Sure, you know about Pearl Harbor, but you probably don’t realize that Hawaii’s involvement in World War II extends far beyond the date that lives in infamy.
Nestled among the white-sand beaches, ubiquitous rainbows and hallowed surf breaks, Hawaii’s WWII landmarks are as scenic as they are historic — and they’re just waiting to be discovered.
After you hit up the usual spots, such as the Pearl Harbor National Monument, the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum Park, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl crater (which you should definitely do), be sure to also see these lesser known sites graced by history.
Check out the Natatorium, before it’s too late
As it turns out, sunken military equipment makes for great coral ecosystems. And where there is great coral, there’s great diving.
Between 1924 and 1952, records show that 1,484 aircraft crashed in the Hawaiian islands, yet only a small number have been recovered. In 2011, a dive team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuaries surveyed six wreck sites — a bomber plane, fighter plane, three landing vehicles and an unidentified sailing vessel — and posted detailed sketches and photographs of the dives.
If you find yourself on Maui, get a guided tour of the wreckage fromBrad Varney, a boat captain, instructor and co-owner of B&B Scuba, who says he discovered one of the planes.