2017 Solar Eclipse

By August, 2017Blog

In June 2016, a close friend of ours sent out a group email saying, “There will be a total solar eclipse in August 2017. The eclipse follows a path along the USA, with the closest to Seattle being in Oregon. I suggest we rent a beach house on the Oregon coast beneath the path which will give us almost 2 full minutes of full eclipse. Thoughts?”.

What’s to think about? A house full of good friends, on the beach and we get to see a full eclipse; something that hasn’t happened in 38 years? Absolutely we are in!

Immediately, we find a beach house to rent, in a place called Waldport, Oregon. Since our “nerdy” friends knew about this event before the locals did, we were able to secure a large home on the beach, big enough for the 14 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs, that would be going.

Another year rolls by and as we get closer to the date, murmurs of excitement about the big weekend begins. Folks have already bought their ISO certified eclipse viewing glasses and the only thing we have to worry about now is, “…will we listen to ‘Bad Moon Rising’ or ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’?”, during the extraordinary event.

We pack our bags and make our way to the Oregon beach house. It’s just as awesome as we hoped it would be, with plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and a massive kitchen, all within a short walk to the beach.

The next day, we woke up and had some coffee (a couple guys from Blue Tiger were with us; they provide Tideworks coffee) and did a whole lot of nothing – a perfect start to the trip.

As the afternoon came around, I looked out across the beach and the light was perfect, so I had a crazy idea to make a music video of the Christopher Cross song, “Sailing”, since we were on this kick of listening to 80’s music for the eclipse. I told the group to grab some random objects from the house and head for the beach. We found all sorts of things to bring, including bed sheets, an oversize wine glass, books and a random massager we found. After shooting and editing the video, it was pure gold. We were dying with laughter when we watched it later that evening (If you really want to subject yourself to it, you can check it out on YouTube).

When the morning of the eclipse arrived, the house was surrounded by a blanket of fog. We had to act quickly because the eclipse was starting around 9:15am. We decided we would head north until we found a passage inland to get us away from the fog. We ended up at a spot that was 20 minutes away from the house, along with a handful of locals. Some of our friends were already there when we arrived, said, “It’s starting!”. The hairs on my arms instantly stood up, similar to when you’re walking into an auditorium, knowing that the band you came to see is just beginning their show.

I pulled out my glasses, put them on and looked up. Sure enough, the moon was already taking a bite out of the sun. I couldn’t hardly stand the excitement, but I knew we had a while to go. As the minutes passed, the environment around me began to change. It was subtle at first. A chill in the air arose and the light around us began to change. As the eclipse grew stronger, the light almost made you seasick, as the bright green trees turned to a yellowish blue. It kept getting darker and darker. As time went on, I looked at the ground and saw something amazing. Thousands of particles of light were racing across the ground, as if you were traveling at the speed of light, but standing still. Excitement was building in the group. As I put my glasses back on, people were jumping up and down and wild birds began chirping, almost screeching. “It’s almost there!”, I heard. I take my glasses off again and I look around as the voices around me reach a crescendo of “it’s happening…TOTALITY!!!” Again, I put my glasses back on and the sun is gone! I take them off, I look up and I see the most beautiful exhibition of natural wonder that I’ve ever seen in my life. The sun is completely blocked out by the moon and the most beautiful color of blue and white are burning behind the moon. The suns magnetic fields were dancing across the sky like streamers behind the moon. I was in absolute awe. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing with my naked eyes. As it continued, the sun began to peak out behind the moon and the shape of a diamond ring appeared in the sky.

It was incredible. I still get a bit emotional thinking about it. Seeing something this big changes you. Makes you feel small. Makes you want to do better and amazing things. I can’t believe I got to witness something like this in my lifetime.

You may ask if the trip was worth seeing 90 seconds of totality? Absolutely. We’re already planning our next trip together for the next eclipse – just 7 years away.

3 Comments

  • Pearce Cobarr says:

    This is wonderful. Gave me chills. I wondered what it was like in that path of totality. Now I know. Thanks Mark! And the music video is a hoot!!!

  • Michelle Walcott says:

    Mark, those are awesome photos and a fantastic recounting of the experience! We were in the path of totality too, and I couldn’t believe how transformative the experience was. If anyone doubts how exciting it was, google Sarah Jessica Parker eclipse and play the videos she posted during her eclipse experience.

  • Tom Newman says:

    Thanks for sharing your eclipse experience Mark! It was sunny all day in Panama at MIT but we were thinking of the Tideworks crew and our compatriots in the USA as we enjoyed the images of this spectacular event. Of all the photos I find the shadows to be the most remarkable. Cheers!