TUESDAY – June 30st – Today our plan is to meet with the guys at American Tugs about some details of our new American Tug being built.  Our new boat was started a few weeks ago and we are super excited to see the progress!  We had a great meeting discussing all the build details and got to see the hull of our new boat in the mold.

After the meeting we had a late lunch at Nell Thorn, then at 4:30pm we decided to start our way home.  On our boat (we usually cruise 8 knots, but can go 13.5 if needed) it takes about 7-8 hours to get home (Tacoma).  We figured we would just stop somewhere along the way for the night then continue on the next morning.

With no particular destination in mind we just kept going.  Just north of Seattle the sun was just setting and we knew we either had to find an anchorage fast or we would be cruising in the dark.  We made the decision to just keep going through the dark all the way to Tacoma.

We have never really done any night passages.  We have taken off super early in the morning when its still dark and stayed out until just after sunset but never when its really the dark of the night.  This night however it was clear and the moon was out so I figured it wouldn’t be much different.  I was wrong.

Luckily we got past Seattle and all the ferries before it got really dark.  With the sun down we had to slow our cruise speed to about 5 knots, turn on our navigation lights (Red and green lights on port and starboard, and one white light on the mast) and really be on the lookout for logs in the water.  I figured the moon would brighten things up a bit but because of our course in relation to the moon it didn’t help at all.  It suddenly got REALLY dark! Our radar was on and should show other boats in the area.  As we ventured into Colvos passage I could see what looked like a couple tug boats towing barges on the radar.  We could just barely make out their lights as we tucked in close to shore to get out of their way.

Julie asked me if I turned on the navigation lights and I said “of course I did”.  As we got closer to the tugs she wanted to make sure so I stuck my head out the door to confirm they were on.  “Not good” I said. “The starboard light is not working”.  To make matters worse we were quickly approaching the tugs in tow and they were on our starboard side.  Without that light they would have a hard time seeing us.

I quickly took the light apart and found the bulb was burned out!  We needed a solution quick, so I told Skylar to grab me some duct tape and a small flashlight, STAT.  I took the green lens off the light fixture, stuck the flashlight in it, turned it on and duck taped everything down.  The green light shined bright once again as we passed the tugs!

As the night went on things got a little less stressful as we got used to the darkness.  We arrived at the Tacoma Yacht club docks at 11:27pm, tied up the boat and quickly went to sleep.  A stressful but fun ending to an awesome trip!

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