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.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event

Harley Davidson motorcycles will roar in Honolulu, Hawaii and along Waikiki Beach on Sunday December 5, 2010. This is date of the 36th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. The motorcycle toy run benefits United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

According to Ray Pagan, State Treasurer for Street Bikers United Hawaii, the event draws participants from Honolulu and parts of Oahu as well as other Hawaiian islands, mainlanders and even motorcycle riders from other countries. The ride begins in Honolulu at Magic Island, rides though Waikiki along Kalakaua Avenue beside the blue water of Waikiki Beach, ending at Kapiolani Community College where the toys are loaded into awaiting trucks.

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Spectators line the route cheering the bikers who ride in a variety of outfits. Some wear their club colors and leathers while others dress more seasonally in t-shirts and shorts. Last year we saw Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and an elf riding in the parade. I even saw Santa riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. These rider donate 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for keiki.

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

Click on the picture below to watch video of the 2009 35th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. Notice how quiet Waikiki Beach, Honolulu is at the start of the video and how loud things get when thousands of bikes take over Kalakaua Avenue.

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

If you plan to be in Honolulu and ride a motorcycle, come on down for the Toys for Tots parade and bring a new toy. If you do not ride, check out the parade and cheer on these riders who are supporting the United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program and making the holidays brighter for tots.

Contact Ray Pagan from Street Bikers United Hawaii for more information or find out if your city is hosting a Toys for Tots Motorcycles Biker Event.

** See video of the 2010 Honolulu Toys for Tots Parade.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

When we heard about Puka Dog Hawaiian style hot dogs in Waikiki, Honolulu from the Anthony Bourdain Travel Channel show, Noel said “I have to try those hot dogs.” We live in Chicago, the hot dog and pizza capital of the world and it is hard to beat our local restaurants on these items. Noel was ready for the taste test. Being a vegetarian, I agreed to join him but did not expect to partake.

When we arrived I found the “hot dogs” choices on the menu either Polish Sausage which Noel likes and (surprise!) veggie dogs. We both were going to have lunch. The choice of dog was just the first of our options.
April M. Williams Hawaii restaurants
Any good dog needs a bun and this is not your typical bun split down the side. The Puka Dog bun is tube shaped with a hole at one end. After you choose your dog your bun is slide onto a toasting spike. Seconds later, you watch as your Puka Dog is assembled.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Your sauce selection, either mild or spicy, is dispensed into your bun. Next comes the relish. While some may be traditionalists, opting for ketchup or mustard, we tried the unique tropical versions. Tropical papaya, pineapple, coconut, guava, star fruit, mangoes or bananas relish is squirted into your bun on top of your sauce selection.

Finally, they slide your choice of dog into the tube. You’ll be glad these are served wrapped in a paper sleeve to keep the sauces from ending up in your lap. Dine alfresco on the patio or opt for take out.

Staff here was animated as they explained the menu to us and answered all our questions. The Waikiki store on Oahu is Puka Dog’s second location. The original Puka Dog is on the island of Kauai. Follow Puka Dog on Facebook too.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit Puka Dog Waikiki.

Puka Dog Inc.
2301 Kuhio Avenue # 334
Honolulu/ Hawaii 96815
Phone: 808 923-4510

Puka Dog (Waikiki Town Center) on Urbanspoon

Waikiki Honolulu Mango Throw Down

We met with Beachhouse Chef Rodney Uyehara at the Hawaii in Real Life tweetup in the Monoa Surfrider. Overlooking the blue Pacific of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii Melissa Chang and Russ interviewed Chef Rodney Uyehara and sampled his entry for the “Tree to Table – Mango Throw Down” tonight at the Surfrider: Lollipop Lamb Chop with Curried Mango Couscous. This special event is part of the “Mangoes at the Moana” celebration of the mango season.

Melissa Chang tastes Chef Rodney Uyehara's entry for the Mango Throw Down

Melissa Chang tastes Chef Rodney Uyehara's entry for the Mango Throw Down Aug. 27, 2010

Tonight 17 of the best Hawaiian chefs will compete to see who can create the best wine and edible tastings using mangoes as the main ingredient. A panel of celebrity judges will be on hand to pick winners in these categories: Best Use of Mango, People’s Choice, Dessert, and Overall Best Dish.

The public is welcome to this event. Tickets are $85 and available at the door. Proceeds benefit University of Hawaii’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific. The event is tonight from 6 – 9:30 p.m.

