Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Kealekekua Bay and Captain Cook

on July 17, 2013

Once upon a time, there was a brave sea-captain, name Captain James Cook.Where the Ocean meets the Sky

Capt. Cook was born in Yorkshire, England in 1728, joined the British merchant navy in his teens and then joined the Royal Navy in 1755.  He was an explorer, navigator and cartographer (his maps were so accurate that some of them were still being used in the middle of the 20th Century!)

He travelled the Globe, going  here and there and everywhere, including, on his last voyage (apparently in search of the Northwest Passage): they went from Tahiti to Hawaii (he and his crew were the first Europeans to ever visit the Hawaiian Islands) to Cape Foulweather on the Oregon Coast (of the United States), which he named because – guess why – they had bad weather when they arrived…

Back to Hawaii (otherwise, why would I have it brought it up!) he first landed Hawaii (at Waimea, Kauai) sailing his ship, the Endeavor, in 1778.

The EndeavorIn 1999, we happened to be visiting in Kona when the replica of the Endeavor, a 3-mast sailing ship, was on its voyage.  The replica was recreated using the Endeavor’s original plans that are stored at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.  The replica was completing a 4 year, around-the-world tour, and though it was “new”, they made it so it looked weather-beaten.

Oh, you can “join a voyage” on the Endeavor, and learn to be part of the crew! Huh! (Shannan…I am NOT doing this! But, it does seem very interesting!)

We didn’t go onto the ship, but we did see it sail by from our 4 mast schooner.  (Well, not “ours”, but the one that we borrowed.)

Captain Cook returned to Hawaii (this time in his ship, the Resolution, in 1779, and made landfall at Kealakekua Bay, on the Big Island.  (“Kay-ala-kay-kua”, not “Kea-locka-kua” 😀 )

Apparently, he happened to arrive during the harvest festival, in which the Hawaiian’s worshipped their god Lono… And apparently, the ship mast had some sort of resemblance to something that had to do with the Hawaiian’s worship (not totally sure), so when they arrived, apparently, the Hawaiian’s mistook Capt. Cook as an incarnation of Lono…

They stayed a month, and during that time, “exploited the Hawaiian’s Good Will.”Heiau at Kealakekua Bay

After they left, one of the masts of the Resolution broke, and they had to return to Kealakekua Bay.  It was an unexpected return, apparently the season of Lono was over, and the Hawaiians were UNhappy!

The details are random, but it goes something like this:  Captain Cook and crew returned, quarrels broke out, someone took one of Captain Cook’s boats (a small cutter), Captain Cook tried to take King Kalani’opu’u hostage, the Hawaiians prevented that (big surprise), and Capt. Cook and crew had to retreat.  As the Captain turned away, he was struck on the head and stabbed to death…

Or something like that.

Anyway – you can go to Kealakekua Bay – it’s BEAUTIFUL! and go visit Captain Cook’s Monument. (By the way, despite theCaptain Cook Monument final demise of Captain Cook, the Hawaiian chiefs still handled the Captain’s body the same way they would handle their own chiefs and elders (graphic description I’m skipping), and eventually, some of his remains were returned to the British for a burial at sea.)

You can either kayak, hike or boat to the monument, which is across the Bay from the easy-access road.   The hike is reported to be strenuous – no problem going in, BUT 1300′ elevation increase in 1.8 miles on the way out.

The snorkeling in the area is supposed to be AMAZING!

Along the road from Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 11) to Kealakekua Bay, keep your eyes out for the St. Benedict’s Painted Church.Painted Church It was built in 1899, by the priest overseeing the parish – John Velghe.  He had no formal training (painting, that is) and used house paint to paint the scenes depicted on the walls.  The Church’s website tells that most of the Hawaiian people during that time didn’t read, so he used pictures to teach.
Painted Church, inside

Going North along Hawaii Belt Road, you come to Captain Cook (the town/village) and then Kealekekua.

I wanted to move there, just because I like the sound of the name 🙂 . It’s a little town of about 1,650 people (as of the 2000 Census), is 1,427 ft (435 m) above sea level, nice warm temperatures without being too hot, and the subject of this major hit song from 1933, “My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii.

We’ve been to a few nice, and quaint, restaurants there – let me see…one is the Aloha Angel Cafe (I’ve read reports that this might be close down…), and one is The Strawberry Patch, and I forget the other names – I Googled, but there are a few choices, and I’m not sure.. but if you are in town, spend some time there.  (In the meantime, I will find out the names of the others.)

Another fun thing to do there is to visit the Kona Joe’s Coffee Plantation. You can go for lunch, samples and/or a tour.  They are the world’s first “Trellised coffee plantation“.

Sunday, on to Holualoa, the Art District, and maybe Cloud 9.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/cook_captain_james.shtml
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/captain-cook-killed-in-hawaii

“The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”
James Cook

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One response to “Kealekekua Bay and Captain Cook

  1. Shannan says:

    This really made me giggle!!

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