TSE 2016 in Maba & Buli

This post is also available in: Indonesian

During the Total Solar Eclipse 9 March 2016, Halmahera, the largest island in North Maluku will be the best place for viewing the totality as it will have the longest duration and the best weather prospects.  Maba, the city in East Halmahera will be the perfect choice for totality as the centerline will pass through this city.  And this is the last land base location for viewing the totality from Indonesia. The next one is Woleai atoll in Micronesia.

Maba, ibukota Kabupaten Halmahera Timur. Kredit: Xavier Jubier/Google Earth Pro
Maba, the capital of East Halmahera regency. Courtesy: Xavier Jubier/Google Earth Pro

Maba, the capital city of East Halmahera regency will have the opportunity to experience the longest duration of total solar eclipse in 2016. Observer in this city will have 3 minutes and 19 seconds totality.  Laid along the coast of pacific ocean, the best location to view the sun will be from the beach.  Other location in the city are also as good as the beach since when the eclipse begin, the sun is more than 30º above the horizon.  The city has several plain location such as the front yard of the regency office, the school yard or the yard in front of the mosque. The biggest problem in this city will be the electricity, since it will be cut off from morning to afternoon so observer who need power for the instruments will be require to bring or rent a generator.  Till April 2015, the telecommunication network is good only for phone and text. No internet via mobile network.

Another site with the best spot and better weather prospect is Plun Island or Middle island. The island is one of the three island nearby Maba. To get to Plun island, one need to take speedboat for 20-30 minutes since we need to travel 32 km by speedboat. Here, aside than the eclipse, observer can enjoy the beauty of the underwater and watching Maleo birds and bats as they are the original landlord of the island.

Another choice for observing site is in Buli, a small village before Maba. It has better accommodation if you look for something really comfortable. The dock in Buli can be use for observation site. The only problem, the street lamp with solar panel will automatically turn on once the surrounding become dark.

Contact times

1st Contact or Start of Partial Eclipse: 08:37:00.1 local time (WIT)
2nd Contact or Start of Total Eclipse: 09:52:58.5 local time (WIT)
Totality: 09:54:38.1 local time (WIT)
3rd Contact or End of Total Eclipse: 09:56:18.3 local time (WIT)
4th Contact or End of Partial Eclipse: 11:23:05.4 local time (WIT)

Dermaga di Buli. Kredit: Avivah Yamani
Buli dock. Courtesy: Avivah Yamani
Beach in Maba. Courtesy: Avivah Yamani
Beach in Maba. Courtesy: Avivah Yamani
Pulau Plun atau Pulau Tengah, salah satu pulau di Halmahera Timur yang jadi incaran para pemburu gerhana.
Plun island. Courtesy: Avivah Yamani

Getting to Maba in the eastern Halmahera is not that easy. But there are few connections by air, sea and land trip. The first gate to get into Halmahera is via Ternate or Manado. One have to go to Ternate. And there are direct and indirect flight to Ternate from Jakarta or another big cities. Once in Ternate, you can choose to go to Buli by air or by sea and land.

The only way to go to Maba is via Buli. And to reach Buli you can take 20 minutes flight from Ternate. Wings Air serves this route daily using ATR plane and the maximum luggage for each passenger is 15 kg.  From Buli, you need 1 hour to go Maba by car. But you can also take the speedboat from Buli to Maba.

Another way to Maba, from Ternate take speedboat for 45 minutes to Sofifi, the capital city of North Maluku and then rent a car in Sofifi dock. It will take you 6 hours to ride via the trans Haltim road to Maba. The land trip is fascinating in its own way as you will pass several villages such as Wasile, Subaim, and also Buli. The view along the road is awesome. There are a few bad road along the way and taking instruments will be another challenge. To get to Plun island, you can take speedboat either from Buli or Maba.

Maba has 3 small hostels with basic facilities. Buli also has several hostels with basic facilities and 1 Hotel. Kartika Buli resort serves as the only one Hotel in the area. You can choose to stay in this hotel and traveling back and forth to Maba.

There are 5 Bungalow with 10 rooms in Plun island. The facilities in this island belongs to the Tourism Department.

Ditulis oleh

Avivah Yamani

astronomer. astronomy communicator by day. co-founder of langitselatan. new media practitioners. story teller and podcaster in the making. social media observer. web developer and web administrator by accident.

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