Just over 10 miles south of Kailua Village in South Kona on the Big Island is Kealekekua Bay State Historical Park. The entire bay is a marine conversation park that is just about the best location for snorkeling, scuba and kayaking all in one spot. The water is crystal clear, and besides schools of tropical fish, you’ll have the opportunity to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, and maybe even some spinner dolphins.
A trip to Kealekekua Bay is a definite “must do” if you’re on the big island during your Holidays in Hawaii. But wait! There’s more…
Hawaii and the UK Connected through History
Kealekekua Bay holds significant historical importance that, ironically, connects Hawaii with Britain. You see, Kealekekua Bay is where Captain James Cook first landed on the Hawaii Big Island.
Cook was the first Briton to make contact with the Hawaiian Islands, first landing in Kauai in 1778. The story of Cook and the Hawaiian Islands is a strange one.
Kealekekua Bay was regarded by native Hawaiians as sacred and belonging to that of the fertility God, Lono. It would appear that the Hawaiians attached religious significance to the landing of Cook and his crew at the Bay. They were regarded as Gods.
On Cook’s second visit to the island, it was evident that he and his crew were revered. The second visit happened in the midst of a Hawaiian fertility festival dedicated to Lono. For a month, Cook and his crew took full advantage of the way they were revered and the significance of “fertility” of the bay. They traded metal and other goods in exchanged for sex.
However, then something went terribly wrong. One of Cook’s crew died and the Englishmen were then known to be mortal. The natives became restless and upset at being deceived. They formed a mob. Cook’s crew fired upon them but they were forced to flee. One of the ships were damaged in the withdrawal by storms and forced to return. The angry mob of natives did not relent and Cook’s men were soon overwhelmed. Some escaped. Other’s didn’t. Among the dead was Cook.
Hawaii and the Captain James Cook Memorial Today
Today, two remnants of that near-ancient skirmish still remain. One, a white obelisk near the shores of Kealakekua Bay symbolizes and memorializes Cook’s death. The second, on the east side of the bay is a sacred temple dedicated to the Hawaiian fertility god, Lono.