(USNS John Glenn last night, WSB photo at twilight, from a distance)
ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: For the past few weeks, people with west-facing views from West Seattle have been noticing a new and VERY bright light from the Manchester vicinity (map). The WSB Forums even had a thread going for a while, and that led to the theory that the lights were coming from, or related to, a certain ship that’s been at the Manchester Naval Fuel Depot about that long, and finally confirmed it last night by taking a ride on the Seattle-Bremerton state ferry. The ship is the USNS John Glenn, a mobile landing platform that was just dedicated a few months ago. Here’s a US Navy file photo:
We observed the lights on the port (left) side of its superstructure, rising. Today, a spokesperson for Manchester told WSB earlier today that lighting is required when fuel/fluid operations are under way at night. What we’re still trying to find out is – if this is even available as public information – how long the USNS John Glenn, which apparently does not yet have a homeport, will be there. But since we’re still getting inquiries about this, we didn’t want to wait any longer to share the answer of WHAT the lights are.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The John Glenn headed out this morning and MarineTraffic.com now shows it almost to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, heading west.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The JG is back at Manchester, bright lights and all, tonight. (Photo above, taken this afternoon by Gary Jones.)
LATE SUNDAY NIGHT: The John Glenn left Manchester at noon today and did NOT come back – we discovered this after noticing the westward view devoid of the bright lights. As of midnight, it was out of the Strait of JdF and heading south past the Washington seacoast.