Day 2/Part 3–
When it was time to start watching the eclipse, we set up our chairs on a tiny cliff overlooking the beach. There were people everywhere, but surprisingly, it didn’t feel over crowded. The American family was off to our right and slightly behind us, a small group youngish people were on the left, and a husband and wife were manning a camera off to our right. Everyone else was spread out on the beach or sitting on other little cliffs down the edge of the shoreline.
As we waited, we watched the American kid throwing a rock at something that he found on the beach. Pierre and I recognized it as the dead pelican that we had spotted earlier.
The boy’s father finally figured out what it was and yelled, “Son, don’t touch it. It’s a dead animal.”
The kid kept pummeling it with rocks and yelled back, “No, it’s a prehistoric creature!”
Right about at this time, I noticed that a young guy next to me had gotten into a mummy-type sleeping bag and that he was smoking a joint.
The distinctive smell of pot wafted past me. The American father must have noticed it as well, because he sprinted toward the guy, leaving his son who was still trying to decapitate the dead bird, and yelled, “Hey, man—do you mind if I have some?”
The guy in the sleeping bag grinned at him and held out his joint. The dad excitedly yelled back to his wife, “Honey, honey—hurry up, I’ll blow it in your mouth!”
His wife ran over to join him, and sure enough, I watched him blow smoke into her mouth. As they giggled and laughed, I glanced over and saw that his son was still mutilating the bird carcass. The dad noticed as well, and yelled, “Honey—I told you to stop. We can’t touch dead animals.”
The kid yelled back, “I told you…it’s an ancient creature!”
The eclipse had started, and as the American family was fooling around with a dead pelican and getting high, everyone else was ‘oohing and aahing’ over the solar spectacle happening above us. The moon was starting to cover the sun, making it look like a Pacman! Chomp!
We looked through our glasses every few minutes, and each time was thrilling. People were yelling and cheering, and the atmosphere felt electrified by the excitement around us.
Chomp! Chomp! With each “bite,” the sun appeared to be getting smaller and smaller.
A man in a motorized para glider buzzed over the beach. Everyone below waved and cheered for him.
As the time of the full eclipse drew nearer, the air became cool and still. The light dimmed, almost like someone was slowly pushing the dimmer switch on a lamp.
When we could finally take our glasses off, everyone cheered, but that soon changed to awed silence, sprinkled now and then with, “Wow’s,” and other such utterances.
I became so overwhelmed with emotion that I started to cry as I watched in wonder and amazement. It’s probably the most beautiful display of nature that I’ve ever witnessed. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, so we had a perfect view. The ring of the sun around the moon lasted for slightly over two minutes. Although that was beautiful, what probably touched me the most was when it became dark and everything took on a mystical appearance. The water was shimmery, and the light hit the mountains in dark and light patches.
The whole experience was incredible, and now I understand why people are ‘hooked’ after seeing a full solar eclipse for the first time. This was my first experience and Pierre’s second. The man we met from England had seen three before this one, and the guy he was traveling with had seen nineteen! Oh yes—we better stock up on viewing glasses, because I already want to see another one…it was incredible.