My group's Hawaiian adventure is under way with a weekend of exploration, entertainment, eating and remembrance.

About three dozen other folks from Grand Rapids and West Michigan are with me on the Hawaii Kings Tour, a 13-day Hawaiian escape with YMT Vacations.

We arrived in Honolulu on Thursday, spending three activity-filled days on Oahu.

Our trekking included:

  • A somber visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial for history and perspective regarding the tragic events of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked the United States and catapulted us into World War II.
  • A scenic drive around Honolulu, including Pali lookout, a historic site where King Kamehaha led his charges to victory, the National Cemetery of the Pacific, the State Capitol and Iolani Palace (currently seen in CBS' "Hawaii Five-O") and a stop by King Kamehaha's statue.
  • A three-day stay at Waikiki Beach.
  • A flight to the lush tropical island of Kauai, visiting Opaekaa Falls, the Wailua River and Fern Grotto.
Pearl Harbor was particularly moving.
It was an unbelievably awesome, sobering day at the USS Arizona Memorial. Nearly 1,200 men died that 1941 day on this ship alone. What can I say?
Apart from that, it's all so lush, warm and beautiful here, with the Pacific Ocean tradewinds caressing us each day.

This morning, we're off for more Kaua'i adventures. We're on this Hawaiian island through Wednesday, and then we head to Maui.

Oahu and Kaua'i Photos