Captain George Vancouver 1757-1798
George Godwin charts the life of the Royal Navy commander and his exploration of the northwestern regions of contemporary Canada and USA.
On a leaden October afternoon in the year 1780 two small Whitby colliers, converted for naval usage, came to anchor at the Nore. Seen from the small craft that came out to greet them, these two ships, Resolution and Discovery, presented a strange spectacle.
Their sails were torn, patched and tattered; their hulls weather-beaten and denuded of the last remnant of protective paint. Those who were first aboard saw a sight no less fantastic; for officers and crews, so long accustomed to their condition as to be unaware of its oddity, were clad in ancient faded uniforms supplemented by the gaudy silks and cottons of China.
In this manner, the two ships of Captain Cook’s last voyage returned home after four years’ quest for the fabled North-West Passage, stories of which, originating mysteriously in the legend of the Straits of Anian, had been embroidered by many mariners in circumstantial detail.