The 2002 Eclipse : Accounts

A collection of accounts and photos of the 2002 Eclipse sent to this web site by e-mail

Janet Ha and Dan Huddle

Hi Kryss,

Thanks for sharing your photos! Hope more to come in the future!

We put up some photos of our own also. Though mostly pictures of our group. Please check them out:

Meal in Namibia
The safari group with guide Elton at Rundu (Namibia)

Kryss in the Namib Desert

Jane Curtis

Hello Kryss,

As one of the participants of CampWild's Northern Eclipse Safari I read your account of the eclipse in Botswana and subsequent safari with interest. I quote:

"The second vehicle had the members of my CampWild safari group. They were all looking forward to the eclipse and were happy to leave the navigating to me. Howls of laughter were frequent."

"The third vehicle had another CampWild safari group. They were at the end of the reverse tour and they had camped with us the night before. Some were unhappy at wasting a good wildlife watching day in the middle of nowhere watching some silly eclipse. There was little sound to be heard."

You obviously have excellent hearing as you were in the first vehicle concentrating on your GPS!

Indeed I am quite perplexed as to why you have found it necessary to publish such waspish comments about another group with whom you had spent very little time quite apart from the fact that your statement about the attitude of some of people is categorically untrue.

Like you, my husband and I had travelled to Africa specifically to view the eclipse - that we combined it with a safari is incidental. I think it would be fair to say that was not true of everyone but I can say that, having travelled together for nearly three weeks, I was quite unaware that anyone considered seeing the eclipse a waste of time or was uninterested.

I am also puzzled as to what gave you this idea at all as you appeared to be completely absorbed in your preparations for the eclipse and worrying that all should proceed exactly to your liking. At first I thought you must be an "expert" brought along by Garth but then discovered that you were just another client like the rest of us but had somehow taken control. I have nothing against being offered the chance to benefit from your undoubted knowledge and experience of eclipses but it would have been nice to have been asked - after all we had all paid the same fee to CampWild and had thus equally deserving of having our interests taken into account.

Consider our point of view. Originally our itinerary stated that we would be visiting Chobe National Park after the eclipse before driving to Livingstone. Only a day or so earlier we had learnt that this had been cancelled and instead we would be taken on an evening game ride on Dec 3rd. I hope you will agree that this was a waste of time and for us this came after what you later describe as the "tedious" drive from Nata to Maun. As a result we returned to the campsite for dinner much later than usual and tired. This was our last evening, the finale to a wonderful trip. One would have hoped for a relaxed and convivial evening spent round the campfire to round off the holiday. Instead, a huge mistake on CampWild's part, we are joined by a load of strangers. Your group was embarking on it's adventure and your members interested in getting to know each other. Our thoughts were turning towards home and saying farewell. Elton flitted between the two groups, Garth whom we had not met before was now in charge, the seating arrangement didn't help, and so on. I think it is possible that what you chose to interpret as lack of interest in the eclipse was the realisation amongst our group that our trip was no longer the same - had in fact come to a rather abrupt end with the intrusion of the new arrivals. It is worth noting that, contrary to Garth's instruction in the evening, we didn't have to yield our minivan to the new group until after the eclipse but were allowed to travel together as a group with Elton for one last time. It was a very flat end to what had been an exciting trip and undoubtedly the explanation of the mood in that vehicle.

I was in Kafue National Park for the eclipse in 2001. It was a wonderful experience. We were on the banks of the Kafue River on the central line - a spot which we shared only with two hippos and a few locals. We happened to be a group of compatible people. No-one took control, no-one presumed to give a running commentary to "anyone who would listen". I wish I could have chosen not to listen to you since I found your commentary an intrusion into my private experience. I am not as uninformed as was the impressionable Carolyn apparently. I don't need to hear that it's getting dark because the moon is blocking out the light from the sun or even have a light year explained to me. I'll admit I didn't know which planet was at 5 o'clock but I had my own literature to which I could have referred. I am sure you are entirely well intentioned but in your enthusiasm you overlook that perhaps other might prefer not to be treated like a class of school children. Unless you take the trouble to find out what level of knowledge the people whom you are addressing have, then you will always risk patronising some.

