Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Kaena Point and the North Shore

A day dedicated to hitting the north shore. The area is quite large and we split into a separate vehicles because everyone wanted something a bit different from this trip. My group drove up the center of the island based Wheeler Army airfield, Schofield Barracks and the Dole Plantation. Didn't really have time to stop and apparently there is a small museum at Wheeler that the public can get to. Our goal was to head to Kaena Point State Park and hopefully spot Albatrosses and sea turtles.

Unfortunately it looked like we had missed the Albatrosses by at least a week although we did find nests and broken eggs. The area is absolutely beautiful and quite different from what we had seen so far. We were fortunate to spot one sea turtle at Laniakea Beach as we drove down Highway 83 (Kamehameha Hwy). We managed to get a late lunch at Giovanni's aloha Shrimp truck on the way back on Hwy 83 as well. Had Shrimp Scampi there, wonderful, I would go back in a heartbeat.

A few pictures from the day
The hills above the beach

A bit of beach, very rugged with coral and lava flows preventing surfing in this area

A mass of broken coral washed up from the reef off shore

Lava rock strewn across the beach

An entire family of crabs living in this area. You can just make one out in the center

Tidal pools along the beach

If you look close you can spot the small fish living in this particular pool

This is Keoki (the Hawaiian form of George). They can identify them by the pattern of scales on the head. 

Volunteers will go to a beach to spot turtles that are sunning themselves on shore and cordon them off with a red rope so people don't get to close

Waves along Laniakea beach where Keoki had come ashore

He has three barnacles on his shell just above his left front leg.
No pictures of the Shrimp truck. I was to hungry to think about it!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Hiking Diamondhead Pt II

Well, I have some of the missing photographs of the Diamondhead hike. I have to comb though the original RAW (NEF for Nikons) pictures to find the ones I wanted to add. I do shoot everything in RAW format so that I have full data when it comes time for some serious editing. What I post here are just the quick conversion to JPG with a little color correction.

From just about as high up as I can get near the top of the observation point. This is Honolulu. If you look carefully towards the center you can make out the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where the luau was.

Here we are looking right down the edge of the volcanic rim. I was waiting for the shot to clear but the flow of people just didn't seem to stop. You can also see one of the secondary observation positions near the center of the picture. 

Just about the full extant of the Diamondhead crater

And out to sea

The top of the observation point.

Inside the observation area. I'm guessing a large pair of spotting binoculars were mounted on that stand. 
Looking out through one of the observation slits

Looking up the spiral stairs, these exit out of the funky tower on the top.

Going down the stairs you can find two more levels for the main observation area.

One of the residents of Diamondhead, a mongoose.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

World War II Project - 101st Airborne Characters - Stoessi's Heroes

It seems quite appropriate that I show off this latest acquisition on the anniversary of D-Day.
I received an email from Stoessi's Heros about a new release that had T/4 George Luz and Lt Welsh packaged together based on a scene from the Band of Brothers miniseries in Caretan France. Since I have a bunch of US Airborne queued up to be painted as the 101st I figured a few characters were in order. So I grabbed this pack and discovered that there are bunch more from Band of Brothers that I missed. I ended up picking up five more characters from the series and another copy of Col Hogan (because I forgot that I had already purchased him). I'm thinking that I might work on one or two of these for a ReaperCon single entry.

