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Big Island Sights

Captain Cook Monument

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 01/06/2014

Fodor's Review

No one knows for sure what happened on February 14, 1779, when English explorer Captain James Cook was killed on this spot. He had chosen Kealakekua Bay as a landing place in November 1778. Arriving during the celebration of Makahiki, the harvest season, Cook was welcomed at first. Some Hawaiians saw him as an incarnation of the god Lono. Cook's party sailed away in February 1779, but a freak storm forced his damaged ship back to Kealakekua Bay. Believing that no god could

be thwarted by a mere rainstorm, the Hawaiians were not so welcoming this time, and various confrontations arose between them and Cook's sailors. The theft of a longboat brought Cook and an armed party ashore to reclaim it. One thing led to another: shots were fired, daggers and spears were thrown, and Captain Cook fell, mortally wounded. A 27-foot-high obelisk marks the spot where he died. You can see it from a vantage point across the bay at Kealakekua Bay State Park.

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Sight Information


Captain Cook, Hawaii, 96704, United States

Updated 01/06/2014


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  • Sights

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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  • Food

  • Décor

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Jul 19, 2007

Top Notch Snorkeling!

This is not an easy place to get to, you have to rent a kayak or take a tour but it is well worth it, the snorkeling is amazing, the surroundings are gorgeous and while we kayaked into the are, spinner dolphins were jumping in the air, magical!

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

May 8, 2007

Worth it if you're going to Kealakekua Bay

The land the momument is on is actually British soil (it was deeded to the British government). Since the monument is in protected Kealakekua Bay (a famous snorkeling site) You have to kayak out to it or take one of the boat tours permitted to go out there--not worth it if you're going just to see the monument, but if you're going to snorkel there, definitely worth it (best snorkeling of my life)

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