TSE 2010 French Polynesia

Private expedition to Tikahana Motu & Tatakoto Atoll, French Polynesia
July 3rd-July 18th, 2010

Organizer : John Beattie

Joe Cali      Bengt Alfredsson        Michelle Bales        Matthew Poulton     

Emily Love     Bill Speare     Geoff Sims       Bob Pine      Larry Stevens  


Joe Cali's animation of totality from diamond ring to diamond ring

"The Nine" with our host Madeleine Voirin at the airport just before departure.  
Back row (standing) Bill Speare, Michelle Bales, Madeleine Voirin, Emily Love, Bob Pine
Middle Row (sitting) : Larry Stevens, Geoff Sims, Matthew Poulton, Joe Cali
Front row(reclining) : Bengt Alfredsson

Group Report  (Based on flash report sent to SEML on July 14th)

Success on Tatakoto!!

This page contains a general report about the activities of our group.  Also hosted on this 
site are the individual reports or results from each of the participants. By following these
links you will access comprehensive reports in the form of photos, videos, slide shows and 
written reports or accounts.

Joe Cali                 Bengt Alfredsson                   Bill Speare                      Matthew Poulton                       

Geoff Sims                 Emily Love                 Bob Pine        Larry Stevens  &  Michelle Bales  

              " Alone at Last! "
Geoff Sims' stunning wide field totality image.
Joe Cali is the lone figure sitting on the sand spit behind his refractor.
Crystal clear azure waters of a stunning coral lagoon to his left,
 mother natures great spectacle front and centre. 

      We arrived on Tatakoto on July 6th, 5 days ahead of totality.  
      Many of us had taken a few days on Tahiti or Moorea to
      relax and get over jet lag or fatigue before moving on to Tatakoto.  
      From the beginning we engaged with the locals on many levels.  We 
      brought with us, enough eclipse glasses and eye safety educational
      pamphlets (written in French) for every member of the local population. 
      This gesture went over very well and quickly endeared us to the local 

      On Saturday July 10, we surveyed two motus.  Motus are small islands 
      along the south of Tatakoto lagoon.  These motus are privately owned 
      however the two we surveyed belonged to our wonderful  host Madeleine 
      Voirin who kindly gave us permission to use them.  We chose to observe 
      from the lagoon side of Tikahana Motu. 

                               Motus along south of Atoll : photo Joe Cali

Tikahana was much larger than the first motu we surveyed  and had plenty of coconut trees to shield us
from the strong prevailing southerly winds. There was a shed with a large awning for shelter from the rain and a pit
toilet set back among the coconut trees.  On our return on the afternoon of July 10th, we took the boats almost
straight across the lagoon 15 mins and were met by a vehicle rather than taking the boats all the way back to town
down the lagoon - an 80  minute boat trip. 

Different team members had different goals so following the scouting trip, the group decided to divide up on eclipse day. 
Geoff, Emily , Bengt, Bill, Matthew and I decided we would go to the motu.   Bob Pine wanted to stay in town to experience
it with the locals. Larry had a slightly bigger EQ mount and didn't want to carry it in the boat so he and Michelle chose to
stay to the north side of the island on the ocean beach about 2.7km north east of our location. 


We left Tumukuru at 4am on eclipse morning. Madeleine Voirin drove us and our boatmen up to the mooring. She took Larry and 
Michelle to the north beach and Dan McGlaun who hitched a ride to the east end of the main island. As we waited for first light,
it began to rain.  

Emily Love tries to stay dry Photo :  Bengt Alfredsson ......................................... Waiting in the rain . Photo : Geoff Sims

As soon as it was light enough to see, we crossed the lagoon. It was still raining a little. The weather played games with us including
two brief rain showers and lots of cloud as we set up. 

Observers Locations
Location of Joe's scope on the sand spit in front of the shed :  17° 20' 47.5" S    138° 21' 42.3" W

Geoff was further up the beach about 120 metres west of Joe :  17°20'49.80"S     138°21'44.55"W
Bengt was about 30-40m south east of Joe.  Larry and Michelle were 2.75km north of this location and
Bob was back in the town of Tumukuru (see larger scale map above).

