Savu & Rai Jua News - Dec '04

Continuing in Cook's footsteps

Dr Bob Bloomfield, a NESTA Fellow from the UK, visited the island last month, as part of a larger project retracing Captain James Cook's voyage around the world. Bob is re-visiting the landfalls of Cook's first Pacific voyage in an attempt to reappraise both its impact locally, and the broader significance of the records made by Cook and the scientific supernumeries on board.

Cook's 1768-71 expedition was the first European voyage to have scientists on board. Botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander collected over three thousand five hundred plant species along with specimens of animals, minerals and of ethnographic materials that on their return fascinated Europeans. Both Banks and Cook wrote accounts of the peoples and cultures they encountered, including what were the most comprehensive
records of Savu at the time.

Bob was accompanied on the week-long trip by Savunese Ina Tali of So, he enjoyed much closer contact with Savunese society than Captain Cook, who stayed just three days, aided by a mediator from the Dutch East India Company. Bob was overjoyed by the experience, commenting that for the first time in his journey he felt that, instead of following in their footsteps, he was stepping into their shoes.

For more on Dr Bloomfield's explorations, go to
New Endeavour.

Copyright © 2007 Ina Tali/Francesca Von Reinhaart.


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