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Monday, April 21, 2008

Captain Cook

Another statue graces the Inner Harbour, as prominently displayed as Queen Victoria's, facing the Empress Hotel, that of Captain James Cook. Victoria must be excused a bit of shameless name-dropping here. The famed explorer did not actually stop at Victoria. However, in 1778 he must have passed nearby on his way to Nootka Sound, further up the island. He was looking for a western exit to the fabled northwest passage. Not finding it, he turned around and went back to the South Seas, where he met his untimely end.

Travelling with Cook on this voyage were two other later-to-be-famous sailors. Midshipman George Vancouver, who later returned to these waters as Captain Vancouver, has the honor of having Vancouver Island named after him as well as two neighbouring cities, one in British Columbia and another in Washington State, USA. The other famous seaman on Cook's last voyage was the Master of one of Cook's two ships, the Resolution, one William Bligh, later captain of the HMS Bounty when her crew mutinied.
I am particularly fond of this period of nautical history and am looking forward to the Tall Ships Festival later in the year (June 26-29), when Victoria will host sailing ships from many parts of the world. This year we have been promised a visit from the replica of HMS Bounty that was commissioned especially for the film, "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring the late Marlon Brando. I am looking forward to photographing it from stem to stern.

9 comments:

Mark said...

You have such a wonderful advantage living in Victoria..
There are so many wonderful things to shoot.

The Empress hotel alone could take up a years worth of photos

USelaine said...

The angle you got of Cooke gazing at the walking figure sign is delightful. Nice to catch all that history as well.

USelaine said...

Did I say Cooke? I meant Cook. Darned uneditable comment facility..... It's late.

babooshka said...

he angle od that photo was greatand what a wondeful blue sky.

Your history lesson was really interesting too. Captain Bligh married a woman from the Island ilve on on and most of the Crew of the Bounty were from here too,The Isle Of Man.

Destitute Rebel said...

The pictures of Cook's statues are amazing so is the story they tell.

Benjamin Madison said...

Mark - yes Victoria is beautiful but that can be a trap too - it's so easy to do all the cliche shots. Because one is in a beautiful environment one starts to think one is a good photographer. The real challenge for a photographer here, as anywhere, is to see the beauty that is all around us that we don't normally see and to use technology and artistic perception to make it visible to others. (Still, it's nice to have a few ducks and cherry trees to fall back on....)

Benjamin Madison said...

Thanks all for your kind comments.

uselaine, your typo is forgiven.

babooshka - I didn't know that about Bligh and the Bounty crew. Bligh was an interesting man - his feat of navigation - several thousand miles in an open boat - after being dumped by the mutineers was extraordinary and is generally ignored. As for the crew - are there any living relatives - cousins etc of Fletcher Christian or the others - still living on the Isle of Man?

USelaine said...

Before babooshka bounces back, let me point out that Bligh himself was a Cornishman. Woo-hoo for the Cornish! Okay, I'm done.

raf said...

You lucky dog, Benjamin, having the Tall Ships gig there in June. Would definitely be there for that, but we'll be traveling. Another footnote that relates back to Cook is that Port Townsend was named by old George Vancouver, which you probably knew. Loved your post.