Eclipse 98

1998 Feb 26

>    Greetings from Aruba.
>     Many cruise ships were chasing the centerline.  The big Carnival
>    "Fascination" shot by at what looked like 50 knots!
Probably more like half that. :) I don't know what its top speed is, but I do know the fascination can do 20 knots without breaking a sweat.

We were on that boat! Along the way, it looked pretty grim...we even got a sprinkle of rain. Shortly before first contact, the Captain got us into a very clear area and we saw the whole thing! From our perspective Aruba looked clouded over, but seemed to clear somewhat at the last minute. We couldn't be sure they saw it. We stopped off at Aruba in the morning to let those go ashore who wanted to be on land (mostly the heavy-weight astrophotographers). When we returned that afternoon most of them were waiting on the dock and it was obvious from all the smiles that they saw it too!

The Fascination was surprisingly stable. I got a bunch of photos using a 400 mm and 1000 mm (C-90) lens (two cameras) and most of the shots came out about as well as would have been the case on land. For the most part there was only a small slow drift that made the long exposures difficult. Dave Harrington got some good shots on board with a 3.5" Questar which were printed as 8x10's and made available to all (the ship has a full-blown photo lab on board). They came out quite well too.

By the way, aside from the eclipse, the Fascination isn't a bad choice for a cruise...I hated to leave. :)

Gary Mitchell; 1998 Mar 2