Life In Valdez

by Lynn
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Chasing Pipe Dreams to Follow Alaska

As I mentioned before, it took a few months to get back on track from what had happened when we first got here, but we managed. As Daryl delivered fuel locally in Valdez for the rest of that winter, soon spring came.

I set freelancing work aside again and started dock life as a seasonal worker at the fuel docks. The kids had their things going on, so we continued to split the apartment because, at that point, it made more sense. After all, we were hardly at the apartment anyway.

Dock Life

I have done many things to this point, but working on the water was a very new thing for me. As far as being labor-intensive, it was an easy enough job with long hours. (I volunteered for the overtime) In addition, Daryl and I got to cross paths during the workday and catch 5 minutes here and there that summer since we both worked for the same company.

At the time, the docks opened at 6 am, and I would get there at 5:30 in the morning to get everything going. Many times there were already boats lining up waiting during the peak of the season. Summer is the busiest time of the year here, regardless of what part of the state you’re in.

My favorite part of dock life was the dogs, however. There is no shortage of pups.

dog on a fishing boat

Thanks to a co-worker, I learned quickly that keeping dog snacks was an absolute necessity, and was allowed.

As shown above, I managed to get a picture of one of my favorite dogs one day. As you can tell, he’s waiting for a snack!

A regular customer used to come in a small craft with a black lab. She was so excited one day as he pulled into the dock that she jumped off the bow and swam to the dock. Both she and I were soaked by the time we got her out of the water. With permission from her owner, she got an extra snack.

All in all, I enjoyed this job. I got to meet many people and learn new things with the various vessels that would come in. That ranged from law enforcement, the Coastguard, commercial fishing boats, to families who had come from all over the state to stock their freezers and of course, tourists.

Dock life in Valdez
Daryl dropped lunch for me and snapped this shot while they were fueling.
Cornella Marie and Saga docked at Peter Pan
View from the south dock.

Working on the docks in Valdez involved friendly people (for the most part) and beautiful views on the days it was not raining/misting. (Still pretty, just not as pretty)


The Salmon run brings people in from all walks of life, and with the Salmon, you have the Sea Lions. I had a healthy respect for Sea Lions once I saw them in action. They kept me on my toes, literally. Losing my balance and falling in the water was not something that I cared to experience with them just a few feet away (and at times right next to the dock)

Working the docks had no shortage of wildlife. The sea otters are a constant thing, even when it’s a high traffic time. The ravens, crows, and seagulls are always around you. I loved watching all of them and their habits. There would be the occasional black bear alert as well.

otter in Valdez Harbor

Once summer faded and the company I worked for needed a person who was on call for the winter, I did that as well. During the winter months, the customers fade away from the fishing vessels, guides, and tourists into calls for our Alaska State Troopers, Coast Guard, pilot boats, and spill management vessels, for the most part. There were a few calls from people living at the marina for both fuel and heating oil as well.

US Coast Guard Valdez, Alaska

This was an experience that I will always be grateful for and one that I will always cherish as we continue to Follow Alaska.

Family Life in Valdez

Life in Valdez was good; it is just not our forever home. We have been able to make so many good memories since being here. Since arriving that first January in Alaska, life has not just been about work. We have been able to explore, fish, and even go hunting.

Exploring this place is one of my favorite things to do, although when we have a couple of days off, we always seem to make our way slightly north back into the Copper River Basin. Time exploring with Daryl and the kids is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

Follow Alaska
My better half.

Watching the smiles of my family and the beauty of Alaska brings joy to me that I would have never thought possible when I was a kid. I love seeing us like this. Some people say that you need to put technology down and enjoy life. I say that does not happen enough.

The kids at Valdez Glacier Lake
The “kids” at Valdez Glacier Lake

Dock Point Trail with the kids
The kids and I are on Dock Point Trail in Valdez.
Thompson Pass Alaska
Our son helping our daughter-in-law with her snowshoe in Thompson Pass Alaska.
Valdez Alaaska
Fishing for Silvers
Series Navigation<< When Things Go SidewaysBack To Copper River Valley >>

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More