This was our first cruise. I’d found out about the total eclipse of the sun in July of 1991, the one that they still call “the big one” due to its length. My first thought was to go to Hawaii, since the eclipse cut a swath across one of the islands. My husband then said that if he was going to go chasing off to see this, he’d just as soon try a cruise to see it on. I checked and found that the Carnival Jubilee was going to be in Mazatlan, right in the path, on eclipse day. So, I booked us on it!
It was several months out, maybe as much as a year, so we had quite a long time to wait. In the due course of time, we found ourselves on that ship in Mazatlan. Which was completely clouded over! There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth going on aboard the ship, since it was packed with eclipse chasers. I think the ship’s officers dithered around a bit, then they announced that they were going to take the ship back out to sea and try and find an opening in the clouds. They said that anybody who wanted to could get off in Mazatlan and take their chances. Some people did get off, which was probably a big mistake since it was still clouded over when the ship pulled back into port later that day.
The ship sailed out of port, and they started trying to find a big enough clear spot. I spent some anxious hours, hoping that I’d get to see the eclipse and also hoping that if I didn’t get to see it I wouldn’t make a fool of myself by throwing a temper tantrum all over the promenade deck. That was a real possibility!
So, we sailed around through sunshine, clouds and rain looking for that clear spot. We saw a water spout in the distance – a tornado over the ocean. I fussed a lot.
In the end, they did find a clear spot and I was able to enjoy that spectacular eclipse. Unbelievable! Everything going dark. The planets and stars showing.
When it was over, and it was pretty much back to full daylight, a pod of dolphins popped up next to the ship, jumping up and down out of the water like they were trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Which they probably were!
I feel very, very lucky to have seen this, and I hope to see the North America eclipse in 2017. We plan on going North to somewhere in its path. Tentative idea now is Idaho, but this may change. We’ll be camping for this one; nobody will be putting chocolates on our pillows.