1998 Total Solar Eclipse Trip Log


Thursday, Feb. 19
Flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Rented car and drove to Ceiba Country Inn on the East end of the island. Arrived around 10:00 pm.  Went to Pollo Tropical for a quick bite.

Friday, Feb. 20
Drove to El Yunque National Forest.  The rain forest was full of tree ferns and waterfalls.  Had a picnic lunch.  Spent the day hiking and sightseeing.  In the afternoon, went to Luquillo Beach for a swim in the warm 80+ degree water.  Drove south of Ceiba for dinner. 

Saturday, Feb. 21
Drove around the south end of the island and over the mountains.  Stopped in a small village for lunch of carnitas, white sweet potato, yucca and other local delicacies, some undeterminable.  Went in to old San Juan and visited El Morro, the fort at the entrance to the harbor.  Lots of old cannons and thick walls.  Interesting history.  Dropped off the car and took a cab to the dock.  Boarded the Galaxy and organized the stateroom.  Met everyone in the Stratosphere lounge at 7:30 for cocktails.  Open seating dinner.  Then a show.

Sunday, Feb. 22

Anchored off the Dominican Republic near Catalina Island.  Took the launch to the island and spent the day swimming, snorkeling, sunning and eating from the array of food on the beach. 


Monday, Feb. 23
All day at sea.  Explored the ship. Ate. Sunned. Ate, etc.

Tuesday, Feb. 24
Arrived Barbados in early morning.  Got a taxi and toured the island.  Saw St. James' Church, Harrison's Cave, Andromeda Gardens and had lunch on the eastern side overlooking a spectacular coastline.

Wednesday, Feb. 25
Arrived Martinique in early morning.  Dave took a ferry across the bay to a gorgeous beach for snorkeling and topless lady watching.  Carolyn went in to town for a walking tour.  In afternoon, Dave watched the Ash Wednesday Carnival parade.

Thursday, Feb 26 ECLIPSE DAY
Arrived Antigua in early morning.  Walked around town and up to the Anglican
Church. 

Back on the ship, we left port at 11:00 am and steamed south toward the
center line.  Heavy cloud cover from an approaching front threatened
visibility.
Light rain turning to heavy rain dampened our spirits.

As we headed south, the skies began to clear.  Then we saw the volcano on Montserrat belching smoke to the west.  Skies continued to clear, but when we reached the center line, there was a streak of cloud just to the south.  The ship backed up for a little and got us in the clear.  We had an unobstructed view of totality for the full 3 minutes, 12 seconds.  The corona was gorgeous.  Our position was 16 degrees 38 minutes 16 seconds north and 61 degrees 49 minutes 19 seconds west.  We were just 2 miles from the center line.  Everyone was elated.  There was plenty of deck space on the ship for the 1800 passengers and their tripods, chairs, etc.  We didn't feel at all crowded.

This was Dave's third and Carolyn's second total solar eclipse.  We can't wait for August 11, 1999 to put ourselves in the shadow again.

We headed back to Antigua and picked up the few people who had stayed there.

Friday, Feb. 27
Arrived St. Thomas in early morning.  Dave went snorkeling at Secret Harbor with 9 others.  Carolyn went on a walking tour of town.  We sailed at 6:00 pm.  This was the only night we had heavy seas and some of our group got a little mal-de-mer.

Saturday, Feb 28
Arrived San Juan, Puerto Rico in early morning.  Disembarked after breakfast and headed for the airport.  After a long day of flight delays and cancellations, we arrived home about 11:00 pm, tired but happy that we had such a great trip.

Reflections:
Would like to spend a week on Puerto Rico.  There is lots to see including the cave system and Arecibo.

Would like to spend a few days on Martinique.  It was the most beautiful of the islands as seen from sea, with it's towering volcanic landscape and lush greenery.

We will never see too many total solar eclipses.  Each one has it's unique appearance, site to view it from and group of friends to watch it with.