Eclipse 2017

In the spring of 2012 we were living in Tokyo and had the wonderful opportunity to live in the path of an annular eclipse, otherwise known as a golden ring eclipse.  It was a great experience, even if it was a little cloudy.

This year we are in Jacksonville which was only able to see 90% of this year’s eclipse over the US.  We decided to travel about 10 hours north and a little west to Oconee State Park in the very western part of South Carolina to be “in the path of the totality”.  We enjoyed a part of the Southeast that we had not seen much of, and got very lucky to view the total eclipse where the clouds came and went just in time.

Below are two photos from our 2012 annular eclipse, and five photos to summarize the 2017 total eclipse.  The photos can not capture what an amazing event it was to experience.  To hear the bugs and birds go quiet, the temperature drop, the color of the sunlight change from a warm orange to a bluish white was unique.  The corona bursting from behind the moon was awe inspiring, but the flash of light which signaled the end of the totality was enough to make you gasp in joy.

Just before totality 2012.

The blob in lower right part of the sun is the International Space Station!
Close up!
75% ?
Just prior to totality
Totality with solar filter

p.s.  I was too busy kissing my wife under the eclipse to get the famous ‘diamond ring’ photo when the totality ended.

Dry Tortugas National Park

We did it!  We completed our goal of traveling to 58 of the 59 designated National Parks (sorry American Samoa).  Dry Tortugas, a small island park 70 miles southwest of Key West, in our home state of Florida was set aside as our final park.  This paradisiacal park consists of largely of ocean, coral reefs and seven tiny island.  Garden Key, the largest island, is the most popular and easy to visit.  It is home to historic Fort Jefferson, used in 1800s to protect the Gulf trade route and home to slaves and prisoners in the Civil War. 

Boat or sea plane are only transportation Fort Jefferson and Garden Key.  Andrew and I opted to camp on the island for two nights, which left us with the ferry as our only travel option (sea planes can’t transport camping equipment).  If looking for a little serenity, camping is highly recommended.  During the day, 175 people disembark from the ferry and smaller groups come by plane.  However, after 3 o’clock the boat sails into the horizon, leaving only a few dozen campers behind. 

While Garden Key doesn’t have much for amenities, it offers a peaceful paradise with a small beach for snorkeling, historic architecture to explore, beautiful ocean vistas to reflect upon, and marine wildlife to watch…not to mention an occasional visit from the salt water crocodile who likes to sunbath in this idyllic spot!

Dry Tortugas
Fort Jefferson Panorama
Dry Tortugas
Fort Jefferson
Fort Jefferson
Fort Jefferson
Fort Jefferson Views
Hermit Crab, Dry Tortugas
Starfish, Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas
View from Bush Key
Ramrod Key View

Savannah, GA

Our next major stop due south is Savannah Georgia.  This is one place Andrew and I have never been to, even though we lived only a few hours away for many years.  Recently, we saw that WBCCI SouthEast Camping Unit planned to host a rally in area.  What better way to see a new city than with other Airstream enthusiasts?  So, we signed up.

Arrival day we spent at our campground Red Gate Farms meeting and greeting forty new friends.  On the second day, Andrew and I headed into historic Savannah.  We parked at the Visitor Center parking lot, which is quite large (large enough for several RVs to park with cars) and affordable.  From there, we walked around the historic district looking at charming old architecture and monumental places, such as Flannery O’Connor and Juliette Gordon Low’s childhood homes.  Of course Savannah is the perfect place to pursued one of my favorite tourist activities, visiting cemeteries.  We strolled through the city’s oldest, Colonial Park, and city’s most gothic, Bonaventure.

Our final day in Savannah we joined several people on SE Camping Unit for an adventure in oystering.  One Airstream couple was truly kind to invite us to their property to collect oysters and hosted a lunch.  After a few hours and several full buckets, we headed back to camp for a group oyster roast.

While our trip to the area was short and sweet, it left us with an growing list of places and activities we’d like to come back to see and do.  Also, we look forward to more SECU rally’s in the future.  This event was a great group of people and a lot of fun.

Cathedral of St John the Baptist
Colonial Park Cemetery
Colonial Park Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery
Floras, Bonaventure Cemetery
Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home
Bluffton, SC Views
Oystering, WBCCI SECU Group