SANTA SATURNINA JUNE 14th 1791
The Spanish schooner SANTA SATURNINA under the command of José Maria Narvaez was the first ship to extensively explore the waters around Southern Vancouver Island, the San Juans and the Canadian Gulf Islands and was probably the first European ship to enter the Strait of Georgia.
SANTA SATURNINA was assembled at Nootka; she was only 38 feet long with a beam of 12½ feet and 5½ feet draught.
She set up to eight sails and could also be rowed by eight oars. Her extensive sail plan necessitated the carrying of 2000 pounds of ballast.
A longboat commanded by Juan Pantoja from Francisco de Eliza’s ship SAN CARLOS accompanied her. The written account of the exploration and the charts produced by these explorers indicate that they anchored off the west coast of North Pender Island on their first night in the Strait of Georgia. This is where they are depicted in this painting.
An actual detailed inventory of SANTA SATURNINA’s equipment, sails and rigging dated June 1792 has been used to make this representation of the ship as historically correct as possible.