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Watch for more installments of this special Howler series 

I chase total eclipses of the sun, and I also love birdwatching, traveling all over the world to photograph both. In 2020, as the COVID pandemic raged, our scheduled trip to southern Chile and Patagonia for an eclipse got delayed, canceled, and eventually rescheduled for two years after the eclipse. 

We were watching our 2020 chance go up in smoke, and the next eclipse was not until 2023. So in May 2020, when I received an email from Wilderness Travel for an April 2023 total eclipse trip — occurring off the western coast of Australia, with a really interesting two-week itinerary — we went ahead and booked it. 

Western Australia is the opposite side of the world from where we live in Costa Rica. When we decided to go and witness the eclipse, we discussed how to get there: Should we fly east or west? Looking at costs, it was expensive either way. Really expensive. So we bought much more affordable “Round the World” tickets. (link to that story in August issue) 

That started the snowball rolling. If we were to fly around the world, we may as well add a few stops to the itinerary!

We decided to fly east. East would eventually get us to Perth, Western Australia, where we could then fly to Darwin, the originating port for the eclipse cruise. Qatar airlines would fly us from Miami to Doha, Qatar, then to Perth.  

After the eclipse cruise, we had to continue east, and since my wife had never visited New Zealand, we added a camping trip. Our major stops were set: Costa Rica – Miami – Doha – Perth – Darwin – Indonesia – Kakadu – Auckland – Christchurch – Sydney – Los Angeles – Costa Rica. It would end up being four continents, seven countries, and 27,000 air miles.

I spent weeks looking at flights and schedules and especially things to see and do in every stop on the trip — especially if it involved seeing birds. 

By the time we left, we had almost 100 moving parts of the trip to track: flights, rental cars, hotels, cruise, campervan, ferries, birding guides, campgrounds, tickets to events and even one restaurant reservation. 

It was going to be an epic adventure.  

Click to watch the Introduction of our 6-part, 90-minute video series: Around the World in 40 Days 

#EclipseChaser #BirdwatchingAdventures #GlobalExploration #EpicTravelJourney

Photos:

  1. Doha — a land of contrast
  2. Western Australia quokka — the cutest animal in the world
  3. Oomara Falls, The Kimberley, Western Australia
  4. Komodo dragon
  5. Agile wallaby, Kakadu National Park
  6. Australian aboriginal rock art
  7. Maori haka
  8. Mt. Cook, New Zealand (featured photo)

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