Everything has started on 21st July. First we have tried out our cameras with Steven, colleague from United Kingdom. Everything looked perfect. Bright sun disc in the image. We have packed and went to have lunch into nearby restaurant. I think I told you about the bony fish already that was delicious but got stuck in my throat?
We spent all evening planning where to go, since weather forecast was not good. Four of us decided to take a taxi to the bus station and from there to Haning town by bus. We had to leave 6:00 am. After one hour more people have gathered in the planning process and we have got a suggestion to go by a bus hire where we want. We agreed to that, 18 places in the bus. We are supposed to leave 6:30 am.
Dinner in the family business restaurant. Practically it was in somebody’s house, which was part of experience! Also it was very cheap and delicious. We have started with Toufu and ended with prawns. The beer was just 4 RMB. Just insanely cheap!
After dinner we went around West Lake. Stunning views and night city looks amazing with ships crossing the lake. We went around the lake almost and were on our way back to hostel. People were dancing, drinking and singing. Some kissing. So alive city!
We got back to hostel around 1 am.
I got up 5:30 am! My loud alarm on iPod awakes me! I woke up another 3 people in the room at the same time. First, I didn’t know what was happening when the alarm rang and it took me couple of seconds to figure out.
I have packed and waiting for the bust. 6:30 am people start gathering. Everyone is worried because of the cloudy sky and the weather forecast is not good. Some people even panicking if to go if the bus at all. Two of them leave to the bus station in Haining by bus and the rest are waiting for the bust at 7:00 am.
A little bit after 7:00 and bus is not there. I was starting to get nervous. Maybe I should have went to Haining by bus as well. Others still discussing where to go. Some say to go to the west and some to the south. In the end we decide to go to the west based on the cloud patterns on the satellite images.
Finally the bus arrived and we all get on board. Here all the fun started. The drivers started demanding more than 300 RMB, that everyone out of 18 people should be 100 RMB. Well we had no choice so all of us agreed.
We were moving quite slowly in the traffic jams. Once we left the city the partial eclipse have started. Everyone were looking through the windows at the sun through special glasses to see what is happening. The Sun kept disappearing in the clouds, but the sky was much better than in the city.
We went further from the city and I have started taking some pictures of the Sun from the bus, but it was hopeless since the bus was too shaky and too old to go stable. The windows haven’t been cleaned for ten years as well!
Everyone was excited about the eclipse and waiting until the bus will stop. The bus was heading to the west on the highway towards the goal, running form the clouds and chasing the Sun. Suddenly we turned to smaller road towards the village and we saw a lake near the hills and we have decided to stop there.
Everyone put their tripods, mounted cameras on top, put the filters on and started taking the pictures. Some of the people were just gazing through the special glasses. A person from Japan laid down on the big rock and was watching at the sun from there.
The Moon was covering more and more of the Sun and you could see how it was getting dark, but still relatively bright.
At that moment the tank truck came to refill for water and asked us to move aside and started pumping water. It was so loud that it was irritating everyone. The Sun is going to go pinch black soon and all we will hear that noise of the engine. Somebody went there and asked to switch off the engine.
6 min to Total Eclipse and some people already took the filters off and were waiting for the most exciting moment – the ring of the Sun!
I was taking pictures until the last moment and then took off the filter. The other hand I was filming. I should have filmed all the Eclipse process. I managed to take the diamond picture!
It gets completely dark in a few seconds. It wasn’t so dark as in Egypt 4 years ago, bust still quite dark.
The clouds scattered and I can see the Sun! The impressive, long waited moment was here! To be precise 6 minutes of that moment!
Everyone was enjoying it and taking pictures. For a moment I froze and was looking with my bare eyes to the Eclipse and thinking “Another Eclipse. I’ve managed to overcome all obstacles”. I even had time to think what I would want in this life. So peaceful and calm inside. I am having goosebumps all over my body. A very strange feeling inside. All birds went quiet and I can hear the crickets.
All good things come to an end. The Eclipse was going to an end as well. I restarted taking photos again and want to catch diamond after Eclipse and I did!
I had quickly to cover my camera from a sudden flash of the light from the sun. My filter was already damaged, since I’ve made it myself. They were selling more complex filters in here, but mine was way more cheaper and did the trick.
The sky suddenly gets covered in clouds and I was trying to take the partial eclipse pictures, but no hope. Most of us were hungry and some were afraid of the curse so didn’t eat.
The bus went back to hotel. We bargained down with the driver down to 55 RMB instead of 100 RMB each.
In the evening I found out that some of the people who observed together with me also observed in Al Salloum desert in Egypt in 2006, where I was! It is like Eclipses uniting us. Everyone starts talking about next Eclipse in Chile next year while having lunch. I am dreaming about it!
My acquaintances from Sweden started talking how fun it would be to travel South America along the west cost. Such beauties like Machu Picchu and Aztech pyramids. Also mountains and most powerful telescopes in the world! It would be kind of astronomical pilgrimage trip. By the way the Swedish guy is an astronomer, but suspended his studies temporarily.
In the evening we went out to eat and walk around. I ate some jelly fish, which was really delicious! Later I have ordered some strange dish. It was intestine with some vegetables. In the beginning it wasn’t too bad, but later those intestines that I couldn’t chew, like a rubber… I spit out everything. I had enough!
We have walked along the lake.
We were looking for ferry to go that branch. All boats were just going in circles. We almost walked into the other side and we saw amazing fountain show, but we decided not to wait for 30 min until it finished since ewe were looking for the boat.
Since we didn’t get the boat, we decided to hire the train for lazy people, but the didn’t have space in the beginning. In the end they asked for 20 RMB. We went to get a taxi instead. Every taxi we have stopped didn’t know the street of the hostel. In the end we showed in the map. We took as back for 15 RMB. 5 RMB each! Though we had to hire two taxis, since 5 of us couldn’t fit and they refused to take five in one taxi. We took a cab in Sanya for 5 people and it was fine.
We successfully come back to hostel. Everyone were thinking about the food. I couldn’t feel my legs how tired I was.
We were walking through the night market. I felt relaxed and didn’t care about anything. After long search we found where to eat. The prices were alright. The meal was delicious and after that we got back to hotel all exhausted.
I was thinking until 3 am what to do, since I wanted to meet a friend in Beijing, though there are some people from the trip staying in Shanghai as well. Much more fun to go out with good company.
I passed out.