~ Boarding P&O Pacific Explorer at Fremantle WA on 16th April 2023 ~
The ship provided plenty of excellent astronomy presentations from members of the Australian Society of Australia (ASA) but what we really wanted to see would happen on the morning of the 20th April if the weather stayed nice and clear. Kelly Beatty from Sky & Telescope was working with the Captain to find us a safe anchorage so the ship would be stable enough for all on board to view and take pictures of the event.
The Captain did a wonderful job of positioning the ship and anchored in the Exmouth Gulf just off the mainland, being on a moving surface did present its own set of problems, but excuse the pun…we were all in the same boat!
Cheesy brought along his telescope to image the event and spend days worrying about how he was going to take his images, but in the end he got some amazing photos of the eclipse. Belinda and Warren also set up on the ships deck not far away from me and got some awesome images.
You never know what’s going to happen on the day, I was all set up with my gear on the back deck and was really getting carried away with the atmosphere of the event. I left my setup a few times to go exploring to see what other people were doing, what I saw were so many families waiting patiently and excitingly to see the eclipse with all sorts of equipment to capture some pictures.
I came across sunlight breaking through tiny holes in the banisters of the ship that produced little crescent Suns on the deck, I also saw this weird shimmering effect in front of me just before totality and was so thrilled to be seeing what’s known as shadow bands, I took a small movie as it’s quite rare to capture, Yay!
I got back to my camera just a few minutes before totality and that’s when somebody called out look at the Moons shadow path!!! I looked behind me and saw this shadow race over us and across the water, it was so fast, when I looked back in front of me and up…there was this incredible diamond ring flash on the limb of the Sun it was just AMAZING! I was bedazzled by it and that’s when it happened…I looked down at my viewfinder and it was black, I thought I had knocked the camera and could not believe I could not see the Sun. (Oh dear!)
I picked up my little Canon G7X camera and took a picture and then another incredible diamond ring flashed and that was it, it was all over…only 58 seconds, but ‘Oh Boy’ it was just awesome, and I didn’t get any pictures of totality except the one with my point and shoot Canon camera!!!
I could not believe it, what I’d done in all the excitement was to forget to remove the solar filter off the lens :-o Cheesy was so excited he got the whole of totality through his telescope and Belinda got some awesome pictures as well, everyone was just so excited. Lynn a past member of SAS was also on board and she captured a lovely picture too.
I was very conflicted, on one hand I was so upset with myself, but on the other hand I saw and experienced the whole event with my eyes, but I can tell you 58 seconds goes so fast and it was worth every second of it :-)
Please see a photomontage of the solar event; I took photos every 10 minutes of the partials right up until the end of the eclipse. I’ve put in my one and only picture of totality that I took with the Canon point and shoot camera. My friends (including Tel) have offered to give me one of there images of totality which was very kind of them, but I’ve gone with my own image to let me know that sometimes things are just the way they are…. are we going overseas for the 2024 eclipse next year, you bet we are!
Please see a slideshow of my pictures from our adventure, would we go on board a cruise ship again for an eclipse…Yes, we definitely would, as it’s lots of fun and the atmosphere was just awesome!