Skip to main content

1991-03 Update

WMacDonald's picture
tn_Baja91-1991-03.jpg
              THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
                   1991 SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPEDITION

           14 MARCH 1991 REPORT TO EXPEDITION PARTICIPANTS


Dear Registrant(s) No. ____________

       We are writing to provide an update on the status of the 1991
RASC Solar Eclipse Expedition for which you are registered. We are
delighted to advise that, since our last report, we have received
confirmation of a commitment from La Tur Airlines of Mexico, through our
travel agent, Sunquest Incentive Travel of Toronto, to provide a new MD-
83 aircraft for the Expedition. Our planning is proceeding smoothly,
and we are all looking forward to a highly successful Expedition.

       The aircraft has a capacity of 165 passengers. As a result, we
now have a waiting list of about 30 people. Do not worry if your
registration number is higher than no. 165. Because several registrants
have dropped out over the past two years (and we have not reassigned
registration numbers, in order to avoid confusion), at present the 165th
participant has a registration number of 182.

       Unfortunately, due to general air travel cost increases over the
past two years, the cost of our Expedition has increased to a currently
estimated $1,200 per person. We are currently negotiating the terms of
the contract with La Tur, including particularly any increases or
decreases in the Expedition cost as a result of fluctuations in the
price of fuel.

       As a result, we are unable at this point to provide a firm, final
cost for the Expedition. We expect the final cost to be between $1,100
and a maximum of $1,350 per person. If you are not prepared, if
necessary, to pay up to $1,350 per person, please advise immediately,
so that we may fill your place from the waiting list. If you drop out
and your place is filled, you will receive a complete refund of your
deposit.

	We must make a 25% non-refundable deposit to La Tur Airlines on
1 April 1991. We have therefore decided to adopt the following
financial arrangements:

       1.    The second payment of $600 per person MUST BE
             RECEIVED by 31 March 1991.

       2.    The third payment, representing the balance of the
             currently estimated cost of $1,200 per person, is
             due by 15 May 1991. For registrants no. 1 - 98 (who
             registered before 11 July 1989 and are therefore
             entitled to a 10% discount) the third payment will
             be $380. For all others, the third payment will be
             $500.

       3.    If you do not make either of these payments, we will
             assume that you no longer wish to participate in the
             Expedition, and your name will be deleted from the
             registration list. We will attempt to replace you
             from the waiting list, and if you are replaced, you
             will receive a complete refund.


                               2.



       4.   By forwarding your second payment of $600 per
            person, you will be signifying that you are
            prepared, IF COST INCREASES SO REQUIRE, to pay up
            to a total of $1,350 per person for the Expedition.

       5.   For those who have registered since the end of
            December 1990, your $100 deposit remains fully
            refundable UNTIL THE END OF MARCH 1991 ONLY.

       While we regret the uncertainty regarding the final cost of the
Expedition, all of the members of the Solar Eclipse Committee remain
confident that the intense planning for this Expedition will result in
a highly successful and memorable experience for all, and that the
morning of 11 July 1991 will find us all within the moon's shadow in
Mexico for this greatest of all solar eclipses.

                                Yours very truly,


                                Michael S.F. Watson
                                Expedition Leader
                                RASC 1991 Solar Eclipse
                                Expedition

                                999 XXXXXXXXXX Avenue
                                Toronto, Ontario M45 1H7
                                Canada

                                (416) 999-9999 (Business)
                                (416) 999-9999 (Residence)




P.S.   BY INADVERTENCE, YOUR $100 DEPOSIT CHEQUE PER REGISTRANT WAS NOT
       DEPOSITED, FOR WHICH WE APOLOGIZE. THIS IN NO WAY AFFECTS THE
       VALIDITY OF YOUR REGISTRATION. PLEASE THEREFORE ADD $100 PER
       PERSON (FOR A TOTAL OF $700) FOR YOUR SECOND PAYMENT.


            THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
                  1991 SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPEDITION

                      INFORMATION CIRCULAR


          The RASC 1991 Solar Eclipse Expedition is a project of
the National Council of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada,
which is the largest national astronomical organization in the
world. The Expedition, which has now been more than two years in
the planning, is being coordinated by the Solar Eclipse Committee,
consisting of the undersigned as Expedition Leader, and members J.
Randy Attwood of Toronto and Steve Dodson, both of whom are
experienced astronomers and have organized astronomical expeditions
in the past.

