We arrived in Valdez on Memorial Day. Our first stop was the visitors center where they were very helpful and invited us to their fresh halibut picnic behind the high school. We along with several other Roadtrek couples attended the picnic. What a great time. The Coast Guard flew a rescue chopper in from Cordova and let all the kids play inside. The Air Force flew a band in from Anchorage that played great music. One 7 year old girl went up to sing with the group and had everyone wondering were Simon Cowell was, she was so good. It was a wonderful afternoon, and free to all that attended.
Starting with the picnic and the visitors center we had the opportunity to meet many of the locals. It is a very close community with the largest employer being the Alaska Pipeline which terminates at Valdez. Commercial fishing is the second largest employer.
The 1964 Alaska Earthquake was 9.2 and lasted for 4 minutes and is the second largest ever recorded and the largest in north America. There was a massive underwater landslide that resulted in the destruction of the town and harbor carrying 33 people to their deaths in the resulting tsunami. The Army Corp of Engineers would not allow the rebuilding of the city and Valdez was moved 4 miles away where many of the old buildings were moved. The museum did a great job in telling the story of the town.
The group we hooked up with had Mexican night, Pete prepared the margaritas
and the rest of use prepared the tacos and Casadia’s..lots of food and drink for all.
We took a cruise out to the Columbia glacier on a beautiful sunny day.
The ice flows are so strong and thick the closest you can get is 11 miles. The glacier moves 100 feet each day. It is so amazing to see the strength of the ice carving out the valleys they flow through. The trip out and back to the glacier was full of wildlife. There was a “raft” of sea otters,
the captain counted 52 in total and said it was the most he had ever seen. They are funny as they lay on their backs and in many cases have a rock on their stomachs that they can crack shells on to get to their food.
We saw a number of whales, but like in the past they were BTW, bad tourist whales. There is a beautiful small bird called a puffin
along with a lot of sea lions basking in the sun
and entertaining any tour boat that came close to shore. On the way back to Valdez there were a few pilot porpoises. We went within 30 miles of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill and got an overview of the cleanup as well as the changes made to avoid another accident such as the Pilots guiding the ships into port now board 60 miles out rather than the 30 miles before the accident. The pilots are on a two week shift an stay on a boat about 40 miles out
rather than having to do the 60 mile trip each time coming or going for a oil tanker.
The next day we walked the city and spent time talking with more local people. We then drove out as close to the pipe line terminus as we could. On the way back we picked up 6 pounds of sockeye salmon for an evening BBQ. John’s brother Will had just sent us their father’s recipe for marinating and cooking salmon. We prepared the marinade and socked the salmon in it.
We enjoyed the BBQ with 7 other couples with side dishes prepared by each. It was the best salmon we can remember. We purchased at Peter Pan, a cannery in Valdez for under $9.00 a pound and when we asked how old it was, they checked and it had arrived off the boat the night before, now that is fresh!!
The group asked for the recipe, so here it is.
Jack Wilson’s Salmon BBQ (Salmon about 6 ounces per person)
Salmon should be Butterflied (Fresh, not Frozen, wild best! Choose salmon by type, the best is Sockeye (red), then King (red), last Silver (pink) All are good!
- Marinade 4 – 6 house in Refrigerator
- 1 medium Minced Yellow or Sweet Onion
- 4 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
- 4 Lemons – 2 sliced, juice for 2
- ¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- ½ cup Olive Oil (Virgin is OK)
- 1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
- 4 dashes of Tabasco
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Worcester Sauce
- Add Salt and Pepper to taste
- Blend all ingredients (except sliced Lemons)
- Put Salmon Filets in large plastic bag and add marinade, store in refrig turning hourly for at least 4 hours.
- Prior to cooking, cut cedar boards ( 1X6 ) to length of filets. Soak boards in water for at least 4 hours.
- Prior to cooking, light BBQ to high heat.
- Arrange Salmon Filet on one of the cedar boards skin side down
- Top with Marinade and Lemon Slices
- Place on BBQ grill and close lid. No need to flip the salmon.
- Cook until meat in center is Pink. If still red, keep cooking. Depending on thickness of the salmon, cooking
- can take 10 – 20 minutes.
Keep a spray bottle of water handy to put out flames on wood.
Serve with rice and veggies. A good red wine holds up well with Salmon.
This is a contemporary recipe based on Jack Wilson’s classic Salmon BBQ
June 2, 2011