Seasonal Attraction—The Sea of Stars!
Suggested length of tour 0.5 Days
Category Suggested Itineraries
Suggested Modes of Transportation Walking
You'll be most likely to see the "sea of stars" in April, May and June, on a moonless night near high tide, when there's a southerly wind.
The sparkling blue light comes from marine microorganisms called dinoflagellates. The light is a defence mechanism. If fish eat dinoflagellates, the light "stays on" in the fish's stomach, in turn making them easy prey…
Several of Kinmen's beaches are good places to experience "the sea of stars", as long as the conditions are right.
Here are the conditions, and why:
1. April, May, early June
This is when the wind generally blows from the south in Kinmen, facilitating a deep ocean current and rise in seawater temperature. The warmer water is what dinoflagellates need to reproduce. The strong current stirs up the oxygen in the sea, triggering the dinoflagellates to emit light.
To check to see if the wind is currently blowing from the south, go to: windy.com website.
2. No moonlight
Since the "sea of stars" is made up of tiny bursts of light, it's easily compromised by stronger light such as the moon or flashlights. Dark conditions provide a stronger contrast, so the blue lights are simply more visible in the dark.
3. High tide
When it's high tide, the dinoflagellates are closer to the coast. Also, when waves hit the shore, their neon-blue light further radiates out.
The best time to arrive at the beach is one to two hours before high tide.
To find out current and upcoming tidal conditions, go to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau website. Click on Fishery, then on Tidal Forecast, and then on Kinmen on the map.
Like the Northern Lights and other natural phenonema, the "sea of stars" doesn't appear on schedule. But here are places in Kinmen where you're most likely to see the "sea of stars": Guan'ao Embankment, Cihu, Shangyi Chenggong Beach, Nanshihu Park, Houhu Seashore Park, Oucuo Beach.
Amongst all the beaches above, Cihu is the most highly recommended because:
*you might be able to see the "sea of stars" from the road;
*there's the added attraction of the night view of Xiamen.
We hope this inspires you to add Kinmen's "sea of stars" to your bucket list!
Don't try to swim in the "sea of stars". Kinmen is surrounded by riptides!
Thanks to local photographer Hsu Shiao Shi (許小西) for all the above photographs. His tips for capturing similar photos are to:
*use a professional camera and tripod;
*set the ISO at 800 to 1,000;
*set the aperture at 2.8;
*set the white balance at over 3,000k for a 30-second exposure.