Saturday night under way on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WMEC-905) is traditionally "morale night." The night of 30 October 1999 was particularly special; it was Halloween eve and included a costume contest with a prize drawing. Then it was back to work as the crew entered the third week of a District One Operation Atlantic Venture fisheries patrol.
It was business as usual on the bridge, keeping a vigilant watch as the Spencer made her way along a track that would carry her to Closed Area 2 off the coast of New England. As many watch standers can attest, more often than not the watch drags by uneventfully until the last hour or so. That was exactly the case on the Halloween midwatch.