sight-seeing. Bill looks forward to seeing the Pali again. Hawaii has changed in the 60+ years since Bill last saw her. I am interested to know what he thinks of things today.

Joan says her father keeps her on her toes.

“He calls my voice mail every morning to see if I have updated it to the correct date. Sometimes he catches me,” she smiled.

Bill’s only complaint is when he has nothing to keep him busy. He is active on the computer and emails often. He works with local Indians and learned their native crafts. Bill fashions jewelry, spears and other objects. The spear pendant he is was wearing is one of his works.

Bill keeps such and active schedule, it would be hard for someone half his age to keep up. Approaching his 92 birthday, Bill’s daughter says,

“He will live to be 100 years old. You just watch!”

This is a challenge I look forward to. Welcome back, Bill.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of four other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Stan Reynolds at Last Reunion

We met Pearl Harbor Survivors Association member Stan Reynolds at Duke’s Lagoon in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. He returned to Hawaii with his daughter for the final Hawaii reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA). I asked Stan about the plans to disband the PHSA group.

“We have to. We don’t want to but we have to. There are only 3,000 of us left and we are dropping dead. Two or three a day. It just can’t go on,” he said.

Pearl Harbor survivor Stan Reynolds first came to Hawaii in 1938. He worked in a mine forest, which he described as area infested with land mines. He spoke about his role in a calm manner, though this sounds to me like dangerous work.

For 10 years, Stan was a tug boat pilot for the Navy. He was in Pearl Harbor on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941 when bombs showered Pearl Harbor.

We met with Stan just after he returned from a preview visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which officially opened December 7, 2010.

“One thing really bothered me though. I donated a small hand-made mini shell to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center but I could not find it on display. Several other guys said the same thing.” Stan continued, “Some guys donate their entire collection to the center when they die.”

Stan said additional museums are scheduled to open later in the week and the item he donated may be on display in one of these areas.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Member Stan Reynolds visits Hawaii

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Member Stan Reynolds visits Hawaii

Stan retired after 41 years in the merchant service. He said it was a “good life.”

To Stan, our veterans and those currently serving our country, thank you for your service.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of four other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Robert Ruffato Returns to Hawaii

Reverend Robert Ruffato, survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, returned to Hawaii for the final Hawaii reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. The event coincides with the opening of the new Pearl Harbor Visitors Center. As an 18 year old Navy seaman, he was on the USS Utah when the Japanese began bombing Pearl Harbor.

Robert Ruffato is joined by his daughter Bobbie Jean for his third Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion in Hawaii. We talked with them at Duke’s Lagoon in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.

The audio on this video is poor due to high winds so we transcribed the conversation below. We recommend you read the transcription below before you watch the video.

Robert Ruffato Pearl Harbor Survivor

Reverend Robert Ruffato Member of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association with his daughter in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii for the last Pearl Harbor Reunion

Robert Ruffato: “Now we train to go in and do at least three laps and also jump off of a platform with our life jackets on. But we had none of that (swimming) training. I just happened to be from California so I knew how to swim.”

Bobbie Jean: “He helped a buddy of his that could not swim go down into the water every time the Japanese were shooting down at them. He would say, “Hold your breath.” And he would pull him down with him.”

Robert: “See, after they dropped their bombs, they went around machine gunning everybody in the water and still aboard the ships until they ran out of ammunition. Then they went back to their ship. So we lost three eighteen year old kids who could not swim fifty yards that got killed.”

April M. Williams: “It was horrible to start with, but if you could have swum, you could have gotten yourself out of the water.”

Robert: “But we saved quite a few of them because after we finally swam over to a motor launch that was tied up at one of the little docks near where the ship was tied up to. We were going to get in this motor launch and pick up these survivors but I took the canvas off the motor and it was in the shed being repaired. All we could do was throw out about 12-14 life jackets to the kids in the water.”

“You want to talk about panic. You know what the old style life jackets are? Navy life jackets? They are real heavy. You couldn’t tear them apart but they tore them apart (fighting over them). Just panic, you know. It was just terrible.”

April: “What is the most memorable thing so far and about being back here?”

