These are what I refer to as the real people of Kealakekua and Captain Cook. Without them, these towns would never have been created.
Their efforts in the coffee and macadamia nut fields is legion in these parts. They get very little credit for their contributions to the area at large.
In the annals of the Big Island's history, one of the largest migrations of Japanese from Japan traveled here to make their fortunes, deluded by false promises of potential wealth and riches beyond their dreams. First the young men, those usually being of a lower class who, responding to the fabrications of plantation owners, left their homeland never to see Japan again.
Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. The women who are in this picture are, in large part, ladies who were likewise deluded into coming to this Island as picture brides a term made popular by the way we now all understand as a means of 'purchasing' the company of a woman, but not for just a few hours, instead, for the rest of their lives. It continues to this day all over the world but it began HERE
When you visit the Big Island of Hawai'i, you will see many sights and hopefully, will enjoy the different kinds of ethnic groups which you will meet and mingle with.
No doubt, you will see a great number of Japanese people on this Island as well as on other Islands.. What you see above is a representation of the original group, the larger picture of PLANTATION WORKERS these being the first of their kind and the largest group of Orientals represented in Hawai'i to this day. The younger generations of today came from this hardy stock, they are now the physicians, dentists, businesspersons, engineers, computer experts, storeowners, etc., and are now citizens of the United States of America, something which was denied to the above group, despite their contribution to the building of Hawai'i's economy and wealth.
As you wander the roads, byways and cities of these Islands, you will see a number of Chinese and persons from the Philippines. You will see many Portuguese names and people. They too came to Hawai'i under similar circumstances, the Chinese came from Canton, and then Shanghai. The very term SHANGHAIED originates from a time when young Chinese men were kidnaped from the streets of Shanghai, loaded onto boats, then brought to other lands to serve the whims of their owners. Make no mistake about it, slavery in the United States did not end when our History books say so. The conditions under which these people lived was far worse than the plantations of the Deep South. These conditions lasted well into the turn of the 20'th century. I saw them with my own eyes, it is an incontrovertible fact.
Hopefully, none of you will perceive my comments as anything more than they are, simply stated truths of our past. I have no personal axe to grind, life has treated me well, but none of should forget the sacrifices of our forefathers who toiled under the hot sun in the dreaded fields. Cane leaves are treacherous, having knife like surfaces.
Those fortunate enough to work in the coffee and macadamia nut fields considered themselves blessed. So as you pass by the vast fields of sugar cane and pineapples, enjoy their beauty, and at the same time, give a little nod to these pioneers who helped to shape and build these lands.
In July of 1776 Cook set sail on his third voyage, again in Resolution. His mission was to look for a possible northern sea route between Europe and Asia. In 1778 he became the first know European to reach the Hawaiian Islands. Later in 1778 Cook sailed up the northwest coast of North America, and was the first European to land on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He continued up the coast through the Bering strait, and entered the Arctic Ocean. Great walls of ice blocked the expedition, so Cook headed back for the Hawaiian Islands. On February 14, 1779 Cook was stabbed to death by Hawaiian natives while investigating a theft of a boat by an islander. The expedition arrived back in England in October of 1780.
Just off Captain Cook’s cluster of houses, at the water level, the so-called “Place of Refuge” is located. It has the haughty claim of being a heritage site due to some remnants of Hawaiian temples, nicely complemented with toilet facilities, Polynesian impersonators and even an amphitheater where the busloads would start their history introduction. The value of similar claim is so dubious that it is not even worth remembering how the Hawaiian word for the outfit goes; it is a long one anyways. The good thing about the place is the parking lot and the service as orientation point for probably the best snorkeling environment on the Big Island. This stretch of the ocean coast is made of lava rocks; sand is either away or deep, giving the waters crystal-clear visibility. The leeward-calm sea teems with colorful fishes and visits by turtles, big and small, are not a rare event. The lava edge makes the approach a bit tricky and extra attention better be paid if a sting by the porcupine-looking balls hiding in the rock crevices is to be avoided. Crowds are a problem but a limited one since most of the bodies are on land and not with the fishes.
The bay where Captain Cook made his initial landing and also committed his fatal follies seems to be a cursed place. Modern day strangers come here not to teach the locals what is good and bad and make money in the process. They come here to admire the vistas and spend money as they swim along. Once the money has wormed its way into the human relationship things usually go sour. The locals, proud descendants of the Polynesians who actually met Cook, are inclined to do business more than ever. The only obstacle is the fact that others, Cook’s descendants by mentality, would not let this happen. The place where the Captain met his miserable death happens to be a meeting spot for a whole bunch of colourful fishes. The tour operators of big boats have decided to exploit the environment by driving in large vessels filled with action-hungry tourists all the way from Kona. The locals were countering with kayak rentals but it was spoiling the big master plan of the business moguls and the kayak owners were forced to go through a licensing procedure. Similar tactics are thinly disguised punitive measures but halleluiah; there was at least one lucky man who withstood the onslaught. He provides the only alternative to the big boats with an array of kayaks capable of giving a service which considerable number of people need. Everything is fine so far but there is the condition of not landing at the site of the monument – the kayak should be in the water at all times. Here is the sticky point – is being in the water but touching sea floor with your feet considered being on land? According to a self-proclaimed ranger, who could not produce any document confirming his claim to authority, standing on sea floor constitutes landing. To harass you better he is equipped with a number of investigative questions about the source of your kayak and a water-proof camera so he can immortalize the damning facts of trespassing and pass them on to the respective authorities. Minor blips in his claim to preservation of indigenous heritage and environment were the shaven hairs leading to his belly button and around his little tities plus the huge discrepancy of money charged by the big-boat owners and the kayak provider.