Almost a Hero: The Voyages of John Meares, R.N., to China, by J Richard Nokes

By J Richard Nokes

Starting in 1786, Captain John Meares of serious Britain bravely explored the North pacific, yet his try to dominate the fur alternate among the Northwest Coast and Asia was once pissed off while the Spanish army seized his ships off Vancouver Island. Meares overlooked the chance to discover the Strait of Juan de Fuca or observe the Columbia River. therefore, he was once virtually a hero.

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Extra info for Almost a Hero: The Voyages of John Meares, R.N., to China, Hawaii and the Northwest Coast

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Page xiv "The Felice Adventurer Bearing into Kawaihae Bay, Hawaii" [1788]. © Herb Kawainui Kane, Collection of Herb and Signe Behring. Page 1 Introduction In times of storm, the seas break high against the sheer basalt wall of a promontory on the northern coast of Oregon as though trying to reduce it to rubble and sand, while the same gale blowing out of the North Pacific may pour inches of rain onto the virgin forest of an island off the coast of British Columbia. Although hundreds of miles apart, the two landmarks Cape Meares and Meares Island have something in common.

The men also wanted a prime otter skin each, but Meares refused that demand. "10 Meares bid Portlock adieu and set out in his repaired longboat with the two extra seamen aboard. Page 22Page 23 A section of the chart in Nathaniel Portlock's A Voyage Round the World (1789). The dotted line is the 1786 track of Portlock's King George (which was accompanied by George Dixon in the Queen Charlotte; not shown). Solid line is the King George's track upon returning from Hawaii in 1787 (again accompanied by the Queen Charlotte; not shown).

His dream of establishing a fur-trading empire became a nightmare: scurvy ravaged his crew in Alaska; one of his Page 4 ships disappeared at sea with all hands, and four other of his vessels were seized by the Spaniards; he almost provoked a war between England and Spain; he failed to find the legendary Great River of the West even though he looked on its tumultuous mouth; and he failed to explore the Strait of Juan de Fuca when the opportunity was at hand. But, withal, his adventures from Bengal to the ill-charted and mostly unexplored coastline of Northwest America and thence to the Sandwich Islands and to Macao off China's coast were important to history.

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