Robert: “Visiting the Utah mostly. We are doing that tonight. This evening. They have a sunset ceremony over there. Well it is just being back, it is such a beautiful place and everything. Mostly being with all my Pearl Harbor surviving friends you know. We were all here that day. Different ships, different places.”

“The part that really bothered me, of course, I’m an 18 year old kid and I had never seen a dead person before in my life. Also, I am surrounded by them you know. So we went toward this building which is not too far from the Utah. I was going to change into some khakis as we were covered in oil and sand. We were just wearing shorts and t-shirts”

“The chief said, “All you sailors that are not wounded, come out here, we are going to give you a thirty-aught-six and you are going to go out and shoot these airplanes as they go by.””

“Shoom! There is an airplane going by, I am standing there shooting at this airplane with a thirty-aught-six. Finally, the chief said, “I need a volunteer to take a pickup truck and go down to the other end of Ford Island where the dispensary is.”

It made a lot more sense to me than shooting at these airplanes. Even at 18 years that made more sense. But that almost cost me my life ‘cause coming across the airfield on the road that went down to the dispensary, these two airplanes came in. See, now some of these Japanese airplanes they had stationary (landing) gear. They don’t fold up. I saw the landing gear down and I figured they were one of our airplanes coming in. Then I looked at them and wondered why they were turning their lights on. But they were not turning their lights on; they were firing their machine guns. “

“All of a sudden, my truck started vibrating. I looked in the back window and the fire extinguisher was doing a dance while the bullets were hitting it. By the time I got to the end of the runway, the whole rear end of the truck was blown away. Not only that, in that truck the gas tank is right under your seat. So if they had hit that gas tank, goodbye!”

“The thing that really bothered me, when I went to pick up the medical supplies, the fellow says, “You are going to have to wait a minute, because we are packing up as many as we can as fast as we can. Go in the dispensary, maybe you can help the nurses out.””

“So I did and she says, “Here is a pack of cigarettes, go round and give cigarettes to the wounded.””

“I went to this one bed and this young guy about 18 year old kid with a sheet over him. Have you seen this Shroud of Turin, which is supposed to be the outline of Jesus? Well his body was outlined by the blood oozing out of his body. He was trying to tell me something. Evidently, he had been in a flash fire. All the hair was burned off of his head. The eyeballs, whites of his eyes, were actually red. He was trying to tell me something. So I leaned down to him, he said two words, “Why?” and “How?””

“Then he died. That was a bad part.”

“Then the second day, they put me and my friend on a burial party. It wasn’t really a burial party, it was a body recovery party. See all the bodies blown off the ships and everything. ‘Cause they have been in the water, first they sink. Then they come up 8 or 10 hours later. And my job was to get down and get as many (bodies) as I could get. They gave me they these little red things that looked like tongue depressors with a wire on them. They put a number on a box and a number of this wire and I was supposed to tie it on the toe.“

“The part that really bothered me, they did not have any coffins. Just big boxes, just to put them in. This one box had written in red paint. Why they wrote it in red paint, I don’t know. Maybe it was the only paint they had.”BODY PARTS ONLY”. If you got an arm or leg or something like that, you put it in that box. “

“That went on for about 4 hours. You grew up in a hurry that day. You were no longer a kid after that. Like they say, uh, boys became men. And men became a little older.”

April: “You were 18 then? How long did you serve?”

Robert: “Served 6 years in the Navy. If your ship was sunk or damaged where it couldn’t be repaired, you just went on other ships. We were going on the destroyer Jarvis, then the Warrant Officer of the Utah asked us where we were going. So we’re going to board the Jarvis. He said “No. Walk down to these docks down here and you will see a bunch of cruisers, and you pick out the ones with the most guns.” He said, “That’s what you do.””

“Of course the Utah did not have any guns. It was an anti aircraft training and target ship. We go out with the fleet and drop these 500-pound bombs. Water bombs and sand bombs and the ship had all these guns. Sixteen or eighteen inch guns. Eight five inch guns. All kinds of anti aircraft guns. Boy, that was for us. Why, anyone could just walk up and ask permission to come aboard. Tell the OD who we were and he says, “Come on.””

“And that was it. I spent three years on her. Like everybody else on the ship, on the ships. A lot of cruiser ships in Pearl Harbor that did not get damaged later where sunk in the battle of Guadalcanal. That was all we had to fight with, destroyers and cruisers. All the battleships were sunk. The Japanese had battleships, so we were actually fighting battleships with just cruisers. It cost a lot of ships around Guadalcanal.”

