Total solar eclipse Indonesia – Sulawesi tour

It’s may be a long winter night outside if you are reading this page from Europe or America, but remember that the sun is already up in Indonesia! In less than three months it will be the place of the biggest natural spectacle – the total eclipse of the Sun.
For the Astrosafari team, it is going to be the third eclipse chase, after the successful trips to Kenya and Svalbard. We are pleased to announce available places in a group for the late birds!

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The most recent total solar eclipse in the Pacific – November 2012, near Cairns, Australia. It may look similar now in Indonesia, however the Sun will be more than twice as high in the morning skies.

 

The tour will start from Makassar, Southern Sulawesi and include an overland trip north, towards Lake Poso. The ultimate location for the eclipse chasing expedition will be defined according to the most recent weather forecast for the March 9th – among the potential observing sites there are Palu, Ampana, Luwuk. During the following days we’ll visit the nearby Togian Islands, an archipelago in the Molucca Sea, famous for its world-class sealife & diving. Afterwards, we will reach Manado, North Sulawesi, where the tour ends and you can fly back to Makassar or Jakarta.

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Snapshot from a past Astrosafari trip. Roaming amidst the tea-covered hills of western Kenya, four days prior to the eclipse.

Dates: March 5-17, 2016 (add a day or two to prevent air delays). Individual extensions are possible on both sides.
Hubs: Makassar (start), Manado (end point)
Accommodation: Budget to medium-class, bed&breakfast, twin room sharing (please inquire for single supplement)
Transportation: as on the picture above

Limited availability

Why Indonesia?
The path of the eclipse doesn’t make landfall in any other country this time. So unless you are on a luxury cruise ship in the Pacific, you will have no other choice but to visit this huge equatorial country with thousands of paradise-looking islands. Some travelers may also like the idea of combining this trip with an extended holiday on Bali or Jawa.

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About the weather
Equatorial weather is never stable, and so March isn’t dry season either. Yet, Island of Sulawesi has significantly better chances of sunny weather than the jungle of Sumatra or Kalimantan. While we can never guarantee the weather conditions and this is spoken clearly, still we posess a specific experience in analysing the climate data, predicting the best location under the current conditions and a desire to get as much as possible out of it. You may have a look at the satellite imagery yourself: there still might be a plenty of sun within the rainy season.

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Eclipse path overlayed on the satellite image from March 10, 2015. All the potential viewing sites had mostly clear skies this day

How to reach Makassar?
Formerly known as Udjung Padang, this rapidly growing city is located 1400km east of Indonesian capital, Jakarta and 1800km southeast of Singapore, which is less than 3 hours by air.
There are regular flights from Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which are easy to connect with your international flight. Adventurous persons may also consider a ferry from Jawa Island, but please don’t be late.
For the depature airport, Manado, there are direct flights to Jakarta and Singapore, as well as an option to connect via Makassar.

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Please don’t forget
to take with you a special solar filter or film, those might be very difficult to purchase upon arrival. (For the astronony part). And perhaps your snorkelling/diving equipment as well – obvious, isn’t it? But we had this case while chasing comets / scouting for meteorites in Egypt – good that the Red Sea resorts sell at least something.

Maybe next time?
Sure thing. But it will be USA, more particularly between the Great Plains and the Cascade Range. No coconuts and stuff.