Fourteen keen “Cookies” met for the annual meeting of the West Coast chapter of the Captain Cook Society at the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort in Parksville, British Columbia, on the east coast of Vancouver Island on March 3, 2018.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch buffet while we all took turns introducing ourselves and speaking briefly about how we became interested in the life of Captain James Cook. Members travelled mostly from different parts of Vancouver Island, such as Victoria, Nanaimo and Comox, but also Mayne Island, one of the Gulf Islands. There also were two “newbies” from Winnipeg—Doug Cook and his son Travis Cook. Apparently, they are disappointed they are unable to claim direct lineage from the good Captain.
Quite a few of the members brought books along that they have been reading or just wanted to share among the other members. Among the stories of how they came to be so interested in James Cook, many people cited Tony Horwitz’s book1 as the catalyst that drew them in. Other books brought for our “show & tell” included ones by Noel Mostert and Barbara Burkhardt, Barrie Angus McLean and Doris Kochanek.2
The stories about how some of us became interested in Cook were fascinating and as varied as one can imagine. Leona Taylor was working for the fisheries department on patrol vessels up and down the west coast of Vancouver Island, and in her spare time read old newspapers looking for news items concerning the exploration of the area. She has a considerable collection of clippings and memorabilia that she shares with us all each time we meet.
Hal Hicks, who is now in his early 90s, was stationed in Middlesbrough, UK, during the war. As a young lad of 18 he knew nothing about Cook. He wishes that he’d had the interest then that he has now. After a full military career and an interest in naval history, now his son Don and daughter Barbara are also members of the society and avid history buffs.
One of the newer members who we were meeting for the first time is Carol Jones who told us that she joined the CCS when someone gave her the gift of a membership. What a great idea for us all to do.
One thing we all have in common is the interest and desire to travel to places where Cook has been, and planning holidays around events that are honouring Cook’s memory. Plans are afoot for some of us to perhaps take in the upcoming 250th anniversary celebrations in New Zealand and Australia.
The newest member Doug Cook told us about his very unusual plans to create a replica of Cook’s ship, Endeavour, in his back yard. He’s going to build it only from the top deck up—and in the middle will be a swimming pool! We are all looking forward to seeing the photos. For those of you who don’t know where Winnipeg, Manitoba, is located, it’s in the middle of the Canadian prairies. The sight of masts and sails in such a landlocked place is about as incongruous as it can get! We can’t wait to see how it turns out.
This annual meeting was not so much a formal meeting as a wonderful opportunity to further our friendships among members, and to welcome new ones. It is indeed a delight to all have this common interest.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 40, volume 41, number 2 (2018).
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