First Total Eclipse Cloud Out

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First Total Eclipse Cloud Out

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:49 pm

:-( Liz and I are on the Paul Gauguin cruise ship, from which I successfully observed the 2010 eclipse: http://www.bestsnow.net/TRsFTO/20100711 ... lipse.html

We were not so lucky this time. It's been continuously cloudy ever since we left Tahiti June 26. We reached Pitcairn Island, where descendants of the Bounty mutineers still live, on June 30. The islanders came out to sell souvenirs on our ship, but unlike the 2005 eclipse cruise, passengers were not allowed to go ashore due to swells up to 3 meters and Bounty Bay's marginal harbor.

While at Pitcairn the weather two days ahead showed a large cloud band and the captain had to make a decision then whether to get in front of the clouds to the NE or behind them to the SW, in either case a 500+ nautical mile trip of over 36 hours. Distance wise it was a tossup, but the NE detour would have taken us so far from Tahiti that we would miss at least one port call. So we went SW and arrived this morning to mostly thick cloud the first 15 degrees above the horizon and broken cloud another 15 degrees above that with overhead mostly clear.

The sun would be 21 degrees at totality so last minute maneuvers would be likely, and the ship did in face change direction three times. We were at about 27 degrees south latitude, winter water temp 66 degrees and a lot of humidity. Thus the cooling of the eclipse itself condensed more water vapor rapidly during the last 15 minutes before second contact, resulting in 90+% cloud cover until well past totality. And of course the upper sky gradually cleared as it warmed some later in the morning.

In more tropical locations "eclipse cooling" reduces heat convection and cumulus clouds, but where we were the effect was much the opposite.

Liz and I no longer have unblemished records of 11 and 9 eclipses respectively. Several other people lost longer perfect records:
Travelquest (with whom I bought both Paul Gauguin cruises and Liz the 2008 North Pole eclipse flight) tour company owner Aram Kaprelian had 17.

Bill Kramer (https://www.eclipse-chasers.com) was also at 17 and will go over 1 hour lifetime totality at his next success. I met Bill on the Mediterranean Celebrity Galaxy cruise that included the 2004 transit of Venus. This is his 4th eclipse cruise on the Paul Gauguin.

Cal Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko had 15 successful totalities before this one. He is the astronomy advisor for many travel groups including our Iceland trip in 2015.

David Buchla, who made the elaborate dragon pinhole projection shown in my 2010 TR, also had 100% success in 15 total solar eclipses before this one.

Preliminary reports are that all went well in Chile and Argentina. We would likely have been successful going NE rather than SW, but that's Monday morning quarterbacking. Skiers know better than anyone that you are always at the mercy of the weather and that $#!% can happen.

We are more critical of the failure to land on Pitcairn Island. People must ascend/descend an 18-foot rope ladder from the lowest floor of the ship to the Pitcairn longboat and also time their entry/exit from that boat onto the Pitcairn jetty in the ocean surge. Nonetheless several islanders in our age bracket did this, bringing their crafts to our ship.

This is a 14 -day cruise, and my observation is that the longer the cruise the older the age range of passengers. It's a fascinating group of well traveled people, many of whom started eclipse chasing two decades before we did. Nonetheless some of them are noticeably slowing down, and we don't think the captain wanted to tell people who could and who could not safely make that longboat transfer. It's what Liz and I call "managing to the lowest common denominator," and for such a remote once-in-a-lifetime location, we think those people who were capable should have gone ashore. A rope ladder could have been set up on the pool deck to test people in advance.

About 15 cruise ships call at Pitcairn per year, and most of them only receive the islanders and make no attempt to land passengers, as was the case with my friend Richard on Oceania last year. Anecdotally we heard that only about 10% of cruises land passengers at Pitcairn.

Pitcairn gets a supply ship every 3 months that also carries 12 passengers. Those passengers can stay on Pitcairn for a few days. If you really want to set foot on that island, that's the most likely way to do it.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: First Total Eclipse Cloud Out

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:26 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Preliminary reports are that all went well in Chile and Argentina.

Apparently, it was paydirt there:
https://www.apnews.com/0eb6678b88944c48a925fbe20cef75c7
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Re: First Total Eclipse Cloud Out

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:57 pm

MarcC wrote:It got really dark for a couple of minutes. Lights came on. People had these pinhole cards that projected the image onto the ground. Some animals freaked. Then it was over. Eh.

I can sadly say now that's a very accurate description of a clouded out eclipse, including the "Eh" part.
IMG_2370_Cornfield.JPG

No surprise we have many excellent photographers on board, and Linda Cornfield summed it up well.

After 8 days at sea, we are at least now enjoying French Polynesia. The locals say they have arely seen this much rain during July, which is normally the peak of winter dry season. Today we were at a vanilla plantation on Tahaa. Both last year and this year the flowering of the vanilla plants have been delayed at least two months by abnormal winter rain.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10100
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


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