2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Monday, April 8, 2024 – at sea 150 nmi SW of Mazatlan, Mexico

Total Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera 10-day cruise aboard Discovery Princess – April 3-13, 2024

I am up at 6:30AM, but wait an hour before going for breakfast in the Lido buffet. The pastry chefs have baked some lovely eclipse cookies with a shortbread base, icing and then a chocolate and white top depicting a partially eclipsed Sun. Although busy, there is lots of room and available tables, so we have no issues getting food and cappuccino.

We setup our eclipse gear on my balcony and wait an hour for the event to start just after 9:45AM with First Contact. It is hot out on the balcony, so we’re careful to stay hydrated and duck inside the stateroom to cool off now and then. The temperature moderates as the Sun is eclipsed and afterwards. We have just over 4 minutes of Totality, but as always this time flies by quickly. My friend struggles a bit with his camera gear during totality, but unlike 2017, I have no issues with my Canon R5 camera and 100-500mm telephoto lens, recording some outstanding detail on the Sun as the eclipse progresses. We also make good use of our binoculars equipped with solar filters to observe the partially eclipsed Sun, and then take the filters off to fully appreciate the spectacle before us during totality!

I have my GoPro 12 Hero Black action camera attached to the deck rail, taking a time lapse video throughout the event. My Kestrel 5500 weather station records a temperature drop of 10ºC over the course of the eclipse from 35ºC down to 24.7ºC. I make these temperature readings in memory of Jim Low, who I shared my first solar eclipse with in the middle of the Libyan Sahara Desert back in 2006.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Certificate for Joseph Carr from Princess, signed by Captain Tony Ruggero

After Totality ends, we go to the coffee bar on Deck 5 to have some lunch, picking up some beer from the nearby pub. I have a mug of a lovely Newcastle Brown Ale draft with my quiche and a piece of pound cake for dessert. My friend has a deli sandwich and another eclipse cookie along with his Heineken bottled beer. We both agree this is a nice alternative to the buffet. We then retreat to our respective staterooms to get cleaned up and recover from the heat and stress of the morning’s eclipse observing.

We go to Sabbatini’s Trattoria at 7:30PM for dinner this evening. It’s a good restaurant, however my veal parmigiana is gooey instead of being crisp, and it tastes very bland. My deep fried shrimp and calamari starter is very good, as is the tiramisu dessert. My friend’s choices are outstanding, so I think I just ordered the wrong Secondi.


Day at sea – Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas

Thursday, April 4, 2024 – sailing down Mexico’s Baja California coast

Total Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera 10-day cruise aboard Discovery Princess – April 3-13, 2024

Today’s Captain’s Report tells us the ship is midway down the Baja California coast making 19 kts. We will arrive tomorrow after lunch in Cabo San Lucas, staying overnight anchored in the bay.

I meet up with another astronomy buddy from Victoria, who has already found his spot on an upper deck where he plans to observe the eclipse from. I’m expecting to observe the eclipse from my balcony, since the eclipse day plan shared yesterday states that my side of the ship will be facing south – what luck! I walk further around the Sky Deck, discovering the Wake View pool, which offers a vista out over the ocean with the ship’s wake on a beautiful clear and sunny day (see banner image above).

Joe Carr, John McDonald, Bill Weir solar observing the Sun from the ship's deck

Benghazi to Eclipse Camp

2006 Total Solar Eclipse – Libya

March 28, 2006 – Tuesday – Benghazi to Eclipse Camp

We leave at 8AM this morning on our bus headed to the Eclipse Camp, south of Jalu. After stopping to pick up some water and box lunches, we finally get underway at 9:30am. We make several pit stops along the way, including a lunch stop on the roadside. We see some sheep and camels being herded beside the road.

Location of Eclipse Camp south of Jalu
Location of Eclipse Camp south of Jalu

On the way down to the eclipse camp, we go through multiple security check points. Security has been high throughout this trip – we have Tourist Police aboard our bus at all times, as well as our Numidia Tours guide and our driver. The Libyans are taking no chances of any “tourist incidents” happening for this Solar Eclipse event!

We have arrived at the eclipse camp! My GPS says we are at N28° 13′ 48″ E21° 30′ 44″. This camp is amazing:

  • Hundreds of tents in each of three large sites, which were setup from scratch in the middle of the Libyan Sahara Desert especially for the foreign guests by Libyan scouts.
  • Commissary/dining hall
  • Souvenir and coffee shops
  • Showers and flush toilet latrines – running water delivered by a steady stream of tanker trucks
  • Wireless Internet and telephones – electricity from a generator running 24 hrs/day

This evening the organizers in the dining hall lose control of the crowd of 500-1,000 who show up for dinner around 8pm. Libyans are crashing the line, pushing the tourists back – a bad scene. Most of my group eat dinner around 9pm. Needless to say, we are exceedingly hungry by then! I find a small stuffed camel in one of the shops, which will make a nice gift for someone special when I return home.

There are perhaps 500-1,000 people at our camp, and I can see at least two other camps nearby. Everyone is excited to finally be at our destination – the reason for our long journey. After some supper, most of us adjourn to a coffee shop setup in the desert, and shoot the breeze for awhile, then retire to our tents. We are all tired after being in the bus and on the road for 8 hours, so sleeping in the desert is a fitting end to the day.