So here is what came in the package from Germany (fantastic service by the way, one of the very best companies I have purchased from):

In the first pack are Luz and Frost, in the second is "Buck" Compton

"Wild Bill" Guarnere on the left and "Bull" Randelman

Lt Speirs (and a much better figure than Warlord's) and 1st Sgt Lipton

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Hiking Diamondhead

Now that we have waved Pearl Harbor good bye its time to get into some real hiking. First up was Diamondhead which was listed as a 1/2 mile moderate hike. I'm going to say they are wrong! Being from Colorado hiking is not a new thing for me but I would push this almost to a difficult hike, if I was rating it from a skiing standpoint this would be a high blue, its not a green for sure. I think 1/2 a mile is incorrect too, definitely longer than that and includes, steep inclines, steep stairs and a tunnel that if you are claustrophobic you may not be able to get through. The tunnel was longer than I thought it would be and while relatively wide its not tall, if you are six foot plus you will be ducking your head through most of it. Not only that but it curves so you can't see the end. It cuts right through the edge of the rim to get to the observation posts on the seaward side. Definitely worth the trip. I'm a bit disappointed but I didn't upload all the pictures that I thought I did, so I may update this post with more photos in the immediate future or make a whole different post.

First look back into the Diamondhead crater, you can just make out the parking lot near the center.

First sight of the Pacific as we get closer to the top

I'm not sure if these are original observation points or not. I'm pretty sure that the one on the left is not, but the center one might be.

 A little out of order, but in about the middle of this photo is where the tunnel that cuts through the rim for the road is located.

Looking back at the crater from the base of the first set of stairs, at the top of the stairs is the tunnel.

This series covers the area from pretty near the top, this one is from the tunnel

From the observation point, a close up of the observation points.

From here you will go up higher to the main observation facility and another set of nasty stairs. I'll have to upload those photos though, apparently they were not in this batch.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Vacation Travelogue - Pearl Harbor Pt IV

After we finished walking the decks of the USS Missouri we boarded the shuttle bus and ran over to the Pacific Aviation Museum. This museum occupies two of the hangers on the base; Hanger 37 and Hanger 79.

Here is a little history of Hanger 37, which is the gateway to the Pacific Aviation Museum:
Today, hanger 37 is the entry point for visitors to Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. On the day of the attack, ti was a very different place. It was the hanger for utility squadron VJ-1. During the attack, it fired back at the Japanese from machine guns in the back seats of its J2F-1 "Duck" amphibious biplanes. It also serviced SBD dive bombers so that the two-seat Douglas' cold fly out to find the Japanese fleet. It aslo sent out five of its own JRS-1 aircraft armed only with a few Marines carrying rifles. One JRS-1 nearly found the Japanese fleet, a discovery that would have led to the death of everyone on the aircraft.

J2F-1 "Duck"

Hanger 79 is an 80,000 square foot seaplane hanger. The hangar doors' blue glass windows, at each end, are still riddled with bullet holes left by the Japanese attack. During the war it was a maintenance and engine repair facility filled with fighters, bombers and patrol aircraft that were based in Pearl Harbor or en route to the front lines.

You should definitely start in Hanger 37 where all the big displays are. Then walk around the outside to Hanger 79, on the way you will pass the outdoor parking for a larger number of the jet aircraft the museum has acquired. 

I could have spent 2-3 hours at this museum but our day was drawing to a close and the family was getting a little tired at that point.

A6M2 Model 21


Ford Island and battleship row. the museum is located in the hangers at the far end of the island on the left.

The remains of the Zero that crash landed on Niihau


Douglas SBD Dauntless

F4F-3 Wildcat

The old aircraft control tower on Ford Island, apparently complete with Pearl Harbor era battle damage

F-105G Thunderchief (Vietnam era, a family friend flew two tours in Vietnam in this aircraft, not the one on display though)

F-15 Eagle

F-104 Starfighter

F-86L Sabre

MiG-21 (I think)

F-14 Tomcat


F-86 Sabre

T-33 Shooting Star

F-16 Falcon

B-17E Flying Fortress. This is the one that was pulled out of a swamp on Papua New Guinea. Currently undergoing restoration

My great uncle would have occupied this spot as a bombardier on B-17Fs and Gs in Europe.

TBM Avenger in the back undergoing restoration


A late model AH-1
I'm still going through and editing pictures. There are a lot of aircraft here and I had to be a bit choosy in my shots since time was running short. I would definitely like to go back to this museum.