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Big Island Sights

Captain Cook Monument

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb
  • Fodor's Choice
  • Captain Cook's Monument, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    <a href="">Captain Cook's Monument</a> by <br />

Updated 03/04/2015

Fodor's Review

On February 14, 1779, famed English explorer Captain James Cook was killed here during a seeming misunderstanding with local residents. 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 Historical Park or take a guided tour by one of the local licensed operators.

Sight Information


Captain Cook, Hawaii, 96704, United States

Updated 03/04/2015


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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!

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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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