OAHU, HAWAII - Mahopac Boy Scout Troop 371 has returned from a Scout camping adventure of a lifetime.
From July 9 through July 16 the Scouts and their leaders spent a week at Aloha Council’s Camp Pupukea on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
After landing at Honolulu International Airport the troop proceeded to the USS Missouri berth in Pearl Harbor. The first day and night everyone participated in a program aboard the ship that was the site of the Japanese surrender, ending World War II. A tour of the ship, evening and morning colors and re-creation of the signing of the surrender on the spot it happened were featured. Everyone slept in the crew quarters and ate in the crew mess.
Sunday morning the troop drove to the camp on the North Shore. After arrival the Scouts got settled into their campsite, had dinner in the dining hall and attended the opening Hawaiian campfire.
Monday through Thursday mornings, the Scouts participated in the Beach Program. They were transported out of camp to Waimea Beach where they took kayaking and canoeing merit badges and went snorkeling. In the afternoons the troop took excursions around the island. On Monday they went for a hike to the top of Diamond Head (Lê ahi) State Monument where they got a panoramic view of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the Pacific Ocean. The hike led them through some of the old World War II bunkers that were used to defend the island from invasion. The excursion on Tuesday was to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. In addition to the boat ride over to the iconic memorial that is positioned over remains of the submerged Arizona, everyone visited the World War II Valor in the Pacific Museum. After a hot day at the memorial the troop stopped at Waimea Beach for a quick refreshing dip in the ocean before returning to camp for dinner.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was the Wednesday destination. The Center is a theme park featuring Polynesian island cultures. The Polynesian island areas of Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti, Marquesas, Fiji, Aotearoa and Samoa had stage shows with singing, dancing, cultural presentations and craft activities. The evening meal was an Ali’i Luau buffet with Kalua pork roasted in an underground oven known as imu, shoyu-glazed chicken, tropical island fish, poi, poke, taro rolls and guava and chocolate haupia cakes and pineapple bars for dessert.
The evening finally was a cultural extravaganza with fire dancing and singing in the Pacific Center Theater.
Thursday was Waimea Valley day. After morning activities the Scouts went to the Waimea Valley Nature Preserve, which has many tropical animals and plant life. The three-quarter mile hike up the valley from the visitor’s center took the group to the 45-foot Waihi Waterfall where everyone got to swim in the pond below the falls.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent at Waimea Bay Beach for another ocean swim. On Friday, the final excursion day, the troop went to Hanauma Bay Beach State Park and Nature Preserve. Hanauma Bay is a volcanic crater that flooded thousands of years ago. Everyone swam and snorkeled through the crystal-clear water and coral reefs that lined the bottom of the bay. The day concluded with a luau dinner in camp and the closing campfire.
Saturday morning on the way to the airport the Scouts stopped for a visit to the Dole plantation in Wahiawa for a ride on the Pineapple Express. The train ride took us through the plantation where pineapples, bananas, sugar cane, guava and other tropical crops are grown.
The troop arrived Sunday morning at JFK International Airport. Troop leaders said that everyone had a fantastic experience and is eager to do it again.
[Article provided by Dave Ames, scout master, Troop 371]