Eclipse and Cruise Program aboard the Paul Gauguin
featuring Dr. Alex Filippenko, Dr. Rick Fienberg, and Mark Eddowes

Overview

A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s most dramatic phenomena, when the sun, moon, and earth are perfectly aligned and darkness falls over the earth during daylight hours. We invite you to experience this awesome event aboard the luxurious Paul Gauguin on the turquoise seas of the South Pacific. Our ship gives us the maximum flexibility to maneuver to the ideal viewing position on Eclipse Day and offers every comfort as we journey among Polynesia’s magnificent isles and coral lagoons. Astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD, one of UC Berkeley’s most popular professors, Rick Fienberg, PhD, the American Astronomical Society's Press Officer and Director of Communications, and Polynesian cultural anthropologist Mark Eddowes will accompany us to share their expert knowledge. This will be Dr. Filippenko's 12th eclipse program with us!

Featured Guest Experts

Alex Filippenko, PhD, professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley, is a leading authority on supernovae, black holes, galaxies, and cosmology, and is actively working with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck telescopes. His team’s discovery of “antigravity” was named “Top Science Breakthrough of 1998” by Science magazine. He has coauthored nearly 560 publications and an award-winning textbook, and has produced video courses with The Teaching Company. Dr. Filippenko has been voted “Best Professor” by the UC Berkeley student body an extraordinary nine times.

Rick Fienberg, PhD, is the American Astronomical Society’s Press Officer and Director of Communications. He previously spent 22 years at Sky & Telescope magazine, the last eight as Editor in Chief. He’s a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Astronomical Union has named asteroid 9983 Rickfienberg in his honor. Rick has done research on the aurora borealis, asteroids, planetary nebulas, active galaxies, and the center of the Milky Way. An inveterate traveler and eclipse-chaser, he has visited all seven continents and the North and South Poles. Eclipse 2019 will be his 14th voyage to totality.

Mark Eddowes is an acknowledged authority and researcher in the field of Polynesian anthropology, and in 2006 was honored with the title of National Geographic Expert in the archaeology of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. He came to Tahiti in 1988 as a graduate student in anthropology, and spent the following years studying the prehistory of Polynesia, and prospecting, mapping, and excavating sites in the archipelago. Mark also began the first systematic studies of marae, or Polynesian temple architecture, which he has carried on to this day, currently working with UNESCO on the marae of the Cook Islands.

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1, Jun 26, 2019
Papeete, Tahiti / Embark

Arrive in Papeete, the capital city of Tahiti, embark on The Gauguin in the afternoon, and set off on our voyage through the islands of Polynesia, a gorgeous collection of volcanic atolls strewn across the grand Pacific.

Days 2-4, Jun 27-29, 2019
At Sea / Gambier Islands

During days at sea between our island stops, we enjoy lectures and presentations by our team of experts on such subjects as total solar eclipses, the birth and evolution of the universe, highlights of the southern night sky, and the mutiny of the Bounty and settlement of Pitcairn Island. We’ll also enjoy our on-board troupe of entertainers who bring the culture of Polynesia to life. On June 29, we cruise past the Gambier Islands, a group of islets that are the remains of a volcanic caldera, as we make our way toward Pitcairn Island.

Days 5-6, Jun 30-Jul 1, 2019
Pitcairn Island

Rising dramatically out of the sea, remote, volcano-crowned Pitcairn was the fabled hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. Today it’s inhabited by their Anglo-Tahitian descendants, and we go ashore to meet them in Adamstown, the only settlement on the island. We have planned two landings here to provide the best chance for a successful shore visit at this far-flung location.

Day 7, Jul 2, 2019
Eclipse Day / At Sea

On Eclipse Day, we position our ship in the early morning at an ideal location recommended by eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson as offering the best weather prospects. The eclipse begins with first contact at approximately 9:03 am, with totality lasting 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Our guest astronomers will be with us to guide us through this spectacular phenomenon.

