SOOKE HISTORY: Four chiefs at Whiffin Spit

HMS Endeavour’s commemorative voyage comes to Sooke

A proud moment: Capt. Chris Blake, left, T’Sou-ke Nation elder Frank Planes, T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Jim Cooper and CRD director Diane Bernard at the commemoration of HMS Endeavor in 1999. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

Elida Peers | Contributed

It’s not often we see four community leaders of this stature lined up together in celebration of a historical event.

This photo was taken in August 1999 at Whiffin Spit, at the welcoming ceremonies taking place in honour of the replica vessel HMS Endeavour visit.

At left is Capt. Chris Blake, a South African mariner who was in charge of the Endeavour’s international voyage, commemorating the historic voyages of exploration made by Capt. James Cook more than two centuries earlier.

Second in this photo is the legendary Frank Planes, the renowned elder of the T’Sou-ke Nation, grandson of Chief Andrew Lazzar. His welcoming support was one factor that made the Endeavour’s visit such a celebration in Sooke.


Third in line is Chief Jim Cooper, who was the elected chief of the T’Sou-ke people during the 1990s, the second time he took on the task of governing, already serving 14 years during the 1960s and 1970s.

At right, Diane Bernard was the regional director for Sooke Electoral Area from 1997 to 1999, the final term for that electoral area, as Sooke’s incorporation vote took place that year, with the new mayor and council being sworn into office in December 1999.

Besides Capt. Cook’s visit to our coast in 1778, his journeys were mostly in the south seas, where Cook met his death in Hawaii in 1779.

The replica vessel was built at Fremantle, a small coastal town near Perth on Australia’s west coast, and on its epic journey, sailed to the British Isles, South Africa, and both coasts of North America.

Those of us in Sooke Festival Society who worked with the T’Sou-ke nation, and with Bernard, got to know Capt. Blake and the crew quite well, as our local community residents were welcomed aboard to tour the vessel while moored at Sooke’s government wharf.

It turned out Frank Planes and Chris Blake became real buddies, with the captain presenting Frank with a framed section of the rigging of the original 1778 Endeavour, and with Frank gifting the captain with a case of Sockey salmon canned by his wife Bunny.

We were thrilled when Capt. Blake told us that the visit to Sooke was the most welcoming and enjoyable of their entire commemorative expeditions schedule.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

The Skeena Queen, serving the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route has been out of action since early Wednesday morning, forcing BC Ferries to cancel eight sailings connecting the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. It is not clear when service will resume. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Ferries cancels additional sailings to Salt Spring Island

With repairs to Skeena Queen underway, it is not clear when service will resume

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Reader’s Lens
Richard Ashton took this picturesque scene from Whiffin Spit looking toward the Salty Towers dock and East Sooke. To submit a photo to Reader’s Lens, please email (Contributed photo)
Reader’s Lens

Reader’s Lens Richard Ashton took this picturesque scene from Whiffin Spit looking… Continue reading

Most Read