Today we returned down Dean Channel and on to Shearwater. Along the way we passed the monument to Sir Alexander MacKenzie. We didn’t know what the big deal was on the way in so we didn’t pay it much attention but we figured out what it was so we made a point of going by slowly today.
There’s a cairn on the spot now but evidently the old boy originally just scratched a note on the rocks: “Alex MacKenzie from Canada by land 22d July 1793”. At least that’s what Wikipedia says he wrote. More likely he actually scribbled “Dirk is Gay” or maybe “A.M. ♥ L.B.” We’ll never actually know. Somewhere along the way someone built a perfectly respectable concrete cairn complete with a bronze plaque. We didn’t go ashore and the printing was too small to read from the water but I’m sure it was all politically correct and definitely in both official languages.
He got to salt water but he didn’t get clear to the Pacific. Evidently his guides were Bella Bella Indians and they had some longstanding thing going against the Bella Coolas so the guides were afraid to go any further. Or maybe it was the other way around – his guides were Bella Coolas and the west coast tribe was the Bella Bellas. Regardless, like any self respecting British adventurer, of course old Alec couldn’t carry on without his coolie guides, so that was the end of the big overland trip.