January 18, 2010

Annular Solar Eclipse Trip January 15th-2010

Members of ABAA were all set to witness one of the rare celestial events of recent times, Annular Solar Eclipse on January 15th 2010. After much planning and discussion it was decided to view the eclipse from Dhanushkodi, an uninhabited fishing community village near the Rameshwaram. As I always wanted to go for a long drive with my Maruti ALTO, this was a perfect time to fulfill my desire to go for a long drive. It was decided that only four of us will be travelling so that every body will have a comfortable journey.

Preperations for my ALTO: As we wanted to travel comfortablly and economically I had to get a roof luggage carrier fixed for my ALTO. A POLO luggage carrier, Roots horns for highway driving and extra bumper lights were fixed.

January 13th 2010: Naveen (me), Nagaraj, Srinivas and Bharath were the final list of occupents in my ALTO. At 3:00 PM I met Nagaraj in front of Staples on Madiwala ring road and at 3:45 PM we met Srinivasa and Bharath who had come to silk board junction. As this was the first time that any one of us were using a luggage carrier we took a little bit of extra time to fasten our luggage on top of my ALTO. at 4:30 PM we left silk board towards Hosur. As all of us knew how to drive, our plan was to drive all night turn by turn and reach Rameshwaram by early moring sunrise. First was my turn to drive as I am an effecient driver by Day and a very slow driver by night.

NH 7 is an absolute bliss, very well laid and maintained, you will hardly find difficulty in driving on this road. As all of us had started after working straight the office every one was hungry, After a brief stop over at hosur for Masala roast and nice soft Idli's we started again. I drove for about 200 Kms nearing Salem and it was time for me to hand over the wheel for the next driver as the darkness was setting in and my speed was also decreasing. Nagaraj took over the wheel we had a brief stop over at a Dhaba near Naamakal.

As I am a HAM Radio operator I logged into Evening TCD VHF Net conducted by VU2PCP OM Paneer. On the Vhf net we had many radio stations checking in from South india an from the location from where we were heading to. I got the first hand information on the Weather report from the Local hams around Rameshwaram area. Other hams from Bangalore who were able to access the repeater also helped me to get the necessary contact, One of the was VU2POP OM Prathap (POP). He also gave valuable information about the Weather forcast.

It was time for the third driver to take over the wheel, Nag covered until Karur and Seena took over the wheel. Now the passengers seena and Bharath took over as Drivers and Navigator respectively, and We both (Naveen & Nag) sat behind for much needed sleep. Seena covered until Ramanathapuram where we stopped for Chai.
Photo credit Nagaraj.R
Bharath took over the wheel from Ramanathapuram until Rameshwaram. We reached Ramashwaram at 5:45 AM just the righ time for Sunrise. We stopped over Pambam bridge to get the glimse for the first sun rays. It was a fantastic location for shooting sunrise added to that we were served hot masala chai on the location.

Around 8:00 AM we entered Rameshwaram town but for our hard luck local police had closed all the main streets since Pondy and Tamilnadu Governer's visit leadingn to temple and to our Hotel. Politations and people who are in power are such a Pain in the neck. We had to wade through gullies to reach our Hotel.

January 14th 2010: After a quick holy bath of 22 sacerad well at Rameshwaram temple and breakfast we headed towards Dhanuskodi.We hired a Mahindra 4X4 as a normal front driven car like mine is not suited to dive in sea sand. It took around 45 minutes of drive on the sea shore to reach the end point of Dhanuskodi. I was informed that it is just around 11 ~ 13 Kms to Srilanka from this point. Dhanuskodi is very prestene and very sceinc we spent about 2 hours in the location clicking photos and collecting sea shells. On the way back we visited Kodanda Rama Temple, belived to be the place where Lord Rama stayed before venturing in to Lanka. Our visit to Dhanuskodi was a reconisence trip for the next day's big event, while coming back we decided that first we will fix the viweing location spot near Dhanush kodi check post which was plan A else we would set up our viewing location 1.5 kms before the check post near the fishermans cove which was plan B.

Back on main land Rameshwaram all our team member started to arrive one by one. Prakash and family, Dilip & Chandra' s group & Mani's group. We met Dilip's group at the sunset point before the Pambam bridge. After taking few sunset picture's and chit chatting we headed inside the town. As there was a huge rush Dilip's hotel room was given to someone else which caused lot of hardship. Finally Dilip's group were able to find a room in different hotel which was bit expensive.
Ther a flurry of activity in the hotel room for the next days event, All the telescopes were assembled and the camera battery's were charged for the big event. As Rameshwaram vitnessed excodus of visitors both Ayappa devotees and Eclipse viewers there was an absolute breakdown in handling the crowed. Hotels were unable to serve all the visitors and made them to wait them for long time.
Dinner was an absolute disaster as no body cared to ask or server the meal properly.

January 15th 2010: Butterflies in the stomach and eyes constantly checking out for the sky conditions. We first visited Rameshwaram's main Shiva temple and prayed for good skies. we had ample time to get going as the Eclipse was around 11:30 AM. After a heavy breakfast we started towards Dhanuskodi. As expected the Dhanuskodi check post location was crowded and it was time to excecute plan B.
we too a U turn and came back to our second location. There was flurry of activity at the location for setting up the telescopes and attaching camera's to the telecopes. There were plenty of on lookers and tourists who also had a glimse through the telecopes and camera's. Nagraj arranged Tea for all of us by striking a deal with fishermen, Tea and lot of thing to eat kept on coming all courtesy Geeta, Seema, Kavitha & Vasanthi.

Camera's kept on clicking and viedo camera's kept on shooting. Along with the pictures ABAA members were conducting some scientific experiments, Jayanth was plotting the intensity of lignt during the solar eclipse and Vijaykumar was checking out the temperature variation.

After the last contact all the ABAA members started to leave for sight seeing towards Kanyakumari, Madurai. All together it was a fantastic event that we witnessed.

Our next destination was Kanyakumari.

Below are assorted pics from the event.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pics....i never knew u wer bloggin....very secretive..hmmm