Well we had to get up at the crack of insanity again this morning. To be exact, I had to get up at 2:30am to be on the bus by 3:30. But I didn’t mind. We had a purpose. We were going to see one of the most spectacular astronomical events…a total eclipse of the sun. This eclipse was happening just after sunrise about 6 degrees high in the sky. It would go fast, about 2 minutes of totality. It could be a dud because of clouds, or it could be breathtaking.
But we arrived well before sunrise to a beach facing in just the right direction and were welcomed by throngs of local people already in place for this highly publicized event on the local media. At first it was just a little depressing. The cloud cover looked against us and to have traveled all this way and not see the eclipse would be a major disappointment. But…We missed the “first bite,” but lo and behold,in just a few minutes the clouds parted and we were awarded with a spectacular show! I’ve never been able to get pictures of an eclipse since I refuse to lug around all the equipment necessary to do so. But I did get a couple of keepers this time.
The diamond ring was gorgeous and it is truly hair-raising to be able to look at the corona without filters. It’s the fastest two minutes of your lifetime. It’s magical and impossible to explain. One woman in our group had never experienced a total solar eclipse before. She was simply stunned.
The number of local people that showed up for the event amazed everyone from local authorities to our local tour organizers. Therefore, we really had no choice to sit on the beach afterwards…for hours…until the buses could move an inch. Fortunately for my camera, it provided an excellent opportunity to get some pictures of people experiencing this event for probably the only time in there lives. Everyone was in a great mood and I must have had my picture taken hundreds of times and gave nearly as many autographs.
Take a look at these photos and maybe you too can get a sense of the “place” here on Bangka Island just off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia for Gerhana Matahari Total.