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Old 05-02-2019, 19:53   #1
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Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

I am planning some contingencies for crossing the Great Bahamas Banks next month, probably entering at North Rock—>Mackie Shoal—>NW channel. Either the beginning or end will likely be at night. Is it reasonable to go through the NW channel at night not having navigated through the channel before? In general, I trust the waypoints given in Explorer Chartbooks and the Pavlidis cruising guides. Anyone seen if the Northwest Channel Light was working recently? Anyone now how bad the night traffic is through the Channel or any other concerns? Thank you in advance.
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Old 05-02-2019, 22:13   #2
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

It's really quite easy. It's relatively deep water (for the Bahamas) the routes are clear. Traffic is minimal. Radar and AIS make traffic management very easy.

We did it at night first time, and no issues with our 6'6" draft. We met one island freighter on the way, had a brief radio discussion for passing arrangements and that was that. Dropped anchor in the AM off Chub Cay for a break before heading over to New Providence.

I seem to be the only one on the planet who thinks that Explorer charts are way, way, WAY over-hyped. I have used Explorer, C-Map, Navionics, and TranSas charts in the Bahamas.

Transas wins, hands down for updated accuracy, and completeness. Navionics second, and C-Map/Explorer run third. Don't get me wrong, they ALL have problems, NONE are perfect, and all are useful. Use more than one if you can. NV brand paper charts have been my go-to for planning and backup in all of the Caribbean and USA east coast.

All have the essentially the same recommended routes. If you follow the recommended route suitable for your draft, and you pay attention to those places they call out as ENA (Eyeball Navigation Area) you'll do fine with any of them.
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Old 05-02-2019, 22:16   #3
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

Light is never operational, explorer waypoint and you will be fine at night.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:24   #4
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mabel.


See Waypoints #5 & #14:
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:46   #5
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

Thanks everyone. All that was very helpful.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:24   #6
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

We went through at midnight using garmin CP. Don’t be fooled by the flashing red that seem close by. It’s the radio tower on Chubb
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Old 08-02-2019, 17:14   #7
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

I would not run Northwest Channel at night, there are still a lot of un-charted coral heads out there. Here is an article about a family who found one recently:

https://www.sailblogs.com/member/wyv...derings/439856
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Old 12-02-2019, 14:02   #8
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

The prudent mariner who relies upon their GPS unit while doing night time transits shall also read FAA NOTAMS

https://theaviationist.com/2019/02/0...utheast-coast/
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Old 12-02-2019, 14:32   #9
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfin View Post
I would not run Northwest Channel at night, there are still a lot of un-charted coral heads out there. Here is an article about a family who found one recently:

https://www.sailblogs.com/member/wyv...derings/439856
We met them in georgetown last year. The reef they hit was not uncharted they strayed a little to far north. That's a well traveled area stick to the path and your good day or night.
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Old 12-02-2019, 14:52   #10
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Re: Northwest Channel/Northest Channel Light

When we first started we never the Bank at night. However with the advent of GPS and Explorer Charts we run it at night every trip. You have to keep your eyes open at NW Channel light as all the Bank traffic converges here. Sometimes there'd be over a dozen boats coming and going at NWC light. Keep a sharp eye out for mail boats (local cargo vessels) making the turn. And "light" is a misnomer here, seldom lit usually extinguished. But they did replace the sunken light with a nice high steel pile a few years ago.
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