“Guadalcanal. We were building an airbase, airfield. Well, we would like to have it but we did not want them to have it. Because all the convoys going to Australia where within 100 miles of that airbase. Cause if they got that airbase built they could put their land-based bombers on it and sink every one of our convoys going to Australia, no problem. So, that’s it basically. So that’s my story.”

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Aloha Pearl Harbor Survivor Dave Davenport

I met Ernest “Dave” Davenport, retired with 21 years in the Navy, on a flight to Honolulu, Hawaii. Dave is a survivor of the World War 2 attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Although it has been 69 years since that fateful morning, the memory of the Pearl Harbor bombing is still sharp. The first attack surprised everyone. Dave and his fellow seamen quickly ran behind a barrier and started shooting. Dave said they were able to take out one of the planes.

“It is important to remember Pearl Harbor and to always be alert. We were not alert on December 7, 1941. We were not alert on 9/11.” Dave told me. As a reminder, he gave me a “Remember Pearl Harbor” lapel pin as part of his personal mission to keep America alert.

After his Navy career, Dave returned to Virginia Beach where he taught high school for 17 years. Dave and his wife of 66 years have three sons and two daughters-in-law accompanying them to the reunion to meet with other members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. They will be at the opening of the new Pearl Harbor Visitors Center this week.

The new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu, Hawaii at Ford Island is one of several collocated historically significant military sites. The brilliant white Pearl Harbor Memorial rests peacefully in Pearl Harbor above the battle ship U.S.S. Arizona lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor with many of her crew still entombed. This is where world War ll began for the United States. Standing guard across her stern is the U.S.S. Missouri where the Japanese signed the peace treaty on the deck of the ship. The U.S.S. Oklahoma, Bowfin submarine and Pacific Aviation Museum are also located here.

This is the last Hawaiian reunion planned for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Previously, the group met every 5 years at Pearl Harbor. Many survivors are unable to travel due to illness or advanced age. The number of survivors dwindles every year. Born in 1921, Dave was 20 years old on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack. He is a spry 89 years old today with a twinkle in his eye. Many of the others on duty that morning were older.

The Pearl Harbor Survivor Association is chartered by Congress. When the members are gone, the organization will cease to exist. For Dave and other survivors, it is import for us to learn the lessons from the past and do our part to keep our future secure.

In closing, I asked Dave about his nickname. He said, “In the service, everyone is in a hurry and always rushing. If you had a long name, it got shortened. My name is Ernest but no one was going to use such a long name. So they shortened my last name Davenport to “Dave” and I have been Dave to everyone ever since.”

Learn more about the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in my interview with Mal Middlesworth, former president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and Herbert Weatherwax, Pearl Harbor Survivor and volunteer at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center who tells us why he shares his story with future generations.

Aloha Dave. Welcome back to Hawaii.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Preserving Falls of Clyde the Last Iron Hulled Tall Ship Honolulu Hawaii

What does it take to preserve and restore The Falls of Clyde, the world’s last iron-hulled sailing tall ship now docked in Honolulu, Hawaii?

The “Falls of Clyde” currently berthed in Honolulu Harbor near the Aloha Tower is the only surviving iron-hulled four-masted full rigged ship and the last sail-driven oil tanker in the world. The ship has been closed to the public for several years as work continues to restore and stabilize her.

We first learned about the ships plight from Jeanette Ainlay who has worked on the ship for over 20 years. Watch our interview with Jeanette at Scottish Fest in Waikiki.

First launched in 1878, the Falls of Clyde sailed from England to India along international trade routes. According to the Friends of Falls of Clyde, the ship is 266 feet long with 1,746 net tonnage, and is one of a series of ships named for waterfalls in Scotland.

Around the turn of the century, Captain William Matson of Matson Navigation purchased the ship. Her route then began in San Francisco with a belly full of fuel and supplies destined for Hilo, Hawaii. She returned with the steel tanks full of molasses from the sugar plantations. With her four masts and sails unfurled, the ship could cross the ocean in about 10 days, depending on weather.

