If you are part of a large or extended family, you will probably go to the occasional get-together. There you see not only people you know well, but also newcomers – new partners or new arrivals. And, inevitably, there are some absentees, unable to make the party due to other commitments, illness etc. It’s exactly the same at the Captain Cook Society UK regional weekend meeting.
Those of us who have been able to get to Marton have a great time and friendships are made or renewed. No one feels left out. 2005 was no exception. We had new faces from the USA and the Netherlands, and addresses have been exchanged in order that we can keep in touch. It never ceases to amaze me how varied are the interests and experiences discussed over the weekend, and everyone leaves with a little more knowledge of the life, times and travels of the great Captain and his crews. You may be a philatelist, writer, researcher or simply be intrigued at why Cook is held in such high regard. Whatever your reason for joining the society you will enjoy this annual bash. This year we had two hilarious presentations which left us “rolling in the aisles”, together with helpful and informative illustrated talks on Omai, the Coal Run and a revisiting and assessment of sites and peoples encountered by Cook.
The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum at Marton was as welcoming as ever and gave us full run of their excellent facilities (Thanks Phil and Ian!) but a real highlight for us was the launch of a wonderful exhibition on Surfing. The main exhibit is a surfboard, brought from Hawaii for the very first time, which the crews of Resolution and Discovery may well have seen back in 1779! Lieutenant James King is credited with the first written description of Hawaiian surfing, and here we had a real link back to those days. This historic board, measuring 14’6” long and weighing 150 lbs, was made of solid Koa wood and we were told of its making and royal history. Also displayed were numerous boards showing the sports evolution and as a nice touch we were shown a new “EcoBoard” made by the Eden Project in Cornwall. Made of balsa, hemp cloth and covered with a vegetable based resin, this showed a full circle in the production of boards from the natural Hawaiian board, through the GRP and plastic boards of the last fifty years to a brand new fully biodegradable “EcoBoard” that has no negative ecological impact.
On Sunday, as in previous years, we made our way in small groups to one or more of the three main Cook attractions in the area – Great Ayton, Whitby and Staithes. I and several others descended on the legendary Reg Firth and his Cook Museum in Staithes. Such a visit is always memorable but impossible to describe, so I won’t try! Just visit him for yourself.
If I had any disappointment with the weekend it was that the Hotel had allocated me one of the Bridal Suites, despite the fact that I was travelling alone, but didn’t provide me with a suitable companion! I’ve asked them to ensure one is provided next year! If it wasn’t for the society and its hard working officials, many of us would miss great events like this, so thanks to Alwyn, Andrew, Cliff, Ian, et al. And if you’ve never yet been to a CCS meeting, book early for the next one (and that includes you “Locals” who are noticeable by your absence). You won’t regret it.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 34, volume 29, number 1 (2006).
your email address will not be published