Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

Explore The Historic Captain Cook Monument In Kona

Captain Cook Monument

The Captain Cook Monument is a major landmark on the coast of Kona with a 27-foot white obelisk built in honor of the famous seafarer known as Captain Cook. But what happened to Captain Cook, and why was the obelisk built at this spot to honor him?

A Brief History of the Captain Cook Monument

Captain James Cook is the British explorer who discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. The following year, on January 17, 1779, Captain Cook and his crew arrived at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island. The locals assumed the captain and his crew were gods and were happy to welcome them and even held a feast. Nonetheless, a month later Captain Cook had a conflict with the locals, and he was killed.

In 1878, a 27-foot obelisk was built to honor the famous captain. The plaque at the spot reads: “In memory of the great circumnavigator, Captain James Cook, R. N., who discovered these islands on the 10th of January, A.D. 1770, and fell near this spot, on the 14th of February, A.D. 1779. This monument was erected in November A.D. 1874 by some of his fellow countrymen.”

Captain Cook

What Can You See or Do at the Monument Today?

Today, the Captain Cook Monument is a tourist attraction in Kona drawing visitors from far and near. The Captain Cook monument and state historical park is located 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of Kailua-Kona which is on the western coast of the Big Island. The park is typically open during daylight hours.

The basic admission to the Captain Cook Monument is free. But visitors do more than just visiting the monument. It’s a chance to explore the area’s black rock beaches and to go snorkeling, dolphin watching, diving, or kayaking off the coast of the bay.

How To get to Captain Cook Monument

If you’d like to visit the monument, you can do so by hiking or kayaking to Kealakekua Bay, or you may even take a boat tour. However, taking a boat tour is the safest and easiest option. You wouldn’t have to bother about high surf or ocean current. Open ocean kayaking can be dangerous if there are waves and you lack the skills and experience to maneuver correctly. Kayaks can flip over easily. If you choose to Kayak here, you should consider joining a kayak tour group that has an experienced tour guide.

If you decide to visit the monument on a boat tour, it is easier to get into the water to snorkel. You can easily get off the boat in deeper waters. More so, you’ll avoid stepping onto the rocky ocean bottom which can cause injury on your legs.

For the most suitable snorkeling conditions just offshore from Captain Cook Monument, you should book a snorkel tour very early in the morning or afternoon snorkel tour when only few people will be out swimming, surfing, or snorkeling etc.

Once you’re ready to visit the monument, make sure you’re with a hat, reef safe sunscreen, sunglasses, mostly if you’re planning to spend some hours in the water. Typically, many tours at the Kealakekua Bay lasts for about three to five hours.


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