Magazine October 19, 2009, Issue

The Glorious Eighteenth

A view of the top of the monument to Captain Cook at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii (Surfsupusa/Wikimedia Commons)

Softly the civilized
Centuries fall . . .
—Alun Lewis, “Raiders’ Dawn”

The monument to Captain Cook is on the western side of Kealakekua Bay, on the big island of Hawaii. It is pleasantly inaccessible. You can hike to it from one of the island highways — three hours, our guidebook told us — but we chose to come at it from the seaward side, paddling the mile or so across the bay in a pair of rented two-seater kayaks, dad and daughter in one, mom and son in the other. Landing right at the monument is frowned on, as the coral there

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