Lono Wept

Cook lands in Hawaii, 1778
19th century engraving
"Dippers" in Brighton, 1800
"The Death of Captain Cook," by Johann Zoffany, 1795
Cook's "Voyage to the Pacific"

Captain James Cook, the lowborn son of a Yorkshire farmhand who had risen to become the era’s greatest seagoing explorer, was crisscrossing the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to discover the fabled Northwest Passage. The year was 1778, and Cook was nearing the end of his third and final Pacific voyage. Having failed, yet again, to find a watery link from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Cook directed his HMS sloops Resolution and Discovery away from the Alaskan coast and set a south-southeast course...

To the average Westerner, the sea was nothing more than a vast communal repository for fear and dread, littered with, as Shakespeare wrote, "dead men's skulls," and "a thousand fearful wrecks."