Vieques is a Caribbean island off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, managed as a Puerto Rican municipality, although two-thirds of the island are currently protected as a national wildlife refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Vieques is known for its secluded beaches and snorkeling, but especially for boat tours of Bioluminescent Bay (or Mosquito Bay), where light-producing microorganisms give the water a blue-green glow. Armando Caussade, an editorial assistant for EarthSky and a regular visitor to Vieques, explains that the island offers “one of the few remaining locations in Puerto Rico where true dark skies with a Bortle rating of 3 or better can still be enjoyed”. He adds that “the entire Puerto Rico mainland is now rated at equal or worse than class 4, meaning that offshore townships like Vieques offer the only viable escape route for local stargazers seeking unpolluted night skies.” Another person stated that Vieques has “not much luminic contamination, and is not pole-lighted like Puerto Rico.”
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!