To be among the relatively few people on Earth to actually stand in the Moon’s shadow to witness a total solar eclipse is a rare and privileged occasion. Over the last 12 years, we at TravelQuest have built our reputation on putting travelers from all around the world in the right place at the right time to experience just such events, regardless of how remote or challenging the destination was to access or work within.
This is your invitation to join TravelQuest on one our most unique journeys ever offered – the total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010 viewed from the remote, seldom visited island of Mangaia in the Cook Islands, July 5-13, 2010.
In addition to visiting Mangaia, our Cook Islands eclipse tour will highlight the scenic beauty of the island of Rarotonga, Capital of the Cook Islands. With its jagged peaks and deep valleys, fertile slopes of red earth and sparkling aquamarine lagoon, Rarotonga was one of the last of the Cook Islands to be visited by European ships. Many South Sea travelers consider it the most picturesque island in the Pacific. We will spend four days in Rarotonga relaxing and exploring its beautiful lagoons, highlands and culture.
Since Mangaia is so off the beaten path, and there are fewer than 600 inhabitants on the entire island, it’s not surprising that we have had more than a few logistical challenges to overcome in the creation of this most unique journey. TravelQuest, working through its local representatives, has met with Mangaia’s traditional leaders, the island mayor, the Government Representative, and the island’s Religious Advisory Group to receive exclusive permission to witness the total solar eclipse from their beautiful island.
The people of Mangaia live a simple life. During our journey, the two days we will spend in Mangaia will be a very cultural experience for TravelQuest and its travelers. Trip participants need to understand and respect the notion that we are visitors to a very small island where Christian traditions run deep and affect all aspects of daily life, and that Mangaia Elders maintain a great deal of respect and authority within their island community.
We will spend two nights on Mangaia – July 10 and eclipse day Sunday, July 11. On the night before the eclipse, we will be treated to a cultural evening at the island school with food, dance, crafts and entertainment. In the early morning hours of eclipse day, our group will assemble at the Mangaia airstrip to observe the eclipse. After the eclipse concludes, we will join residents for a traditional Cook Islands church service, providing a rare look into the islanders’ Christian heritage. After this service we will gather for a meal prepared by the islanders.
Anyone participating on this unique journey must be aware that Mangaia receives very few tourists, and that the local Mangian residents will be working together to welcome so many visitors on their island. As guests, we must be respectful of their traditions and honor the requests of our hosts.
Before or after this amazing Cook Islands eclipse experience, join us for optional add-on programs to regional jewels including Easter Island and Aitutaki.
Of all the eclipses one might witness in their life, this experience on the island of Mangaia, in the Cook Islands, will never again be duplicated. We hope you will join us!