But it did clear at the critical time and save two brief periods of thin transparent cloud,  we saw a spectacular
unobstructed eclipse and have captured some great video and still images. Larry and Michele on the north side of the island and Bob
in town had similar experiences and we will send detailed reports and make imagery available in due course.

Lots of prominences were observed in photos and I observed them through my refractor but we think that a particularly bright 
inner corona made them more difficult to detect with the naked eye than other eclipses.  The diamond rings were especially long and
the emerging diamond ring was small and sharp and lasted for perhaps 5-6 seconds.  Right at second contact, some thin cloud drifted
across partly dimming but not obscuring our view of the eclipse. The photographers fired shutters anyway.  After the eclipse we
discovered that four of us had recorded shadow bands projected onto this low cloud.  A first in eclipse photography.  
After totality we donned eclipse glasses and floated on our backs in the crystal clear waters of the coral lagoon watching partial phases 
then we enjoyed some snorkeling along the reef. You really couldn’t want for more.

Photo's above :  
© 2010 Geoff Sims.  
Left :  Our boatmen Christian and Michel enjoy the partial phases through eclipse shades.  
Right: Geoff and Emily watch the closing stages of the eclipse.


Photo's above:  ©2010 Bengt Alfredsson  
Left: Is this the coolest eclipse chasing photo ever? Bengt enjoys the partial eclipse after 3rd contact.
Right :  Who invited Lurch from the Addams family? Actually, it's Matthew Poulton, Brittish eclipse chaser who now lives and works in France.

This private expedition was organized by John Beattie and all group members wish to publically thank John for the exceptional job he 
did. We also wish to thank our incredible host Madeleine Vorin who bent over backwards to help us enjoy our stay.  One of our group 
members, Matthew Poulton speaks fluent French and spent the week translating for us and on occasions translating correspondence from
some tour administrators for the Tatakoto administration. Without his assistance our eye safety project would  not have been nearly as successful. 
Finally a big thank you to the beautiful people of Tatakoto who have made us feel so welcome during our week long stay.

Mauruuru Tatakoto!  We will always remember you.

Kind regards from : -

Joe Cali   Bengt Alfredsson   Matthew Poulton    Geoff Sims   Emily Love   Bob Pine  Larry Stevens   Michelle Bales  
Bill Speare

Wait, there is so much more.............
This was an incredible place to observe an eclipse. To get the complete picture, please take the time
to "see it" through the eyes of each member of the team. We have all presented different aspects
of the eclipse, recorded in different media from video to film to  written verse.

Follow the links below to see images, videos and/or written reports by the individual team members.   

Links to individual observer's reports and photographs
TSE2010 Home Page                           Group report as sent to SEML on July 14th.                                                                    <- YOU ARE  LOOKING AT THIS PAGE.                         

Joe Cali                                             - Images from  70mm f6.2 APO refractor;
                                                         fisheye time lapse of totality using a still camera presented as a flash slide show;
- wide field time-lapse video;
- written account of observations on Tikahana Motu;
- pictures of shadow bands projected on clouds;
                                                         - flash gallery of pictures from the eclipse and Tatakoto  

Bengt Alfredsson                              - Images from Nikkor 180mm f2.8 APO telephoto;
                                                         - flash gallery of general pictures from a great week on Tatakoto. 

Larry Stevens                                   - Images from  90mm f11 Maksutov.  
&  Michelle Bales                                (still under construction - no content yet)

Matthew Poulton                               - Flash gallery of pictures of the atoll, its landscape and people and our group enjoying a fantastic week on Tatakoto 

Geoff Sims                                       - Wide field (21mm) and close up(500mm) stills;
                                                        - two really well-edited movies : -
                                                        - one of the eclipse;
                                                        - one covering the eclipse and the other gives a great overview of our whole week on Tatakoto. 

Emily Love                                       - Emily's impressions of her first total eclipse.  

Bill Speare                                       - Written passage recounting his impressions of his 27th totality.

Bob Pine                                          - Bob's account of the eclipse from the almost deserted town of Tumukuru ( the town on Tatakoto).