On the first day of October 1787, captains John Kendrick and Robert Gray, along with fifty other men - sailors and tradesmen alike - set sail from Boston, soon to be the first Yankees to lay eyes on the lush and resource-rich Northwest Coast of North America. This journey, and Gray's subsequent voyage in 1790, were trading ventures that would lead to little wealth for anyone involved, but would supply future generations with rich stories of encounters between the Native Americans and the traders, of desperate escapades along the coast, and, eventually, the reward to the United States of the Columbia River. Kendrick, on board the Columbia Rediviva, and Gray, on the Lady Washington, maneuvered around treacherous Cape Horn, then sailed north up the western coasts to present-day Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. There they traded with the Indians for the prized sea-otter pelts (called by the Russians "soft gold"). Finally, they would sail for the China ports of Macao and Canton, where they traded the skins for tea and fine china. The American ships had joined a contingent of international vessels (mostly British and Spanish) assembled at Nootka Sound, some to trade, others on voyages of exploration. The two captains eventually would switch ships, and Kendrick would remain on the Northwest Coast, while Gray sailed on to China and to Boston - then back once again. These were the first citizens of the new nation to sail into the Pacific, and the repercussion of their voyages would ring loudly for years to come. The dreamer Kendrick would never return to Boston, choosing to remain on the other side of the world until his death in the Sandwich Islands, late in 1794. The more pragmaticGray would continue his career as a sea captain into the nineteenth century.