Number 13 – lucky for some? An Antarctica flight into totality
Some say the number 13 is unlucky. I’m not one to believe in superstition, but I must say there feels as if something has been stopping me from successfully chasing my 13th total solar eclipse.
Travel restrictions stopped me and most of my international eclipse community from chasing totality in December 2020 in Argentina / Chile. Despite renewed optimism for international travel in 2021, the options for traveling to Antarctica for totality in December 2021 remain limited. Even if South American borders remain open to allow travelers to connect with their cruise ships to Antarctica, COVID uncertainties may still prevent some travelers from boarding. Once successfully on board, one then has to hope the high chance of clouds from the remote Weddell Sea will not impede the view. This is why many of my past eclipse tour community and personal chasing friends have opted out of any attempts to chase totality 2021 – there are too many unknowns and potential issues that are outside of our control.
But ….. there is now hope for us Aussie eclipse chasers. For those not in the know, Australians have been prevented from travelling internationally for over a year, and will continue to be restricted until 2022.
Most in the travel industry within Australia have had to ‘pivot’ and find new solutions to work around COVID limitations. Chimu Expeditions are based in Australia, and have an extensive history of offering interesting tours to Antarctica and other worldwide destinations. With COVID restrictions impacting upon Australian travel, they have recently opened up interesting domestic flight options which are of great appeal, including sightseeing flights south to view the Aurora Australis, and over Antarctica. These new options have been extremely popular.
Over the past few months interesting conversations have taken place regarding the possibility and viability of a flight from Australia being able to get into the path of totality. After much plotting and planning, Chimu are now going ahead with their planned charter flight with Qantas. Boom!
The plan is to fly from Melbourne, doing a scenic flight over Antarctica and then intersecting the path of totality to allow those on board to experience totality from above the cloud. To meet COVID requirements, this is a domestic flight, and open to anyone within Australia.
I’m excited beyond belief.
The flight is an incredible opportunity to view two wonders – the immense vastness of the Great White Continent; as well as seeing a total solar eclipse from the plane. It is likely to appeal not just to eclipse chasers, but to the traveling public of Australia who have been cooped up for so long and may decide that this is the perfect post-COVID lockdown experience. Just imagine the vibe on board!
I’m encouraging all chasers to get in early. Expressions of interest and the flight brochure can be viewed via this exclusive eclipse chaser link here: https://forms.gle/1Resa9Cs3XC6Fr796
It may just be that my 13th total solar eclipse chase is going to be the luckiest by far!