They say the sleep is better in a fresh air. This seems to be not the case this time. I wake up several times during the night. The history keeps silent on whether that’s the noise of the Molucca sea waves or the firm sleeping place which is not letting me sleep till the moment when the others are also waking up. It’s rather the firm sleeping place as I have foresightedly left the mattress at home…
Here one has to explain that we set up the base camp on the previous evening on the sea side – some under the mosquito net, some in the tent like me, some just in sleeping bag.
So I am looking through the net of the tent entrance and see that the Sun has risen quite above the horizon. Nothing has been missed and the camp is waking up bit by bit, our travellers’ group is gathering the sleeping accessories and preparing for the Big Event. Special glasses get distributed, cameras with light filters get set up and everyone reserves the nicest square meters of the beach for themselves.
Our activities are also observed by several Indonesians which arrived on the beach in the morning with their mopeds. They are, however, shyly sitting in the bush and our contact does not happen.
At 7:30 IT starts, first as a slight gap in the Sun’s puck that looks like someone would have bitten a round biscuit. Later it becomes similar to the protagonist of the classical computer game Pacman till around 8:44 we await a moment when for 3 minutes the Sun gets lost from the firmament. No, in fact it is not getting lost anywhere, just the puck of the Moon gets in the front of it with its broad back and in these latitudes, where we have come to not in the most easiest way, a strange twilight sets in for a moment. With the diminishing of the Sun’s light it gets noticeably colder. There were some clouds in the sky since the early morning which, when the eclipse was approaching, tried to cover the Sun, but they didn’t have courage to spoil the most important moment.
Meanwhile the first Indonesian group gets replaced by some other young generation Sun observers who have the special glasses as well in their inventory.
To describe the eclipse itself nothing suitable comes to the mind. It is indescribable by words.
When the brightness of the Sun comes back a photo of the united Latvia-Sweden eclipse observers’ group is made. The last joy in the water on this coast and we get ready for going back. After the Indonesian boys have shown us their tricks in the water, they climb palms and get us more than ten coconuts for which they get a small but fair fee. The coconut water turns out to be very refreshing.
At 10:30 we start driving with an aim to reach Ampana during this day – a place from where it is planned for us to go to Togean islands. Since it is a hot day, the crews crave for another swim. A half-suitable place gets found on the seaside and the heated bodies refresh in the warm sea.
We continue our trip for a bit more than an hour and then our bright and important day is, however, darkened by a “cloud” – we get a phone call from the crew of the third car with a message that their car has broken down and does not move. Since we are quite some stretch of the road in front of them, we return to evaluate the situation. All the signs are showing that the car has got left without a clutch which has not managed to withstand the stress of the several days in mountain serpentines. There are no tools and solutions initially, but we must do something. In the closest village using the “rich knowledge of Indonesian language” a durable rope gets bought and we pull the defective car to the Salodik village. The previously acquired new acquaintance Ipin gets called who promises to come and help.
Of course, this turn of events changes our plan considerably.
After a long discussion and involvement of several Indonesian “specialists” the solution is as follows – we trust the car to the locals together with a set sum of the many-zeroes money which would be necessary for its repair and also leaving in this car a big part of our belongings so everyone could move to the two other cars (luckily they are seven-seaters after all). In this way we would continue our road to Ampana, but the car after the repair would be delivered there by the locals and we would get it back after returning from the Togean islands. The risk, as a matter of course, rather great, but we don’t have any other acceptable options at 11pm.
Then the most complicated starts as after the already long day we still decide to go to Ampana where we arrive in the ferry terminal at 3:45am. The previously planned schedules have failed so we without pleasure choose to enjoy the not-so-comfortable hotel named “car” till the departure of the ferry.