The largest float plane in the world is on the way to Tofino

I had a fabulous time in Tofino and Ucluelet during my three day stay of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival.  Here’s the view from our hotel suite at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort which is both family and dog friendly.  I’d highly recommend it as it’s a lovely place, is right on the beach, and they support the festival, a bonus!

I did two family story time readings / talks on board Jamie’s Whaling Station whale watching boats, one in Tofinio and a second in Ucluelet.  They have such great staff, and comfy boats, so get out on one of their tours if you get a chance. It was great fun to do story time on a boat as I was able to focus on west coast stories about whales, eagles and moonsnails.  Both boats were chocker block full of moms, dads, kids, and grandparents.

In between, I managed to get out to hear Adrienne Mason read past books as well as give us a sneak preview of her upcoming book.  Here she is reading in the fabulous little bookstore in Ucluelet, Wild Heather Books.  The bookstore also features a coffee bar so it was perfect place for Adrienne and I to catch up after her talk.

By the time we left, big, fat snowflakes were swirling around like crazy.  We had to drive quite slowly through the winding roads taking us inland and over the mountain pass. When we reached  Sproat Lake, the snow had turned to rain, so we popped in to see the famous Martin Mars fire fighting water bombers which were originally built as WWII transports and later converted in the 1960’s for fire fighting. Here I am standing in front of one.  As you can see, it’s huge! In fact, it’s the largest float plane in the world and has a wing span five feet longer than a 747.  The wheels come off for it to take off on the lake and pick up it’s water load.  The funny vent you see me standing beside is a temporary heater which helps keep the maintenance workers warm during it’s off-season service.  Only seven of these enormous planes were built for the U.S. navy, and this and one other are the last survivors.  I’d love to see one of these baby’s flying!

FYI, there is now a seasonal visitor’s centre.  It may well be the result of having to chase away thousands of rubber necking tourists over the years! 

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