          The RASC Expedition differs from most others in that it
features a quick, twoÄday trip by chartered aircraft from Toronto
to Mexico, rather than an extended, one or twoÄweek vacation. This
format allows us to offer the opportunity to observe the eclipse
for the low price of approximately $1,200, and makes observing the
eclipse possible for families.

          The itinerary, which of course is subject to change at
any time, is as follows: We will leave Toronto International
Airport at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 10 July 1991.
We have chartered an MD-83, 165-seat aircraft from La Tur Airlines
of Mexico, through our travel agent, Sunquest Incentive Travel of
Toronto. We have been working closely with Sunquest over the past
two years. The approximately 5-hour flight will bring us to Puerto
Vallarta (on the Mexican mainland) in early afternoon. Buses will
transfer us to the Plaza Vallarta hotel, where the rest of the
afternoon will be spent at leisure. Our present plans call for us
to have a banquet-style dinner at the hotel, followed by an evening
program about the eclipse. There is some prospect (details still
to be worked out) that we may engage buses to take those who are
interested outside the city for some evening stargazing.

	On Thursday morning (Eclipse Day), we will get up early
(between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m.), have breakfast at the hotel, and
transfer by bus to the airport. The jet will depart Puerto
Vallarta at 6:00 a.m., and arrive at Los Cabos airport in Baja
California approximately 1 hour later. Because of the one-hour
time difference, we will land at approximately 6:00 a.m. Baja
California time. At the Los Cabos airport, we will clear Mexican
customs with our astronomy equipment (which will have been left on
board the aircraft overnight in Puerto Vallarta). We will then
board reserved buses, which will drive us approximately 40 km north
of the Los Cabos airport to the town of Santiago, where we have
reserved the town soccer stadium as our observing site. Santiago
is approximately 5 km south of the centre line of the eclipse, and
is an excellent location. We estimate arrival time at
approximately 9:00 a.m. The partial phase of the eclipse will
begin shortly after 10:15 a.m.. The total phase will begin at




approximately 11:48 a.m. and last 6 minutes, 52 seconds. After the
eclipse has ended (at approximately 13:30), we will pack up our
equipment, board the buses, and drive south to Los Cabos, where the
afternoon will be spent either at one of the excellent beaches in
the area or in one of the towns. The buses will take us to the
airport for a 23:00 departure for Toronto, where we will land at
approximately 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Friday, 12 July 1991.

          Members of the Solar Eclipse Committee have travelled
twice to Baja California, and have held extensive discussions with
Mexican Government officials, who are organizing the logistics of
the eclipse for Baja California. We have received assurances of
the necessary permits and approvals for our Expedition, and we have
been very encouraged by the cooperation that we have received.
Nonetheless, from past experience we recognize that plans can and
do go awry. For example, it is possible that, on Eclipse Day, in
spite of previous assurances, we may not receive permission to land
at Los Cabos airport. We have therefore devised a back-up plan,
which calls for us to observe the eclipse from near the centre line
on the west coast of the Mexican mainland, north of Puerto
Vallarta. Weather prospects at this location are still very good,
and the duration of totality and the altitude of the sun during the
eclipse are virtually identical to Baja California.

          The currently estimated price of $1,200 covers air
transportation, hotel accommodation in Puerto Vallarta, bus
transfers to and from the airports, ground bus transportation to
the observing site, and most meals. You should count on
approximately $50-$75 for incidentals, including non-group meals.
Because of the uncertainty of certain costs, including aviation
fuel, we estimate that the final cost of the trip will be between
$1,100 and $1,350 per person.

          As July approaches and our plans solidify further,
Expedition members will be receiving full information concerning
the eclipse, including observation and photography suggestions.

          In order to facilitate the clearing of Mexican customs,
we will be requiring each participant to send to us a complete list
(together will serial numbers) of all photographic and telescopic
equipment being taken on the Expedition. PERSONAL BELONGINGS AND
LUGGAGE MUST BE KEPT TO A MINIMUM. IN GENERAL, ALL CLOTHES MUST
BE PACKED IN A SMALL, CARRY-ON BAG. This restriction is to allow
us to take as much astronomical equipment (cameras, telescopes and
the like) as possible.

	We look forward to seeing you in July!



                                 Michael S. F. Watson
                                 Expedition Leader
                                 RASC   1991   Solar   Eclipse
                                 Expedition
AttachmentSize
March 1991 Report to Expedition Participants (PDF) - redacted295.45 KB
Year: 
1991
Pages: 
4