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Old 16-03-2011, 15:48   #1
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Miami night time approach

Thinking of sailing down to Miami, most likely would be a night time arrival, anybody familiar with the area, in particular, how is the ambient light around Fisher Island? Is it enough to navigate?
Tom
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Old 16-03-2011, 16:21   #2
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Re: Miami night time approach

Yes.
See ➥ Miami - Government Cut at Night
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Old 16-03-2011, 17:58   #3
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Re: Miami night time approach

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Thx, but it doesn't answer the question about the light around fisher is.
Tom
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Old 16-03-2011, 18:17   #4
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Re: Miami night time approach

There's plenty of light. In fact, too much. From sea you will have a difficult time picking up the leading marks. It migh be wise to adjust your schedule to make a day light arrival the first time. It really isn't that difficult old son.

FWIW...
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Old 16-03-2011, 18:42   #5
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Re: Miami night time approach

Agreed a first time daylight approach is best but there is plenty of light. So much light could be a bit confusing the first time. The channel is well marked and you won't miss Fischer Island due to lack of light.
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Old 16-03-2011, 19:44   #6
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Re: Miami night time approach

There probably are a lot of small boats around the Westerly approaches to the cut and in it at night right now. Its the height of the shrimp run and it can get crowded.
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Old 16-03-2011, 19:59   #7
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Re: Miami night time approach

I will just say that I would never, EVER, recommend entering Government Cut on a warm weekend afternoon. You put your life in the hands of of hundreds of completely clueless people in big power boats. And I have entered at night. With the right conditions, wind, tide, etc., it's not bad at all, but daylight for the first time in would be preferred.
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Old 16-03-2011, 20:12   #8
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Re: Miami night time approach

I've done govt cut at daylight, I've done St.Johns/Palm Beach at night. So I know what to expect, but I've never tried to navigate around fisher island at night, don't have radar, so I need enough ambient light to navigate into the anchorage.
Tom
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Old 16-03-2011, 21:12   #9
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Re: Miami night time approach

As someone said, too much light. The whole area is lit up with street lights, house lights, neon signs, etc. The problem is more identifying the lights on the channel markers against the background of lights.

Enough ambient light to see land and water 24/7 but I would keep a bright, hand held spot light to light up the markers.
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:37   #10
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Re: Miami night time approach

Teejay, I have entered Government Cut many times without any problems day or night. Everything is well lit and well marked. Fischer Island is well lit and no problem. I would, however, take heed of a few suggestions:1.)Always call the Miami Coast Pilot so you can time your entrance when a cruise ship is not coming or going, 2.) Be careful when a strong easterly is blowing against an outgoing tide as the channel gets really rough and 3.)weather and traffic permitting, do a couple of circles outside the channel to be certain of your entrance if you feel a bit insecure or are not 100% positive. A previous post mentioned the considerable boat traffic on the weekends and holidays. If that is the case, time your entrance so you can avoid the circus and carefully dodge the innumerable power mosquitoes that buzz aimlesssly in and out of the channel. That is why we usually enter Miami through the Biscayne Channel and/or flats--very little traffic (except for large sportfish boats), well marked, and less frenetic. We prefer the channel that goes along the south end of Key Biscayne and if you enter at night, you can drop your hook in a good holding gravel and sand bottom, 12-14 feet of water in the lee of Key Biscayne or follow the channel around to the SW tip of Key Biscayne to Nixon's anchorage. Good luck and good sailing, Ron
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Old 18-03-2011, 11:34   #11
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Re: Miami night time approach

Stay within a mile of the shorelliine runniing with it. You will be forced into the channel, and it will be clear to see by by runnning N & S.......i2f
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Old 18-03-2011, 14:40   #12
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Re: Miami night time approach

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. That is why we usually enter Miami through the Biscayne Channel and/or flats--very little traffic (except for large sportfish boats), well marked, and less frenetic. We prefer the channel that goes along the south end of Key Biscayne and if you enter at night, you can drop your hook in a good holding gravel and sand bottom, 12-14 feet of water in the lee of Key Biscayne or follow the channel around to the SW tip of Key Biscayne to Nixon's anchorage. Good luck and good sailing, Ron
Thks, I thought about the channel south of Key Biscayne, but with East winds I figure that be dangerous and looks like a lot of 6' charted depths, how many uncharted shallow spots are there?
Tom
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:02   #13
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Re: Miami night time approach

The entry is easy, but where are you heading once you get there? The ICW can be confusing and it is very easy to run aground as there are huge shallows to the south of the docks and one right at the junction of the entry, the Miami river and the ICW.

I live there and have done the entry dozens of times but I still concentrate very hard at night.

While Biscayne Channel may be a little harder, as 'Rognvald' writes it is easy to drop the hook off Key Biscayne opposite 'No Name Harbor'.
However, leave lots of lights on or one of the power boaters will run you down.

I draw almost 8 ft and while I touch occasionally in Biscayne Channel I still use it frequently. But never if there is a big sea running from the east.
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Old 18-03-2011, 16:32   #14
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Re: Miami night time approach

All good advice here, but I will add that it is hard to figure out what you are looking at with all the lights in the area. To add to the confusion there are sometimes small completely unlit boats (aluminum skiffs and such) fishing in the channel, tied to the sea buoys, or even anchored right in the middle of the channel. One time I had a big argument with one of these little skiffs who was anchored right in the middle of the shipping channel completely oblivious to everyone trying to get around him, including a large cruise ship that had to really squeeze over to the sea buoy to get by. He wouldn't move. The last I saw of him the pilot boat was hovering near by trying to get him to move. Bottom line, keep a good look out!
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Old 19-03-2011, 07:26   #15
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Re: Miami night time approach

I would strongly advise against entering Miami's Government Cut at night if you have not done it before a few times - unless - you are only going to anchor behind (south of) Fisher Island.
- - The entrance is fine and well marked and ambient lighting is very good. But if you are heading for Biscayne Bay it is a different story and you can get into trouble real quick. Once you turn left to go along the south side of Dodge Island - the container ship docks - you get to the infamous Marker "57" turn. Half the time the marker is gone and replaced by a floating buoy. Add in the extreme amount of background lighting from shore that makes finding the markers very difficult and you can end up aground real quick.
- - The channel south down to Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge is also narrow and can be confusing if you have never done it before. You could - probably - do the whole thing at 1 or 2 knots or minimum steerage speed so that if you run aground you can back off again - but why?
- - Simply time your departure so that your arrival is midday or early afternoon to avoid the cruise ship departures around 5 in the afternoon. Once you have done it a couple of times in the daylight then doing it at night is a piece of cake with the only hazards the fabulous beauty of the lighting of the city at night.
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