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State of Hawaii
Facts About Hawaii
Fact About Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
Hawaii History - Hawaiian History

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"Ua Mau ke Ea o ka`Aina i ka Pono"
"The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

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Hawaii Geology and Creation
Hawaii Discovery and Settlement
European Discovery of Hawaii
Surfing In Hawaii Observed
Captain Cooke Killed
King Kamehameha I Unifies Hawaii
The Great Mahele
Kamehameha III
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Captain Cook, aboard the Resolution, departed the English Channel on the 14th of July, 1776, on his third voyage to the Pacific. He was joined by Captain Clerke aboard the Discovery. The purpose of the voyage was to find a northwest passage between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans above the North American continent. After provisioning in Cape Town, they ventured through New Zealand and the South Pacific, visited Christmas Island to the south of Hawaii, then spent time in Hawai`i before sailing north to the Northwest of America and up to Alaska in search of a Northern passage to the Atlantic. Upon the onset of winter he returned to Hawai`i to supply and repair the ships and to await summer weather that would allow him to continue his search for a northwest passage. Upon their arrival at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, the ships were greeted by surrounded by reportedly thousand of canoes, double and single hulled.


During this visit one of the Europeans made note of observing Hawaiian’s surfing.

"As two or three of us were walking along shore to day we saw a number of boys & young Girls playing in the Surf, which broke very high on the Beach as there was a great swell rolling into the Bay. In the first place they provide themselves with a thin board about six or seven foot long & about 2 broad, on these they swim off shore to meet the Surf, as soon as they see one coming they get them- selves in readiness & turn their sides to it, they suffer themselves to be involved in it & then manage so as to get just before it or rather on the Slant or declivity of the Surf, & thus they lie with their Hands lower than their Heels laying hold of the fore part of the board which receives the force of the water on its under side, & by that means keeps before the wave which drives it along with an incredible Swiftness to the shore. The Motion is so rapid for near the Space of a stones throw that they seem to fly on the water, the flight of a bird being hardly quicker than theirs. On their putting off shore if they meet with the Surf too near in to afford them a tolerable long Space to run before it they dive under it with the greatest Ease & proceed further out to sea. Sometimes they fail in trying to get before the surf, as it requires great dexterity & address, and after struggling awhile in such a tremendous wave that we should have judged it impossible for any human being to live in it, they rise on the other side laughing and shaking their Locks & push on to meet the next Surf when they generally succeed, hardly ever being foiled in more than one attempt. Thus these People find one of their Chief amusements in that which to us presented nothing but Horror & Destruction, and we saw with astonishment young boys & Girls about 9 or ten years of age playing amid such tempestuous Waves that the hardiest of our seamen would have trembled to face, as to be involved in them among the Rocks, on which they broke with a tremendous Noise, they could look upon as no other than certain death. So true it is that many seeming difficulties are easily overcome by dexterity & Perseverance."
From: Journal entry - Captain Cook Society Webpage


Captain Cooke was killed in an apparent confrontation with the “natives” over the theft of one of their launches at Kealakekua Bay on February 13th 1779. Details are sketchy but can be further explored on the above referenced page.

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