Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Malaspina Galleries

We have been staying at the docks in Nanaimo for several days, hoping that a very strong and persistent northwest wind will die down, allowing us to make headway in a northerly direction. Yesterday Linnea, a friend we made in Mexico who is a Nanaimo resident, entertained us by taking us across to Gabriola Island, the furthest north of the Gulf Islands. The last stop on our explorations were the rock formations called the Malaspina Galleries. The photo above shows the Captain just at the entrance to the Galleries.

The Galleries proper are sculpted limestone, so eroded by wave action that they overhang, looking like waves themselves. They were observed by the very first Spanish explorers to visit these islands. Their expedition in 1792 was led by Galiano and Valdez. The Galleries were named after Malaspina, the commander who had ordered their journey. Jose Cardero, who was the ship's artist, sketched the rock formation. Later, back in Spain, his sketches were reworked and much exaggerated for a report on the expedition, hence the black and white image above.

In the 1920's E.J. Hughes, a young local artist, won a commission to paint murals for a new resort in Nanaimo called the Malaspina Hotel. The scene of the Spanish viewing and sketching the Galleries was one of the subjects chosen. That mural has recently been heroically restored and installed at the Nanaimo convention center. Last evening at sunset it was easy to understand how these rock galleries, in their wild and beautiful location, continue to capture the imagination.


Anonymous Jane said...

A stunning photography as the light is perfect!

August 13, 2009 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love your blog, as always, hope you both are well, we are on the boat, doing well, getting ready to take off, where ever the wind will take us, happy new year!!!
crew form sailing vessel ;CURTSY

January 20, 2010 10:19 AM  

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