a pleasure-hunting monkey.
The god of the underworld, Batara Kala, is swallowing the sun and the moon. As he is also known as the god of time and destruction, he made the sun and the moon disappeared and caused the eclipse. It brought the darkness during the daylight.
That is the legend of the sun eclipse that becomes the folklore, passing by the generations in Indonesia.
I went to Ternate island earlier this month to see the eclipse. Watching the total solar eclipse has become my life goal since the news about this March’s total eclise spreaded since 2014.
Total solar eclipse moved from the Indian Ocean in South Pagai Island area in West Sumatra and passed through a number of provinces and ends at the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii USA. Indonesian archipelago becomes the witness of two solar eclipses in the last 50 years. The last one was appeared on the Indonesia’s sky back in 1983. Seeing the total solar eclipse in 2016 was obviously became a once in a life time moment I might see along my life.
As a fan of astronomy, I prepared myself to make a plan to see the eclipse like other solar eclipse chasers from around the world. Eventhough it is the second time of the last 50 years, the same route of this year’s eclipse will only be repeated in the next 350 years.
It was my first experience as a solar eclipse chaser. I fully realized this first experience is not a casual holiday. My first consideration to choose the place for the eclipse watching was the longest duration for the total eclipse moment. I know Luwuk and some parts of Halmahera and Papua had the longest duration and the latest time for the total since I knew the Ternate island area would get the second longest total eclipse duration, which took around 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
In Ternate, people gathered at the city square around the Kedaton, the Ternate royal family residence, and along the Falajawa beach and along the coastal line at Tapak Toboko area where those we can see the panoramic of the Tidore and Maitara islands accros the sea.
I was more exciting to Batu Angus site in Kulaga area than the city square or other spots around the downtown area. It was not only because it is located from Mount Gamalama feet to the eastern coastal line of the island, but also the ground contour of the site.
Batu Angus site is a cliff surrounded by the black rocks which are the dried lavas left from the mountain eruption 400 years ago. The structures of the stones made me able to choose my own spot to put up my tripod and my camera to capture the eclipse.
The eclipse process in Ternate began from 8.30 a.m in Eastern Indonesia time area. The hype surrounding the watching spots got risen. Some people came with their eclipse sunglasses while others brought the negative films to protect their eyes.
It didn’t take longer time other solar eclipse hunters came to Batu Angus area after the sun risen. They brought their sophisticated cameras and lenses. We were gathered and shared our stories. Some of my new friends I met at Batu Angus said they had seen the total eclipse several times.
After one hour of the partial solar eclipse, the process was getting close to the total solar eclipse phase. I remember how it was not only drive the sunshine away, but also the warm of the coastal air.
The weather was getting cooler as my view around me got dimmed. It was around 9.50 a.m but it feels like 6.30 p.m. I saw the sea surface went silverish as the moon perfectly moved between the sun and the earth.
I heard an Islamic phrase not far from me, around Batu Angus site. People praise the Creator followed by the sounds of several metal bars hit and made the noise. Dozens of local children made that noise. It was dolo-dolo, a traditional ritual from their ancestors held during the total eclipse. Later I knew, the pregnant ladies and the children were forbidden to be out of their houses to avoid the havoc.
The total solar eclipse is a glowing silver ring hanging in the sky. I only took few seconds to capture the moment. Then I let my self to enjoy the moment and saw the surroundings.
I am lucky. I feel blessed. I feel luckier as I knew that we were watching the same eclipse even in the different places. Please remember this total solar eclipse in your life. Remember every shot from my camera is dedicated to you.