Falls of Clyde

Over the years, she was converted to an oil tanker and hauled fuel to Hawaii returning to San Francisco with molasses.  She was sold to Associated Petroleum in 1906 maintaining the same route and cargo.  She headed to Alaska in 1921 as a fuel bunker where her rigging was removed. Honolulu residents brought her back to the islands the 1960’s, beginning preservation efforts.

During the late 1980’s, the ship went into dry dock for extensive repair. While docked at the Aloha Tower, the ship served as an educational center as part of the Bishop Museum. Locals reminisce about attending fundraiser parties on her decks in those days. The ship was in danger of deteriorating beyond salvage. In 2008 the Museum intended to scuttle the ship when the Friends of Falls of Clyde organized. The group raised funds to purchase the ship and long-term plans were developed including fund raising strategies.

In August, the group was awarded a federal National Trust for Historic Preservation grant for pre-dry dock work. They are counting on a “Save America’s Treasures” grant to help fund dry dock and repairs. A matching funds campaign has also been organized. Plans are to raise money to move the Falls of Clyde into dry dock where the hull will be sandblasted and the ship will be reinforced to increase safety to those who work on her. She will return to her pier at Aloha Tower where the deck will be replaced, the ship repainted and rigging reinstalled. The carved wooden bowsprit or maidenhead will be replaced.

The first step in the process is to stabilize the ship to maintain its structural integrity. Once the ship is stable, she can be moved to dry dock for further maintenance and preservation. Only then will restoration efforts begin. The Falls of Clyde is listed as a National Landmark and the goal is to restore the ship to its days as an iron-hulled oil tanker.

Bruce McEwan, President of The Friends of Falls of Clyde took us on a tour of the ship where we saw her current state for ourselves.  The hull of the ship is rusty and is in need of sandblasting and painting. Once we boarded, we could not miss the crumbling and badly deteriorated teak deck in desperate need of replacement. The four masts, rigging removed long ago from, once reached 70 feet towards the sky, now lay on the deck. The rusted sections are marked to prevent injury from stepping on a weak area.

“Most of us who have lived here, we have seen it when it was first restored in all its elegance so we sort of have a mental picture of what we want to take it back to“ said Bruce EcEwan.

Below deck where there is less exposure to the elements, the ship is in better shape. The first room we entered was a sparse crew sleeping area. Four short wooden bunk beds attached to the sides of the walls made for tight quarters. Cubbyholes built into the sides and front of the room stored minimal personal belongings. Nearby was the head, a wooden box with a hole to sit on and a porthole for natural light.

As on most ships, the cramped kitchen area required good organization skills to manage meal planning, cooking and serving. The massive iron stove was the focal point in the galley.  On cold nights, this stove would make a cozy warming station for weary sailors.

Entering the Captain quarters in the stern of the ship was like walking back in time. The wood paneling and teak benches formed a rounded room which showed an air of sophistication and elegance I had not seen on other parts of the ship.  The white painted walls curved around the built in teak benches covered with burgundy velvet covered cushions. The Captain and his officers might have spent evenings in this spacious entertaining area discussing politics or business deals over a glass of port.

As we toured the ship, I thought of the 12-16 man crew sailing across the sea. In port, on a sunny Honolulu afternoon the ship was quiet. Sailing 10-14 day across the Pacific, the ship’s crew would experience wind, rain, waves, blistering heat and bitter cold. The extreme conditions, cramped living areas and long days away from family was exchanged for good wages.

For now, the teak deck is eroding and the ship is a reminder of days long ago. Her future depends on those who believe she is a valuable part of history worth saving for posterity.

Do you want to learn more about what is happening with the Falls of Clyde today? Follow Falls of Clyde on Facebook or the Captain’s Log to learn about recent updates and events.

The Friends of Falls of Clyde is a 501C non-profit organization accepting donations to save this unique part of history. Building on the Million Penny campaign begun by Honolulu Advertiser news reporter Bob Krauss in 1960, is the current Million Quarter drive. All funds collected are converted to 25¢ increments for tracking purposes and you can visit their website to follow the progress of the campaign.

Click on the image below to watch the video of our tour of the Falls of Clyde with Bruce McEwan, President of The Friends of Falls of Clyde.

For more information, visit the Friends of Falls of Clyde on the web.

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