Since I don't know where the site that we had been told that Garth had already found and planned for us to be for viewing the eclipse would have been, I have no idea how much time was gained in the duration of totality by going to the place you chose. However, a factor of which you may be unaware but which had a bearing on the eclipse experience was that one of our party had been booked on an unnecessarily early flight out of Livingstone (I suspect this was a cock up on CampWild's part and also the reason for the cancellation of our scheduled afternoon in Chobe). The further we travelled towards the central line, the further we went from the airport. In the light of this I think we all should have been consulted as to where we should go as it was not actually necessary for all three vehicles to stay together. This was the reason that we packed up almost the instant the sun reappeared although it was only Garth and his passengers who needed to hurry (I learned later that they made it to the airport with less that half an hour to spare). This was why there was no sense of occasion, why the promised tea and coffee never materialised (the seats only came out rather grudgingly after my husband asked), in fact no chance to relax and contemplate on what we had just experienced. For you, the start of an interesting journey. For us, boom! Holiday over.

I've worked out that Carolyn must have been the kind person who at the risk of missing the eclipse came and gave assistance to my vomiting friend. I expect you've worked out who I am. I hope you will see fit to correct the offending paragraph in your account even though sadly you will have given a mistaken impression to those who have already visited your site.

By the way, I thought the pictures you took during the 1999 eclipse in St Agnes were excellent. I also think you managed to spell "prominences" correctly in that write up!

Carolyn McMahon

Dear Kryss,

Just a quick email to let you know that we have received all your news and photos - thankyou.

You must be really busy at work if you have the time to do all that!! Lovely to hear from you tho' and we have also heard from Janet and Dan and Sue and Pete. Not a word from the 2 Mexicans tho but I have to admit I have not had time to contact them either.

Jim and I got back about 3 weeks ago (maybe a bit less) and we seem to have been busy busy busy since we got back. We had another great month after we said good bye to you all but I have to admit it all seems ages ago now. Sue and Pete are back in S Africa now, looking for their property and will be back in Mid March. We plan to meet up with them cos they really only live about 60 miles away and we practically go past them whenever we go to see Newcastle play.

Arsenal are doing OK aren't they?? Jim is still hoping for great things from Newcastle - so what's new!?!

Hope all things are good with you and yours. By the way, I read your 'write up of the Eclipse' and thought it was very good and I will allow you some poetic licence as regards myself and my inane mutterings!! The 'lovely Jane' didn't seem too pleased tho did she?? Silly witch!!

Love and take care, Carolyn (and Jim) xx

Pete and Sue

Dear Kryss,

Do hope you received video record of our safari, sent 4 days ago!

KryssTal Reply: Yes yes yes,

We watched it yesterday night and it brought back lots of nice memories.

My better half said "he likes his squirrels!" The best bits were: the eclipse, the delta in the rain, the mongooses, the rhinos, the sand dunes (I can hear myself in agony in the background), the night under the stars, and the hot springs. You even got a clip of "Malcolm" singing! Oh, and my loud snores!

Thanks again for taking the trouble to send that. I also go the article which I will study and respond to.

I've added a little introduction to my eclipse web page and published most of the emails between myself and CampWild. I'll be getting the eclipse photos professionally placed onto CD on Monday so my the end of next week we may have something to look at.

Again, thanks for the video...

KryssTal Related Pages

The 2002 eclipse main page.

Maps of the path of the 2002 eclipse from Fred Espenak and eclipse details at the observation site.

A photo of the camping safari group.

The excitement during totality is such that not all photos come out as expected.

Accounts of the 2002 eclipse sent to this web site are reproduced here.

A map of the three week safari route.

The story of how Kryss arranged the CampWild camping safari for this eclipse over the internet.

Travel photos from Botswana.

This page features general emails sent to the KryssTal Eclipses web site. Incuded are comments about the web pages (both good and bad) as well as questions.