Monday, October 13, 2008

Discoverer's Day

The second Monday of October is celebrated on the mainland as Columbus Day, but in Hawaii the same day every year honors Captain James Cook, of the British Royal Navy, the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Captain Cook had already charted vast areas of the South Seas, the entire coast of New Zealand, Newfoundland, and the coast of California and north, all the way to the Bering Strait. It was during his third exploratory voyage, after an unsuccessful attempt to find the Northwest Passage, that he made landfall in Waimea, Kauai, at the rivermouth of the Waimea River, in January 1778. He was the first navigator to record the coordinates of the islands and share their existence with the world.

The portrait above was painted in 1775 by Nathaniel Dance-Holland and hangs in the United Kingdom's National Maritime Museum. The statue below of Captain Cook stands in Waimea, Kauai, near the sight where he landed with his two ships, Resolution and Discovery, at the Waimea rivermouth. It is a copy of a statue in England by John Tweed.

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