At 18* 17.6’ South and 149* 29.9’ West
July 12, 2010
Best Image from my camera (note: shadow image to right of sun)
Just a minute or two before totality
Were the 53 miles, about 9 hours to get “there”, 6 hours of heaving to, and fantastic sail back all worth it???? In a word, YES!!! We all agreed that making the effort to get “there” which was to put ourselves into the path of totality was worth it. The eclipse was incredible to witness.
We left from the eastern side of Papeete on Saturday evening just before 5:30 pm. We had a nice sail around the top of the island of Tahiti and part way down the channel between it and Moorea. Once in the lee of Tahiti, the wind shut off and we motored for a couple of hours until the wind filled again. We reached our destination that we figured south of Tahiti by using the Google map tool on Xavier Jubier’s website at about 2:00. (You can go to the website, select the July 11, 2010 Eclipse and then move the cursor to the lat/long listed above into the path of totality to find from where we watched the eclipse). Brad set up the boat for heaving to which is a tactic usually used during stormy weather, but thankfully we have only used it thus far to wait when we reach a destination ahead of schedule and there we drifted for about 6 hours. Brad did his usual radio check in at 7:15 am and boats to the west of our position, said that the eclipse was already starting. We donned our special glasses, waited for the sun to come out from behind a cloud and began to see the moon take a small nibble out of the sun. This continued for about 50 minutes until there was just a thin slice of sun remaining. It was amazing how little of the sun needs to be showing for it to remain daylight. Once the sun went into total eclipse, it got dark and the birds got confused. I stopped taking pictures and actually got a pretty d video of the “diamond ring” that we were told to look for and saw. I also happened to catch the sun coming out of totality in my video clip. After hearing reports back in Papeete and from other boats in the Western Societies of the eclipse being just “sort of cool”, we were additionally glad that we had made the effort to get ourselves within the path of totality. Everyone that we have talked to who also made the effort has agreed with our assessment of it being a very worthwhile experience.
Brad and I were both taken away from Seattle by our parents in February of 1979 to see the total eclipse that roughly followed the path of the Columbia River. Brad’s dad took him to a hill above Ellensburg in Eastern Washington where they sat on the tailgate of their old pick-up truck to watch the eclipse. In my family, we were down at Long Beach, Washington and went to the mouth of the Columbia River and stood just in front of the lighthouse at Cape Disappointment. I remember all the city lights coming on in Astoria, Oregon which is the city across the river as the eclipse reach totality. These memories that our parents gave us were sparked when we first heard about the possibility of seeing the eclipse in Tahiti from a cruiser email group when we were back in Mexico. We decided that if it was possible, we would really like to pass the opportunity for this experience on to Bryce and Austin. We are so thankful to Frank Taylor, the astronomer Tahina who encouraged us to “chase” the total eclipse as it would be really close to Tahiti. As a side note, he, as an Arizona University astronomy student, had also viewed the same eclipse that Brad and I watched in Washington back in 1979. We met him in Moorea where he gave a quick overview of the eclipse at Brad’s birthday party.
The French Government would be so proud of the Capaz Crew all wearing their safety glasses to view the Eclipse