Last month I had the unforgettable experience of watching a total solar eclipse for the first time in my life. I’d say it is, hands down, the most spectacular natural phenomenon that you can observe with the naked eye.
It’s a sight that many people only get to see in pictures and videos during their lifetimes, unless they happen to live in the right place at the right time or have the wherewithal to travel there.
Given that I married into a family whose favorite pastime is travelling the world to observe solar eclipses, I’d say I lucked out. They’ve been everywhere from the jungles of Zambia to a plane flying over the Arctic ice to watch the moon blot out the sun for just a few minutes at a time. They’re self-proclaimed eclipse chasers, and my father-in-law runs a website and blog dedicated to their hobby.
My in-laws decided that it was time for me to lose my eclipse virginity, so they brought me along on a voyage to the South Pacific.
(For an excellent interactive map of where this eclipse was visible, you can go here.)
Some eclipse chasers elected to go to Australia to view this eclipse from land. Our group had a different idea. Our destination: 26 degrees South, 166 degrees East.
And so we traveled to Fiji, and left on a cruise ship chartered by a bunch of astronomy nerds for the specific purpose of seeing the eclipse at sea. Having not yet seen an eclipse, I was amazed at the lengths that people would go to in order to get good seats to the show. I was certainly looking forward to the trip, but still had no idea how amazing the experience would be.