One thing I'd take exception to, however, is making the run down the Elizabeth River to Hospital Point/Mile 0... I'd caution anyone who had never been in there before about the difficulty that stretch can pose at night, the backlighting from shore lights seems to get worse every year... It seems I'm always going in there late at night, and unless the visibility is perfect (not to mention, no issues with dodgers/enclosures, etc) it can still be a real challenge to pick up the nav aids, or discern the lights of tugs/barges from the background on shore...
For those going into Norfolk for the first time at night - especially at the end of such a passage where a bit of fatigue might come into play - I'd suggest considering laying up in a spot like Willoughby Bay, and waiting for daylight to make the ride down to Mile 0...
It's always about choices isn't it? Sometimes it is hard to remember what I was thinking in my early days sailing. Hard as I try to put myself in the position of someone making one of their first night entries it just isn't real anymore.
We're definitely on the same page on dodgers, enclosures, stacks of electronics, and other obstructions to vision.
There are often shoaling issues in the channel to Willoughby Bay. Given any kind of choice I avoid the potential to run aground, especially at the end of a passage. It's embarrassing to move a boat hundreds of miles and get stuck just a couple of miles from your destination. *grin* I'm a pretty calm guy but running aground and having to work off or call Towboat/US at 3am when I was expecting to be asleep in a few minutes makes me ... testy.
My own choice, buried in the list of options in my earlier post, is Vinings Landing Marina in Little Creek. It's right inside the bridge/tunnel, it's a forgiving entry, the lights from the amphib base make the creek a snap, and tying up at the fuel dock is trivial. I'm not the only delivery guy that lands there so the staff are used to waking us up when they show up in the morning. Fuel up, water up, wash the salt off, and move along. Jon - if you don't have the names and numbers there I'll send them to you.