2016 solar eclipse

In this shot you can see something amazing that is only possible to see the few seconds before and after totality – when the sun is but a tiny point or line of light – shadow lines! You can see them as small lines in the lower half of the image where the sun is visible and leaning to the right.

For this eclipse I found it very hard to come across a great location and a way of going there. As this eclipse is mostly over the Pacific, many operators have opted for huge cruise ships which to me is the most depressing way to experience the eclipse as I will miss so many encounters with all the other aspects of life here in the tropics. It is simply a crowded and floating high-rise building where nature is obtainable only via flocks of people let off in designated areas with no option for personal interests that go beyond that of the masses.

2016 solar eclipse

I also looked for cities with nearby national parks, but the only option I found was a no go as well as all the guides were hired by the eclipse operators. So what to do – I wondered for a while if this was an eclipse I should miss. But then I came across Total Discoveries that offered chartered boats in the Raja Ampat islands off the coast of Sorong.

That was an excellent decision! The eclipse was amazing, and the location was incredibly beautiful – I could not have asked for a better outcome! That said – getting to the location was game of cat and mouse as the weather pattern was in no way predictable or stable. Slim, our on board astrophysicist contacted another boat from Total Discoveries that was in its entirety populated by NASA employees and thus had the best possible equipment for an accurate forecast. Their input resulted in a change of course, now to the south west and a much longer boat ride in the open and unprotected Pacific.

2016 solar eclipse
It’s over!

We left Wayag the night before with blue skies and a wonderful sunset. At the eclipse location the next day we were greeted by rain, and then some. But as in China in 2009 (Tianhuangping reservoir, Zhejiang), the sky opened up and only light and transparent low clouds were left during the entire eclipse! It was as if someone waived a magic wand! The Nasa guys were spot on, but opted for 3 more seconds of totality, while we went on shore to have an even more amazing experience, in my opinion!

Last updated on 13 March 2024