Deeply among the Maldivian islands, you can reach a small one called Soneva Fushi. And it is a truly beautiful and peaceful place to stay. Of all possible activities, I liked the most gazing at the night skies. As the island is not much influenced by harmful light pollution and the equator is not far away, you can see the most beautiful parts of the sky, such as the center of the Milky Way and many more. For the following images, Canon 6D IR Baader modified and Samyang 12mm, 14mm, 24mm, and Sigma 50mm were used. Enjoy some views over this magical place. Credit of the images: P. Horálek, L.L Christensen / Soneva Fushi.
Do you know that Soneva Fushi has an observatory? Yes, it is true. While staying on the island, you can visit it and enjoy looking at the celestial objects through a Celestron reflector, a Cassegrain-type telescope. Planets, Moon, and even deep sky objects from both sky hemispheres can make you feel like a small excited child!
Enjoying the night sky over Soneva Fushi is not necessary only from the observatory. While walking around, especially during the low tide, an immersive starry sky can be seen everywhere. In the next image, you can see me–just resting on the beach under the arch of the Milky Way and watching the luminescent plankton flashing blue in the ocean. During the high season period, this bioluminescence can make the ocean fairytaly shining in turquoise light.
In the following view, the Milky Way arches over a crystal clear lagoon while a bluish tint appears even in the sky as a sight of the coming dawn. Also, the zodiacal light and four planets can be seen – bright Jupiter close to the Milky Way bulge, fainter Saturn under it, and Venus-Mercury duo low over the horizon. Just a piece of natural beauty…
Have you ever experienced outside cinema under the stars? Well, that is one of the tops you can enjoy on Soneva Fushi Island. In this view, the Milky Way with bright Jupiter rises above a large screen, on which a movie is projected. Some late-night movie fans enjoy Oliver Stone’s JFK with Kevin Costner portraying attorney Jim Garrison.
Once you get to Soneva Fushi island, you don’t need anything special to discover it. The whole island is roughly 1.5 km long so everywhere you can get just by walking or driving a bike you get as a host. This gave me such appreciable freedom that I could easily look for great spots for stargazing. Not everywhere around the island was the view perfect and beaches available, especially during high tides. But this place touched me the most. It was just an hour before dawn when I reached the Dolphin’s beach in the southeast. Even if the high tide peaked and didn’t allow me to get further from the woody shore, the view itself was everything. Milky Way arched across the sky while bright Venus rose up behind distant clouds with occasional lightning over the horizon.
In this dramatic shot, the (almost) Full Moon is covered by thin #cirrus clouds, producing a pretty remarkable halo circle around it. The colorful circle, however, was visible just for a while–before the wild storm came. Such a beautiful view occurred on April 17th. Used Canon 6D, Samyang 14mm, f3.5, ISO 1000, multiexposure.
Imagine you have a huge private outside bathroom on the tropical night next to a shallow pool, from which high palm trees touch the starry sky with the center of the Milky Way above your heads. Nope, not just imagination, but another fascinating facility of Soneva Fushi island.
And imagination can go even further, once you get alone on a long and empty beach when everybody else sleeps and the Universe above the paradise is like only yours. There are not many other amazing pure moments in nature like this one. In the image below, the long beach of Soneva is completely empty, and in a distance, the observer is just gazing at the Milky Way crossing the Zodiacal Light.
View from bath: Enjoy the virtual reality…
And here is wonderful view to the rising Milky Way from so called Bara Bara restaurant while all around went sleep. You can spot also the Gegenshein high up in the sky, reflections of the stars in the lagoon surface and Carina nebula nearby the Southern Cross.