Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
It is a rare event that I witnessed between two dives, during my trip to Papua Indonesia, at Triton Bay. An eclipse, the meeting of the Sun with the Moon!
Nasa, Indonesia and me
I knew about it before I left. I knew that I was going to be in an area of the planet where the solar eclipse of March 9, 2016 was going to be observable. A video animation from Nasa is better than a long speech :
I landed in Triton Baylocated in the West Papua region of eastern Indonesia, on March 8, the day before.
Triton Bay is located where I put a small red circle on the map below:
We can see that it is just a little too "low" compared to the path of the Moon's shadow on the Earth, corresponding to the total eclipse (purple line). So I knew, before leaving, that the eclipse would only reach 90%, where I would be. But that it would still be perceptible and observable, in the middle of the morning, around 10-10h30...
Presumably, then, just after my very first dive of the day, right during the surface interval!
A strange halo around the sun
And indeed, that day, when we get out of the water, Andi and Edi, my two guides, Lisa, owner of the resort Triton Bay DiversWe notice right away that the light is not quite as usual. And it is only then that I remember that there is an eclipse today! By the way, it was a little lacking in brightness, underwater, at the end of the dive...
Lisa points her finger to the sky, points out a strange halo, like a kind of crown around the sun.
One regains the boat, one is unequipped and one accosts on a small sand creek, for the interval of surface. Lisa fumbles in her things and takes out two protective masks in green plastic, provided with an opaque visor also in plastic, kind of mask of welder cheap. "That's all I could find here, she tells me. Better not to stare at the sun for too long, it's not really suitable, I think."
The masks pass from hand to hand. The boatmenThe guides, Lisa and I, we can't believe it. They are not so bad, these masks. Through, we see well the black disk of the Moon nibbling the white disk of the Sun.
Us, we nibble cookies while drinking tea. It is always day on our small beach, but we feel well that the sun is not as ardent as it should be, at this hour.
The atmosphere is a bit strange and there is always this halo around the sun. It's only through the black visor that you can really see what's going on.
My SLR camera is in its watertight casingFor underwater pictures, with the macro lens... Useless, then. But I have my little compact camera in my bag for souvenir pictures. Quickly, I try to make a picture before it's too late. I stick the lens inside the opaque filter. The result is not great, but I am happy to have managed to immortalize the moment, before the eclipse ends.
There is something a bit magical about being there, alone in the world on this Papua beach, in our wet neoprene suits, watching this cosmic encounter...
This is definitely the first time I've had an eclipse during a surface interval. 😎