I admit I was having eclipse exhaustion months before the big day. Living in Charleston, we were well aware for over a year that we would be seeing the last views of Eclipse 2017. The buzz about hotels and restaurants booking up soon turned to anxiety-inducing news casts predicting bridge closures, lack of cell service, and an influx of up to two million people (or as locals like to say, “That’s 25 Clemson games coming to town, y’all!”) into our tiny little peninsula. Luckily all went smoothly and there was cell service aplenty and not nearly the crazy crowds predicted.
There were almost endless options being touted to experience the eclipse, from kayak adventures, painting classes, bowling parties and even a ‘Sip the Eclipse’ cocktail hour. We chose to experience the celestial event on a boat because, why the hell not? The Carolina Girl is a rental yacht docked across the harbor from downtown Charleston and they were offering an open bar, fully-catered three-hour cruise to experience the eclipse on the water. Best of all, part of the proceeds from the tickets went to Darkness to Light, an organization that has been dedicated to ending child sexual abuse since its founding in 2000.
We set sail at 1:30 pm, giving us an hour to find the perfect spot to watch the moon block the suns rays at approximately 2:30. Spirits were high despite the cloud cover (I think the open bar helped), and our Captain Bob introduced himself and quickly let us know we would not be motoring into the harbor since that is where about 500 other boats decided to venture. Instead, we headed away from town up the Wappoo Creek and into the Stono River away from the crowds and into a quiet, calm area of water where our only other neighbors were a couple of kayakers and some egrets.
As the eclipse started to occur, the clouds began to part and we all put on our glasses and watched the magic unfold. The color of the sky went from azure blue to a tumultuous mix of oranges and yellows. The cicadas started to sing and the guests began to cheer as we experienced totality. Of course, Captain Bob had to play “Total Eclipse of the Heart” repeatedly, but that was to be expected. We were all excited to see ‘The Diamond Ring‘ and marinate in the magic for as long as we could until the shadow began to move, the sky began to brighten, and the moment we had been waiting for passed. I don’t smoke, but I kind of wanted a cigarette after such an awe inducing moment. It was just that good.
With the big moment behind us, Captain Bob cranked the motor and we headed back to the marina going against the hundreds of other boats who had headed to the harbor. I am not going to lie, we are already plotting where to view the next eclipse to reach America on April 8, 2024. No bowling involved.