Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Captain Cook, sea hero betrayed by the Covid crew


IN Whitby, on the Yorkshire coast, there is a small museum dedicated to the life and times of Captain James Cook  (1728–1779) who, by sheer talent, courage and single-minded determination, became the greatest explorer and surveyor the world has ever seen.  

I have visited this museum on numerous occasions because Cook is the historical figure I admire more than any other. His rise from farm labourer’s son to explorer extraordinaire, if not historically true, would be a work of unbelievable fiction. 

However, I shall never again go there – because the museum is guilty of an obscene betrayal of this great British hero as the Covid narrative swamps us yet again. 

First, let me tell you about James Cook. He was a man way ahead of his time in so many ways. He valued human life in an age when it counted for little. He was kind and considerate; in an age of the lash, he meted out punishments that were far below the levels of most sea captains.  

He approached natives with respect and understanding, always offering the hand of friendship. When his superiors were of a mindset that saw Maoris, aborigines, and pacific islanders as savages, Cook saw only human beings that fascinated him.  

He was the first sea captain to establish a dietary regime that prevented his crew from falling to the dreaded scurvy and this at a time when long voyages would routinely kill half a ship’s complement. 

Cook had a safe and secure position with a Whitby sea captain called John Walker, delivering coal runs on the North Sea coast. He gave that up to join the Royal Navy as an able seaman because he wanted to see what was out there in the world.  

He built and cemented his reputation by surveying the St Lawrence River in Canada. After the defeat of the French, he continued his surveying work until 1767, mapping out coastlines of Newfoundland, St Pierre and Miquelon, off the east coast of Canada.   

By this time, in spite of his lowly beginnings, he was attracting attention at the highest levels of the admiralty purely on merit. They simply couldn’t keep him down…. he was like a flashing comet traversing the sky in a burst of brilliance. 

Cook’s first expedition was in 1768 in the Endeavour and lasted for three years. New Zealand was mapped out, the east coast of Australia surveyed and numerous islands were discovered and named.  

He never lost a single man to scurvy although he did lose crew members to malaria, dysentery, smallpox, syphilis, and cannibalism. The chances of returning home after these prolonged expeditions were slim indeed. 

His second expedition took place between 1772 and 1775 and this time he had two ships: Resolution and Adventure. His mission this time was to explore the great southern oceans and determine whether or not there was an undiscovered continent at southern latitudes. There was of course, but Cook provided proof that the chill winds of Antarctica would be no home to humans. 

The third voyage was from 1776 to 1780 in the Resolution and Discovery and this time the goal was to determine the existence of a North West passage across the top of the globe and into the Pacific, thereby shortening the journey to the riches of the Orient. Cook was killed in Hawaii in 1779 by natives and so never finished the voyage. 

He was 51 when he died and of the last ten years of his life he had spent eight of those years under the most arduous of conditions.  

Every day at sea was dangerous. Wooden ships were notorious for leaks, worm damage, broken masts and of course were totally dependent on the vagaries of the wind and weather. Catastrophe was never far away.  

Captaining a ship in charted waters was a high-risk occupation. Going into the ‘wide blue yonder’ and looking for undiscovered lands when navigational methods were dependent on the stars and clear skies was, at best, near suicidal.  

Cook endured stress levels for eight years which took their toll on his health and he would have to take to his cabin when his stomach ailments got too much for him.  

The dangers of course were everywhere. He was virtually shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef, only managing to keep Endeavour afloat by the slimmest of margins until repairs could be carried out.  

Having lost not one crew member to scurvy, he had to watch as nearly half his crew on his first voyage perished due to malaria when calling in at the Dutch port of Batavia (now the Indonesian capital, Jakarta). 

Centuries, later a starship captain by the name of James Tiberius Kirk (in that wonderful TV space odyssey Star Trek) set out to explore the cosmos with the mission statement: ‘To boldly go where no man has gone before.’  

James Cook was the inspiration behind those words. His birth was lower class and there was never any chance that he would be awarded a knighthood or indeed any seriously high honour, although he was admitted to the Royal Geographic Society (they couldn’t keep him out!)  

His achievements are without equal. In just two weeks in Botany Bay, Australia, his Endeavour voyage increased by a quarter the number of plant species known to science. He discovered more of the Earth’s surface than any other person in history.  

In three epic journeys, he travelled the equivalent in distance to sailing to the Moon. Perhaps, more than any other achievement, in an age of the lash and the harshest discipline, he was loved by his men and many of them sailed with him on his three voyages. 

I started this piece by mentioning the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby and I shall finish by returning to it. 

For a man whose life was marked by the highest standards of bravery; whose very career proved that ability and talent can transcend any class-based limitations; for someone who lived for years on end with the greatest of risks to life and limb, with the heaviest pressures of stresses and strains bearing down on him and his own health deteriorating over those years due to the accrued hardships he suffered … the Cook museum has sullied his memory in the most grotesque way.  

As I write, the Covid narrative has been implanted on to this most celebrated man by the inclusion of a cheap, plastic face mask on a classic portrait of Cook and now sits at the entrance to these premises dedicated to his memory.  

How can this be? How can those responsible for this despicable act of folly, even for a moment believe that this is a fitting image of the greatest explorer of all time?  

How can they do it? Where is their sense of decency and decorum? What courses through their thick, addled brains bearing in mind that their raison d’être is the glorification of this most unique of men? 

To me, this is the foulest image I have yet seen that bears witness to the obscene and devilish nature that is the Covid narrative. It is inexcusable, it is disgusting.  

It illustrates in graphic terms that the perpetrators of this attack on the human psyche will stop at nothing – even by enlisting the bravest of historical individuals (who cannot object to this use of their memory) to their nefarious methods. 

To present Captain James Cook with a face mask which depicts a man who would be frightened at the risk of a disease that at best does not exist and at least is no worse than the flu, is a travesty and a gross betrayal of everything he stood for.  

To stoop to such methods of manipulation by using such absurd imagery to me is an indication of the desperation that now hangs over those who are attempting to do us down in their efforts at societal control.  

I am so sad to say it, but the Cook museum in Whitby will never see my presence again. Like this government and those who control it, it now appals me more than words can say. 

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Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins is a furniture designer/maker who loves to write.

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