In the dawn hours of January 18, 1778, on his third expedition, British explorer Captain James Cook on the HMS Resolution and Captain Charles Clerke of the HMS Discovery first sighted what Cook named the Sandwich Islands. Leaving, and after cruising the West Coast, Alaska and Bering Strait, on October 24, 1778, he headed back to the islands.
Then, shortly after leaving Hawaiʻi Island, the foremast of the Resolution broke. “On the 8th (of February 1779) at day-break, we found, that the foremast had again given way … and the parts so very defective, as to make it absolutely necessary to replace them, and, of course, to (remove) the mast.” He returned to Kealakekua. On February 14, 1779, Cook was killed.