Photographer's Note

OK I know it's a long note, but I think it is worth a read! :D

This post is a little strange from me, mainly because it has been dug out of my archives; I can’t remember doing that before. There is a reason. Right at the beginning of my TE ‘career’ I started a Captain James Cook theme. James Cook is a hero round where I live, as it is where he was born & raised and began his working life. (There are several museums and the local university hospital is named after him) I never got around to posting this shot of his memorial, probably because it isn’t anything exceptional photographically. However, it has been niggling at me periodically, and the other day Leonor Kuhn posted a picture of the very place in Tahiti where Cook was sent in the Endeavour on his first circumnavigation of the world. He went with scientists to observe and record the transit of Venus across the sun. I put Leonor’s photo in my theme and set about finding this image. What’s the point of a theme on Cook’s life if it doesn’t include the image I have recording his death??!

It was my first trip with a DSLR. We were doing a walking holiday in Hawaii and I was a complete photography novice. It was around mid-day in the tropics, but I’m unlikely to go back for a better shot, so this is it!

For two days we were based in Kona on the Big Island. One of the days we drove to the top of a 2 mile trail and walked down the cliffs to Kealakekua Bay, where Cook dropped anchor in the Resolution and where he met his death. At the bottom of the path there is a small area in trees where the waves lap up on the low rocks. There, at the edge of the water, is a small square plaque. At first I thought that was all there was, but a short walk through the trees revealed a clearing and the obelisk you see here.

Captain James Cook needs no introduction, but there is a lack of agreement about how he met his death. The story that has most credence is as follows. When Cook and his men arrived in Hawaii in 1779, he was met with great rejoicing, as he was thought to be the god Lono. He was feasted and showered with gifts, before he set off on his journey to find the Northwest Passage. Shortly after leaving, the Resolution was damaged in a storm, so they returned to Hawaii to carry out repairs. By then the Hawaiians realised he wasn’t the god Lono, and were demanding gifts in return for their earlier hospitality. They resorted to theft of some of the metal items carried by the ship, like the instruments that the ship couldn’t manage without. Arguments ensued and there was a skirmish in which Cook was killed on February14th 1779 His body was chopped into pieces and the flesh removed in the old Hawaiian tradition. After many entreaties, Cook’s second in command, Captain Clerke, was given some of the bones, which were placed in a weighted box and buried at sea.

Sorry I have no exif. data. Crop showing a close up of the inscription is in the WS

Laurent just reminded me that this small area of Hawaii, is actually part of the UK, given to them by the USA because of its historical importance.

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Additional Photos by Kath Featherstone (feather) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7646 W: 399 N: 14391] (51130)
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