Mike & Debbie's Eclipse Tour 2001: Totality

Eclipse Album | Dublin | London | Cairo | Zimbabwe | Totality | Botswana | Johannesburg | Paris


  

Our location for viewing the total eclipse was the Mana Pools in the Zambeze River Valley in Zimbabwe. The GPS gave our location as S1540"13.6' E02936"25.1'.

The morning of the eclipse, we boarded our KingAir 200 and flew into Chikwenya airstrip by the Mana Pools on the Zambeze river. So many people were flying into this spot to see the eclipse, that the government had the strip widened to allow for parking all the planes. This was apparently a major bureaucratic feat, given the regulations regarding such improvements in a national wildlife park.

Chikwenya airstrip    Looking up

We then took a landrover about 3 miles to our viewing site, complete with table, tablecloth, drinks, glasses, and a bottle of champagne. As totality approached, the shadows took on a crescent shape. As the sky got darker, the birds started flying around to look for roosting places.

Our viewing site    Crescent shadows

I managed to snap a few photos of the eclipse using a digital camera and #12 welding glasses. The sky got dark enough to see Jupiter just below and to the left of the sun, but we didn't see any other stars.

              

A minute into totality, Debbie pointed out the sunset...there was a sunset around the whole 360 degrees on the horizon. I will say that this was the shortest 3 minutes of my life. I remembered to grab my binoculars to see the corona, but soon the sun peeked out from the lower left limb of the moon, and the sky started getting brighter.

Soon after, we saw a troop of baboons walk down to the river for a drink, and as we were driving back to the plane, we saw herds of impala and lots of other animals that acted like it was morning instead of afternoon.

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Last updated 04-Jul-2001 Lazy Toad Ranch