Local Contact Times for our planned viewing position at 24° 59.166’ S  133° 39.582’ W:
1st contact: (eclipse begins) 09:03:38 altitude: 16°
2nd contact: (totality begins) 10:18:47 altitude: 28°
3rd contact: (totality ends) 10:21:59 altitude: 29°
4th contact: (eclipse ends) 11:48:45 altitude: 39°
Duration of totality: 3 minutes and 12 seconds

Days 8-9, Jul 3- 4, 2019
At Sea

During these days at sea, we recap our eclipse experiences, enjoy lectures about Polynesian culture and astronomical topics, and savor The Gauguin’s casual and graceful Polynesian ambiance.

Day 10, Jul 5, 2019
Rangiroa, Tuamotus

Rangiroa is one of the world’s largest coral atolls—some 78 of them are scattered over several hundred miles. This morning we’ll participate in the daily activities of the Paumotu people, and have a chance to experience some great snorkeling.

Day 11, Jul 6, 2019
Bora Bora, Society Islands

Bora Bora is a dreamy world of lush peaks, white-sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, and romantic, turquoise-hued lagoons. We experience the natural beauty of the island with an optional snorkeling excursion, sunset jetboat ride, or a helicopter tour that flies you over Bora Bora’s iconic Mount Otemanu. We’ll also have the option to spend time at a private beach that offers volleyball, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Day 12, Jul 7, 2019
Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands

Known as the “Vanilla Island,” tiny Taha’a is truly a South Seas paradise, with crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches dotted by swaying palms, and gentle breezes. Our day will be spent on Motu Mahana, our very own private islet, where we’ll swim, snorkel, and kayak in the surrounding waters, or simply relax on the beach. A delicious barbecue lunch is provided.

Day 13, Jul 8, 2019
Huahine, Society Islands

Huahine’s lush rainforests and dramatic terrain surround sacred sites and legendary landmarks that are among the best-preserved archaeological sites in French Polynesia, including ancient home sites and marae (stone platforms that served as places of worship). If Huahine’s expansive lagoon is calling your name (it teems with more than 450 species of fish), enjoy a snorkeling excursion or picnic on the beach.

Day 14, Jul 9, 2019
Moorea / Papeete, Tahiti

Graced with spectacular mountain peaks, palm-fringed beaches, and idyllic lagoons, Moorea’s beauty is unsurpassed. Embark on an optional dolphin-watching expedition with a marine biologist, sample the local pineapples, said to be the most delicious in all of French Polynesia, or try our hand at watersports. Late in the afternoon, we set sail for Papeete. Tahiti’s capital city welcomes you back with its emerald hillsides, sapphire waters, and warm breezes. Overnight aboard The Gauguin.

Day 15, Jul 10, 2019
Papeete, Tahiti / Disembark

Disembark at 9:30 am for flights home. If you’re not ready for your adventure to end, spend a few days here experiencing the island’s beautiful scenery and luxurious resorts.

Highlights

Highlights

Experience a dramatic total solar eclipse at sea with 3 minutes and 12 seconds of totality
Award-winning astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD, astronomer Rick Fienberg, PhD, and anthropologist Mark Eddowes enrich your experience througout the voyage
Visit remote Pitcairn Island, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame, Bora Bora’s blue lagoons surrounded by coral isles, enchanting tropical Moorea
Cruise on the award-winning Paul Gauguin, with its five-star comfort and Polynesian ambience
Spend a relaxing day on Motu Mahana, a private islet, complete with white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, a barbecue lunch, drinks served in coconuts, and a floating lagoon bar

Details

Length: 15 days
Cost From: $9295  
Arrive: Papeete, Tahiti
Depart: Papeete, Tahiti
Lodging: 14 nights aboard the Paul Gauguin
Meals: All meals from dinner on June 26, 2019, through breakfast on July 10, 2019
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

Optional shore excursions including nature walks, cultural exploration, snorkeling, and sea kayaking