After a successful outreach event at Bela Bela (Forever Resorts) earlier in the year we decided to visit the popular holiday spot during school holidays. Schools in the province broke up on the 20th September and we confirmed with the resort’s entertainment manager that Saturday 21st would be an ideal time for some Astronomy for the Public outreach. Tuesday 24th (Heritage Day) is also a public holiday, making this a long weekend as well.
The weather forecast did not look promising but clear skies greeted us on Saturday 21st September as we left Louis Trichardt heading south to Bela Bela. The closer we got to the popular resort the more cloudy it became but as long as the rain stayed away we could still setup and hand out astronomy related information.
The resort was packed to capacity and with hordes of day visitors arriving it promised to be a busy outreach venue. We were setup by 12pm and I had to dash into town to try and find a fitment centre that could help as the front right brakes seemed to be binding. Unfortunately the town’s Supa Quick, HQ centres were already closed so I headed back to find Sarah and James busy at the stand handing out the various material that’s on offer. The weather had not improved but every now and again the Sun would peep out from behind the clouds giving us a brief glimpses of the solar disk with a couple of sunspots. The astronomy stand was well advertised by Hardus, the resorts entertainment manager, as was the astronomy evening scheduled to start at 6pm. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated and the evening’s stargazing event had to be cancelled due to overcast and windy conditions. Sarah and I decided that if conditions improved the following day we would stay on but the cold front was now well established and with the threat of rain we headed back to Louis Trichardt and were welcomed with mist rain falling on the much needed bushveldt.