Captain Cook anchored in Kealakekua Bay January 17, 1779 – Palea and Kanaʻina kept order among the people. Some of Palea’s retainers stole a pair of tongs and a chisel, leaped into their canoe. Several muskets were fired after them in vain, and a boat was sent in chase. Palea, who was on board, offered to recover the stolen articles, and followed in another canoe. The thieves reached the shore first, beached their canoe, and fled inland.
A scuffle ensued and a sailor knocked Palea down by a heavy blow to the head. Palea, however, soon recovered from the blow, dispersed the mob, called back the sailors, and restored the missing articles as far as he could. “This was the same Palea who from the first had been the constant, kind, and obliging friend of Captain Cook and all the foreigners”. Then, during the night of February 13, the cutter of the ‘Discovery’ was stolen. On February 14, 1779, Cook was killed.