Experiencing a total solar eclipse is one thing. So how about seeing one from a tiny tropical atoll in the South Pacific?
In July 2019 a dramatic total solar eclipse will plunge parts of the southern hemisphere into darkness for a few minutes, just as happened on August 21, 2017 in 14 U.S. states. In 2019, most eclipse-chasers are headed for Chile or Argentina, thinking them the only places that the Path of Totality will cross. From there, a spectacular pre-sunset totality will be visible. However, there is one other choice for land-lubbers.
If you have US$11,000 to spare.
Just announced by Pitcairn Islands Tourism North America is the Pitcairn Islands 2019 Solar Eclipse voyage, a trip that which will begin in Tahiti and depart from Mangareva, French Polynesia on June 25, 2019. Over two weeks the voyage onboard the island’s new supply ship, the MV Bravo Supporter, will call in at some of the world’s most remote island outposts.
[Note: I want to stress that I have no financial relationship whatsoever with Pitcairn Islands Tourism, and merely want to share details of this one-off trip that I think intrepid eclipse-chasers should be aware of]
First, it will call at Pitcairn Island (population 50), famous for being the setting for the Mutiny on the Bounty. Then Henderson Island, which UNESCO describes as ‘the world’s best remaining examples of an elevated coral atoll ecosystem.’
Finally, on July 2, the trip will make land at the coconut palms-covered Oeno Island – 89 miles northwest of Pitcairn Island – for the total solar eclipse. That will occur at 10:23 a.m. and last for 2 minutes 51 seconds. The ship will then return to Mangareva, French Polynesia on July 9, 2019.
The tour will be led by Emeritus Professor Dr. John Hearnshaw of Canterbury University in New Zealand, who works closely with the Aoraki McKenzie Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand.
While in the Pitcairn Islands, guests will go stargazing. The island, which is just 2 miles by a mile wide and surrounded by a vast Marine Protected Area, hopes to soon become a Dark Sky Sanctuary, of which there are only four in the world. The island should be at its very darkest for the Pitcairn Islands 2019 Solar Eclipse voyage since it will happen at the height of the southern hemisphere’s winter when clouds are less frequent.
Since a total solar eclipse is also the very definition of a New Moon, the skies will be dark and moonless, too.
There is only room for 10 passengers total, with a single berth in a twin share cabin costing NZ$16,250 (about US$11,000) during 2018. Here’s the itinerary:
- Transfers, welcome and 2 nights’ accommodation at Manava Suites in Tahiti
- A visit to James Normal Hall Museum & half day Tahiti tour.
- Air Tahiti return flights to Mangareva to board the Bravo Supporter
- A single berth in a twin share cabin on the Bravo Supporter (Mangareva/Pitcairn Islands return). All meals provided
- 3 days on Pitcairn Island, home to the descendants for HMAV Bounty mutineers. All transfers, meals and land-based accommodation
- 2 Pitcairn Island Tours, an apiary visit to sample the world’s purest honey, guided walks and a visit to the Pitcairn Island Museum
- Stargazing from Taro Ground
- A Pitcairn Island Community Dinner and Inaugural Celebration of Pitcairn’s International Dark Sky Sanctuary Status
- A landed visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Henderson Island
- A landed visit to Oeno Island for the Total Solar Eclipse on July 2, 2019
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes
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