There we were, riding along at a comfortable clip, sprays from the harbor glancing across us every once in awhile, the weather in perfect semi overcast shadow, listening to the narration of history by one of the sailors dressed in Navy whites. And then, perfect stillness. Not a sound, but much movement among the crew. Several attempts at starting the barge failed. Two different below deck ventures, still failed to get the vessel moving. What had happened? A riddle as old as engines: We had run out of GAS!
This was our third attempt at taking Pac Fleet’s Remembrance Barge tour; each with a different set of mainland visitors. The first, I called too late and it was already booked, the second our house guests had an untimely trip to the ER the night before, rendering them too tired for the barge, and this the third attempt with our final guests.
The Remembrance Barge is a hidden gem among the historical tours, open only to military and those they sponsor on. As I mentioned, it does fill up quickly and they only book thirty days out, so making a timely call is imperative. The tour starts at the boathouse, where you see the Four Star Cinc Pacific Fleet that all but two Presidents have ridden, the smaller version, the two mystery Presidents rode, a museum with hidden celebrity footage and also a very well done educational movie about the events of Pearl Harbor.
Following this presentation with plenty of entertaining commentary by the sailors, we boarded the Remembrance Barge and headed off in the harbor. Shortly after we entered the secure gate, just past the USS Nevada marker, we ran out of gas. We were able to see the water view of the USS Utah marker, along with a handful of other sights only seen from the Barge and hear about a few non-historical sightings to the movie Pearl Harbor.
Shortly after we ran out of gas, we were joined by another boat and then a tug boat. In the course of our waiting on the water, we were visited by four other boats. I think they were all having a grand time, silently ribbing the three sailors on our boat. At one point, diesel was delivered, but the engine wouldn’t have it and eventually we were towed back to the boathouse.
The most disappointing part of the whole adventure was not seeing the inside of the Arizona Memorial, but we did get a very long and thorough exterior view. My in-laws were real troopers and not bothered in the least.
Notes for future on the Remembrance Tour: Book early and expect the unexpected. They said this had never happened before.