Eclipse Cruise Destination: South Pacific
In our never-ending search for the best total solar eclipse experiences, TravelQuest journeys to the ends of the Earth. And if the eclipse track crosses over the 70 percent of our planet that’s covered in water, we’ll even charter a small, nimble ship that can get us exactly where we need to be: not that there’s ever just one viewing spot along the path of the Moon’s shadow. There will always be other places to observe the classic features of tot ...Show more
This was the inspiration behind our December 2020 adventure, South Pacific Cruise to Totality. Imagine waking before dawn and strolling out on deck just as the first glow of the Sun appears along the ocean’s distant edge. Above the glow, Venus is blazing away, heralding Sol’s imminent arrival. What you see next, though, is not the usual flaming disc but the oddest sunrise you may ever witness – a brilliant orb, emerging from the sea, with a bite taken out of it. Soon the rising Sun is in full eclipse, a fiery red ring around a disc of solid black. Totality is fleeting, just over half a minute, as you stand in silence – feeling the ship roll gently in the vast expanse of sea while you gaze, awe-struck, into the vast expanse of the heavens – the purity of those moments will stay with you forever.
At the heart of this once-in-a-lifetime trip is a simple concept: explore the crystal lagoons and jungle-covered peaks of remote Polynesian archipelagos, keeping one eye on the heavens while experiencing a spectacular taste of paradise right here on Earth.
On December 5, 2020, join us as we set sail for 15 days aboard our privately chartered cruise ship, the 330-passenger M/S Paul Gauguin – named for the post-Impressionist painter who traveled to French Polynesia at the turn of the 20th century and was inspired to create some of his most renowned masterpieces. In the same spirit of creative curiosity, you and a small group of TravelQuest guests will visit the Marquesas Islands and many of Gauguin’s other favorite haunts, discovering the rich culture and warm hospitality that have led so many travelers since to conclude that Polynesia offers the ultimate escape from the ordinary. And then on December 14, you’ll rise with the Sun to witness a spectacle that few will ever see – all the more memorable for being so fleeting.
What to expect on eclipse day 2020
by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson
During the sunrise total solar eclipse on December 14, 2020, the Moon’s shadow will mainly pass over the Pacific Ocean – including a point north of the untamed beauty of the Marquesas Islands. The Sun will actually rise with a broad notch missing from its disk, as the partial phasesof the eclipse will have begun 20 minutes before the solar disk crests the horizon. Just over 33 minutes later, the Moon will cover the whole of the solar surface and totality will begin. As darkness descends, Mercury will hang just 3 degrees above the Sun while brilliant Venus shines from a 30 degrees altitude. The eclipse is a short one—about 38 seconds—just enough time to complete photographs and enjoy a view of this spectacle and its planetary attendants.
Short eclipses showcase the Sun’s chromosphere by giving the dark Moon a brilliant red border that stretches most of the way around the lunar limb. The chromosphere is the region where the Sun feeds energy into the corona—a region that is still a bit of a mystery. Longer eclipses show the chromosphere for only a few seconds at the start and end of totality, but for this one, it should be visible for the whole of the 38 seconds.
Low-level eclipses also come with a marvelous shadow stretching from the Sun – an ephemeral connection between the observer and the solar system. Time-lapse video will show the black circle of the eclipsed Sun moving across the width of the shadow during totality, a spectacle that is not seen at eclipses where the Sun is higher in the sky.
One of the big questions about low-altitude eclipses is the effect of clouds along the horizon. The Pacific viewing site for this eclipse has been chosen to take advantage of the low cloudiness associated with the South Pacific anticyclone (high-pressure area) that lingers just north of the shadow track. It’s a good spot: analysis of the past 13 years of satellite data shows that in 8 of them the eclipse would have been visible from the viewing site, and three more would require a movement of 10 miles or thereabouts. Only two of the thirteen had extensive cloudiness that would probably have clouded out the spectacle.
Don’t Miss the Boat!
This is your opportunity to experience the ultimate in relaxation while discovering pristine tropical sanctuaries, fascinating Polynesian culture and the elusive beauty of a sunrise total eclipse at sea.
Our private cruise is bound to sell out, so make your stateroom selection today – and join us for an unforgettable adventure.Show less