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

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

We experienced an authentic Japanese tea ceremony at the Urasenke Foundation in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Urasenke Foundation is nestled away on a side street in Waikiki across from the post office. The foundation teaches the art of tea service at locations around the world. We stopped by for a demonstration of the Japanese thin tea ceremony.

We asked and the foundation requested we not shoot video during our visit.

We were greeted at the door and asked to make a small donation to the foundation before entering into the next room. Here we watched a 25 minute video describing a typical thick tea ceremony. The thick tea ceremony lasts several hours and gave us an understanding of the thin tea demonstration we would participate in.

Next we were guided to a tea room and instructed to remove our shoes before entering. This protects the mats covering the floor.

Our host entered with two other Japanese women all wearing colorful kimonos. Our guide described the tea ceremony and instructed us on how to respond. The host did not speak during our visit. The mood was formal and proper.

The room had a cauldron of boiling water set into a hole in the floor. The host began by serving us delicate cookies with a gingko flower design. The elaborate tea preparation began with powdered tea and a small whisk for each single serving. Our guide instructed us on the proper way to show gratitude when accepting the drink. The cup is turned clockwise twice before drinking. Admiration of the design is important.

After each guest was served, the tea spoon and tea container were passed in turn to each guest to admire.

We asked our guide about the history of the foundation. She told us she was a founding member of this branch over 50 years ago. When I asked how long it took to learn the art of Japanese tea ceremony, she said a lifetime, you never stop learning.

My husband is studying to speak Japanese and the women enjoyed conversing with him in their native tongue.

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Read more about our visit at 808Talk Insiders Guide to Hawaii.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Earth Month Waikiki Aquarium Honolulu

The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii hosted Earth month celebrations on April 10, 2010. Free admission to drew a long line at the 9AM opening. Special interactive educational displays were popular with the keiki. Scientists, educators and volunteers were on hand to talk about sea life, invasive species, conservation and habitats. The messages were conveyed with coloring books, ring toss games and learning puzzles. A seahorse release was a highlight for many attendees.

The Waikiki Aquarium partners with Duke’s Waikiki for educational events.

In addition to the Earth month special events, we visited the ongoing exhibits including Hawaiian monk seal, puffer fish, anemones, and jellyfish. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kualoa Ranch Honolulu Hawaii Video

Here is video of our visit to Kualoa Ranch on Oahu where we toured ancient fish ponds, gardens and the where location shots for Lost TV show and movie productions were filmed.

You can read more about our visit to the ranch in this previous post.

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Tours and Hawaii Activities

David Morgan, 6th generation owner, invited us to visit the 4,000 acre Kualoa Ranch cattle ranch and recreation destination.

David is a descendant of Gerrit Judd, who was one of King Kamehameha III cabinet members. Judd purchased the initial land and offshore fishing rights from the king in 1850.

While still an active cattle ranch, the family has diversified operations including vegetable and fruit farming, flower nurseries and producing fish and prawns for local markets. There are a variety of non invasive visitor activities they were happy to show us including hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, concerts, sporting events, education sessions and TV and film production.

After our breakfast orientation meeting, we were off to a tour of the Moli’i fish ponds and gardens. These preserved fish ponds were built 800 years ago using lava rock walls and a series of wooden sluice gates where small fish could enter. Growing as they fed on the alga in the pond, the fish became too large to exit the gates. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Our next stop was the garden where taro, breadfruit, papaya, jack fruit, banana, pineapple, bamboo, sugar cane, coffee and a rainbow of flowers grew. We stopped near the macadamia nut trees seeking out a few overlooked nuts. The effort to required to crack these shells was impressive. By smashing the nut between two stones we were able to taste a few raw nut meat treats.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

After our stop for the lunch buffet in the main lodge we were off on our next tour. We chose the movie tour which took us out in a scenic part of the ranch valley. Cowboy, our tour guide took us through the former military bunker which has been used to film Lost and now houses movie relics and posters. As we rounded the bend the valley opened up in front of us. Here is were many movies and television shows are shot including Jurassic Park, George of the Jungle, Fifty First Dates. “@nctrlbst @alohayaling @alohabruce and @noelwilliamsinside one of Godzilla’s footprints. Photo credit April M. Williams”

The sites are marked by signs and our guide Cowboy had a story to tell of each one. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch is about an hour drive from Honolulu. The ranch offers shuttle service from Waikiki and The Bus route 55 stops at the entrance to the ranch.

Follow Kualoa Ranch on Twitter.

For more information or to make reservations for a day at the ranch call (808) 237-7321 or email activityinfo@kualoa.com.

Watch video of our trip to the fish ponds, gardens and movie location sites.

Oahu Revealed

Oahu Revealed

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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