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Seashore Viewing?


BrownClaw
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My wife and I are taking the VW Camper down to North Cornwall for the New Year, and I'm thinking of taking my SkyWatcher 130 along for the ride. We're hoping to take advantage of the dark skies (weather allowing of course), but I've never actually put a scope up on a beach.

I've got power sorted out for the laptop and the scope, but I'm wondering what the seeing is like over water. I'm assuming that there'd be less thermal distortion, and more wind to wobble the tripod, but I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with nocturnal beach viewing and whether they could fill me in on anything I've not considered. We'll be in the vicinity of Boscastle/Widemouth. Thanks!

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Not on the beach but only 200 yards from the sea. Unfortunately my coast is north facing, you want a south facing coast for good seeing over the water.

Beware of a stiff onshore breeze, the optics will get coated with salt spray.

Beware of incoming tide if observing from the tidal zone ... it can creep up on you when it's dark!

Variable breeze direction (changing from onshore to offshore & back again) results in almost continuous variations in ambient temperature leading to bad thermal currents in the scope and/or severe dewing. A steady breeze, whether onshore or offshore, is preferable.

Here (N coast of N Ireland) an onshore breeze often brings showery weather with rather more cloud than the Met Office forecasts. Conversely with frontal systems bringing a southerly or south westerly air flow the conditions are often better than forecast. Local experience is required to interpret forecasts in all coastal locations!

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Went to Trebarwith (just south of tintagel, boscastle) in my camper fishing last month. Know this coast well. Wanted to take the my scope but was also concerned about the salty air and sand so left it behind. Just as well it was very blowy. If you go down to the beach do watch the tides they come in fast at high tide and its easy to get cut off. Great coastal walks though and the cobweb inn at boscastle is great. Its been good for Bass this year so leave your scope safe at home and take a fishing rod:D.

High tide is quite high at the mo

EasyTide - on-line tidal predictions from the UKHO

Cheers

Edited by Dicky de Builder
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We hired a cottage at Sennen near Penzance a couple of years ago. The cottage was up on the hill over looking the bay. I have to say the views looking out to see were the best i've ever seen, noticebly better than even my visit to Kelling. Seeing constellations in all their glory right down to the sea is an amazing sight. I didn't have a scope with me, just my Revelation 15x70's......it was all i needed!!!!!

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I guess I moved to the N.Wales coast with the MEMORY of "childhood" clear skies. I have not been totally dissapointed. The coastal climate seems to bring a (less than) daily CHANGE of weather. Not all is quite as favourable as early memories suggest? A mile inland, don't do too much observing in sea-ward, Northerly direction. The South (East/West/etc.) is towards hills. :)

Edited by Macavity
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I've done some beach viewing - nicest thing is there's no light pollution over the sea. But it's apt to be windy. Watch out for sand and salt, take a windbreak if you have one. Best if you've got a firm surface to set up on - make use of whatever structures you can find - huts, shelters etc. The view from water's edge will be no better than from a hundred yards back.

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Went to Trebarwith (just south of tintagel, boscastle) in my camper fishing last month. Know this coast well. Wanted to take the my scope but was also concerned about the salty air and sand so left it behind. Just as well it was very blowy. If you go down to the beach do watch the tides they come in fast at high tide and its easy to get cut off. Great coastal walks though and the cobweb inn at boscastle is great. Its been good for Bass this year so leave your scope safe at home and take a fishing rod:D.

High tide is quite high at the mo

EasyTide - on-line tidal predictions from the UKHO

Cheers

Haha, the Cobweb is our 'local' when we're down that way...If I was going to try stargazing from Boscastle I'd probably set up down the harbour wall on the left as you look out to sea...I reckon the light pollution might be pretty low :)

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why not take a short hike up the hill to the south west of the harbour to the little house at the top. You are well above the sea and any flash flooding (!) and if you don't go to the top you can get shelter from some of the wind. I live about 1.5 miles from the east coast and there is nothing between me and the sea except farmland. Being on the beach would be no better, I would keep away from it because of the possibility of all that fine, wind blown sand.

Dennis

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