In a bid to find the not yet existent North West passage Cook encountered vast ice ranges and saw the impact of colonisation first hand when entering part of Alaska already overtaken by the Russians. Forced back by the ice shelf Cook retreats to Hawaii for R 'n' R before returning to the Arctic the following summer. But that was not to be. After nearly eleven years of voyaging from the Antarctic to the Arctic Circles trading, observing, befriending chiefs and villagers alike, even participating in local culture Cook is clubbed and stabbed and drowned in a quintessentially tropical paradise? How did it come to this? Or as one of the people Sam meets says, 'How did it not happen before?' Back in Australia Sam views an unfinished tapa waistcoat abandoned by Elizabeth Cook after his death - a poignant memento. A larger than life stainless steel sculpture of the man by Michael Parekowhai is the focus of Sam's reflections on Cook. Finally on an uninhabited islet in mid- Pacific Sam concludes his journey from being a 'mere actor' when he set out to becoming 'a man of the Pacific'.
Swapping a potentially easy life of retirement for a third voyage around the Pacific, the relationship between Captain and crew is severely tested as Cook leads his men on an expedition that if successful would dwarf everything he had so far achieved - discover and navigate the Northwest Passage. Sam Neill continues to follow the path of the Resolution, again via through New Zealand and Tonga onto Canada and Alaska, experiencing the Pacific as never before.
This episode deals with Cook's second voyage aboard the Resolution in search of the Great Southern Continent. He circumnavigates the Antarctic, without ever sighting land - an extraordinary achievement in a flimsy ship at such latitudes. During this feat he begins the painstaking process of filling in vast unknown areas on the Pacific map. Sam visits New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Norfolk Island before completing one of Cook's unfinished ambitions by touching down on Antarctica. For Sam this episode, in a much more intimate way, mirrors what many consider Cook's greatest achievement, the breadth and extent of the second voyage. In Sam's case, Antarctica is a first as is reaching the crater of a very active volcano, Mt Yasur. And significantly visiting Norfolk Island where standing in the ruins of its penal settlement Sam acknowledges an intersection of Pacific and Cook history with his own family in a startling revelation.
Having fulfilled his Admiralty brief Captain James Cook opted to tale the long way back to Britain so he could chart the East Coast of Australia and explore the mysterious land. The Aboriginal people showed more caution than their Polynesian counterparts upon the Endeavour's arrival seemingly indifferent to the strangers and wishing them gone. This understandable reticence was misinterpreted and later led to the myth of Terra Nullius Sam travels from Botany Bay up the east coast to Cooktown, learning about a country that far from being nobodies' land was comprehensively inhabited by a well-established culture.
Over six stunningly beautiful episodes, Sam Neill takes us on a personal voyage across the immense expanse of the Pacific, whilst mapping his own understanding of Europe's greatest navigator.
Over these stunningly beautiful episodes Sam Neill takes us on a personal voyage across the immense expanse of the Pacific, while mapping his own understanding of Europe's greatest navigator.
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