Five Trips for a Spectacular Stargazing Experience
Astronomy is one of the world’s most fascinating sciences and Saturday October 13, 2018, marks this year’s International World Astronomy Day. To celebrate, we’ve pulled together the top five places in the world that we think are the very best for combining sailing and stargazing.
The stars play an important role in sailing. Before the invention of modern technology, tools and processes, the stars were imperative to determine latitude positioning and enable seafaring voyages to be made successfully. So it makes sense to combine your sailing vacation with an unforgettable astronomy experience!
Our Top Five Stargazing Destinations
1. Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Head to Vieques, Puerto Rico for some spectacular stargazing experiences. While it is not regarded as a ‘go to’ place for stargazing, there are a few factors that make it perfect for a spot of celestial sightseeing.
Its position within the Caribbean Sea, coupled with the fact that two-thirds of Vieques is a reserve (so light pollution is minimal), means that your chances of seeing some magnificent starlight and possible planetary action are high. While on a sailing vacation to Puerto Rico, try and head out on a moonless night to increase your chances of spotting some of the well-known constellations.
2. Bora Bora, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Combine astronomical and maritime history on a sailing vacation to Bora Bora. The Polynesians are well regarded as some of the most influential sailors in the world, largely due to their use of the stars, wave patterns and the creation of their very own celestial compass that enabled them to sail east to Hawaii and South America.
Created by a master celestial navigation expert, Nainoa Thompson, the world’s first star compass map divided the sky into quadrants and would focus on the theory that where one star rises, it sets directly opposite, thus creating north and south, east and west. Stargazing is still important to the Polynesians today, and a visit to Bora Bora will enable you to experience what it’s like to use the star compass in its native setting, making for an unforgettable stargazing experience.
3. Stockholm, Sweden
For stargazing trips in Sweden, embark on a sailing vacation to Stockholm, the perfect place to visit if you’re interested in all things astronomy. As well as being able to see some spectacular celestial patterns, it is not unheard of to witness the amazing natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) as far down south as Stockholm if the skies are particularly clear.
In addition to these wonders, take a wander up Observatory Hill and visit the Observatory Museum where Swedish astronomer Pehr Wilhelm kept records of the first astronomical activities sighted from the hill. You can also see model planets and an original precision clock from Molyneux & Cope.
4. Everglades National Park, Florida, USA
Moor at Fort Lauderdale Marina and head to the Everglades to experience some of the best stargazing in the US. Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Everglades National Park has minimal light pollution resulting in clear, twinkling skies full of stars. Take your tent with you and spend a few hours under the stars, perhaps with a bottle of champagne, and wait for a shooting star to pass – a common occurrence in this area.
5. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Some of the most magnificent stargazing experiences can be had from the mountain – a fact that goes without saying due to the height of the peaks making light pollution less invasive and the skies a lot clearer.
With that in mind, head on a sailing vacation to Thailand and for those keen for a real adventure, there are plenty of tours available to climb some of the area’s enormous limestone rock formations. Up here, light pollution is minimal resulting in clear skies and beautiful scenery below you.
The five things you need for a successful stargazing trip
- Binoculars – to see the stars up close
- Compass – to get to your desired stargazing destination
- Constellation map – to help you identify what you can see
- Red light flashlight – to help your eyes stay adjusted to the dark
- Etiquette – remember you may only be doing this for fun, but others may be taking it very seriously and won’t take too kindly to loudness and overzealous behavior
It’s never been easier to combine a yacht charter with a wonderful astronomy experience. If you’d like to book your next sailing vacation, get in touch with us. From bareboat charters, to hiring a skipper, by the cabin and crewed charters, we have sailing vacations for everyone.
Alternatively, for destination inspiration, head on over to our blog.