Total Solar Eclipse and Adventure on Bangka Island, Indonesia

Eighty-degree sea water gently washed over my feet as I stood in the hot pre-dawn air. The smooth, white sand was populated with eclipse viewers from all over Bangka Island. Most of the locals missed the eclipse in this same place in 1983 because their president at the time, being superstitious, directed everyone to stay indoors for their own safety. This time the population was going to make up for it. All around me people were passing the time smoking, chatting, milling about. Children were running and laughing and playing, unaware of the spectacular sight they were there to behold. The excitement was palpable.

The pre-dawn sky on eclipse day.

I had landed on Bangka Island, Indonesia, two days before. I was meeting up with an old astronomy friend from Southern California. Joel was leading a group of eclipse chasers on a tour of Indonesia, culminating at this most wondrous of Mother Nature’s gifts. I was staying at the same accommodations, the gorgeous Soll Marina, a large conference hotel away from the bustle of town. Continue reading