Ocean Falls is a community about 300 miles north of Vancouver BC on the Pacific coast. It was built at the turn of the last century (1905) and was entirely constructed by one company, both the industrial complex and the town. It was chosen as a town site and a mill site because of the ready availability of water. There was a natural waterfall dropping from Link Lake to the ocean, into a deep harbour. A dam was constructed for hydro power, and everything that a sawmill and a pulp and paper mill would need was as hand. The deep sea ships could anchor to take on cargo, the barges, which brought wood supply, could dump their load right beside the mill, and the one and only freighter/passenger ship could dock and let off both people and supplies. The terrain is very steep, however, and the town had to be constructed on many stilts with wooden roads connecting the tiers of houses. Everything was built on solid rock and it was a good thing because this particular location had the highest annual rainfall in North America (about 250 inches per year) and things would have washed away rather quickly had it not been for the rock foundations everywhere.
About one mile from the town site, there was a 'private' residential neighbourhood where you could actually purchase a home if you so wished, as opposed to renting from the company. This is where management lived as well as skilled tradesmen who had families. It was here in Marten Valley that the planes landed as there was a bit more room than in the town itself, which was very pressed for space.
There was not an airport, but simply a ramp that the seaplanes taxied up after they had landed in Cousin's inlet. I did not know this on my first flight to Ocean Falls.
I had entered the plane in Vancouver on a rainy day and it was sitting on the tarmac, on its wheels. It was my first flight in an airplane and I was both nervous and excited. Nobody told me that a Gruman Goose had wheels sticking out of its amphibious fusilage and it was the boat shaped bottom that I had not noticed when I boarded the plane. The plane held about 20 passengers and was full when we took off. Such a noise I had never experienced! Had I known, I would have brought ear plugs. The vibrations and reverberations in the fuselage were horrendous and I was quite frightened the whole trip up. It was about a 2 hour flight and when the plane started to bank, I knew I was soon to embark on my great adventure. I gazed out the window and noted with alarm that there was not a landing strip in sight. Surely it would be evident from the other side of the plane. We were at low altitude now, and I could see the log booms on the water with great clarity. I thought that it must be one of those runways that starts right on the water's edge. We were now skimming the water and yet seemed to be far from land. Too far! The bottom of the Goose nicked the tops of the waves, and soon it was thudding each small whitecap. I was in panic mode now and was wondering why there was almost no concern showing on the faces of my fellow passengers. They must have been amused at my white knuckles gripping the arm rest with the strength of imminent death. Now we were in the water and sheets of sea foam were cascading up onto the widows, not only drowning out any view, but giving the feeling of being submerged. I was sure we were going underwater and just as I was drawing breath for my death scream, the plane suddenly slowed, the water ran down off the windows and the plane became buoyant. The engines revved once again and we taxied to the ramp with a great thrust of the two prop engines. "Unbelievable", I thought, as I caught a glimpse of my sister and her husband waiting at the edge of the ramp.