This is our fourth trip ‘chasing’ total solar eclipses. Although they are all extraordinary, this one was a once in a lifetime event with the combination of a visit to the North Pole and a total solar eclipse – it could not be missed!
The extraordinary things about the trip were:
- We stood on the ice atop 14,000 feet of seawater at latitude 90 degrees - the North Pole, where everyone and everything in the world were all south of us – even a south wind blows south at that point!
- At the North Pole, the sun circled at about 45 degrees in the sky all day. This created very long shadows.
- We travelled on a Russian nuclear icebreaker from Murmansk to reach the North Pole.
- Despite all the predictions of a high probability of cloud cover – we saw the total eclipse in full sunlight just off the Novaya Zemlya (Nova Island) in the Kara Sea (by co-incidence I am Nova and my daughter is called Kara).
- We uniquely experienced the only darkness of the 182 days of 24 hour daylight – for 2mins 23secs.
- We ‘discovered’ the Russian owned Franz Josef Lands.
- We saw some polar bears – a mother with 2 cubs, being stalked by a male bear.
- We saw several ‘Fogbows’, a weather phenomenon we had not experienced before.
- Of the 14 days at sea we were blessed with a clear blue sky when at the North Pole and a clear patch in the sky to see the eclipse – the other days were cloudy or foggy.