MAY 5-14, 2013


Path of the annular (ring) solar eclipse of May 10, 2013. Our observing site is located near the center of the path (the blue line).

Our 41st solar eclipse expedition occurs over the Pacific Ocean. The location of the eclipse was chosen based on weather prospects and convenience of access. While somewhat remote, Kiribati is in prime position for eclipse viewing! And, we have been here before. In 2009 we conducted one of our total solar eclipse expeditions to both Fiji, Tarawa and Ouba Islet. Hotels are quite basic (except in Fiji) and you should be aware that power outages happen frequently. Travel in all parts of the region can be slow and actual schedules may not always be as advertised. Tour members should be open-minded and flexible about all aspects of this tour and be aware that will be traveling into an area that does experience much tourism, and has relatively few interisland flights.

The tour will be coordinated and led by Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society. The trip will originate from and return to Los Angeles, California USA. The eclipse observation site will be pre-determined, but we reserve the right to modify the site in real time in order to attempt to maximize the chance of successful eclipse observation due to local weather changes. Due to the location there will be very limited ranging ability on the day of the eclipse.


as of February 8, 2013

(Some modifications may occur due to routing and schedule changes in the region prior to the time of the tour. Hotels are those currently known as of January 2013 and are typical of the region. The best hotel is in Fiji. Prices are those in effect as of the date above and may change due to currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges for ground transport caused by escalating oil prices or increases mandated by ground operators. RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS does its best to keep prices in line as far in advance as possible. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended just in case you or a companion becomes ill or is forced by circumstance to miss the tour–unless this insurance is already included in the tour package.)

If you arrive in Los Angeles early enough you may visit Disneyland or other attractions of interest for which the city is so well known.

May 5 and 6 (Sunday/Monday) LOS ANGELES TO FIJI

World War II defense position on Tarawa

Depart Los Angeles in the evening and cross the International Date Line. Meals served in-flight. Flight time approximately 10 hours.

May 7 (Tuesday) FIJI

Raffles Hotel in Fiji

Raffles Hotel in Fiji

Arrive on Fiji in the early morning and transfer to the Raffles Hotel for some rest and recuperation.  A free day as today and tomorrow are forced overnights due to the latest Air Pacific flight schedule. (B)

At Raffles, all rooms and suites are set in two courtyards with the verandas facing either the pool or gardens and have air conditioning , CNN satellite TV, refrigerator and safety deposit box with 24 hour room service available. There’s a pleasant fine dining restaurant and a less formal cafe, a poolside bar with large screen TV and pool tables. The main pool features a water slide.

Nadi is a good place to sort out your adventures in Fiji. It’s the hub for most of the tour operators who visit the Mamanuca Islands and companies who run hikes in the Nausori Highlands and the Koroyanitu National Park.  There are also a couple of excellent dive companies who take divers out around the Mamanuca Islands and local dive sites.

The center of Nadi is Main Street and this is where most of the commercial activity takes place. If you’re after clothes or supplies before you set off then this is the street to visit.  We have two days here as well as one at the end of the trip.  Consider doing one of the following before you leave Nadi:

– Skydive Fiji

– Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool

– Sri Shiva Subramaniya Temple

– Navala Village

– Robinson Crusoe Island Night Tour

– Garden of the Sleeping Gian

Sri Shiva Subramaniya Temple

Sri Shiva Subramaniya Temple

May 8 (Wednesday) FIJI

A free day to enjoy the charm and beauty of Fiji (B).

A typical Fiji beach.

A typical Fiji beach.



Parliament House in Kiribati

Parliament House in Kiribati

Transfer to the airport before dawn.  Depart Fiji in the early morning and transfer for your connecting flight to Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati. This is about a 3 hour flight. Arrival into Tarawa airport, transfer and check into the hotel. Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa. The island is best known by outsiders as the site of the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.

The remainder of the afternoon will be spent on a scouting trip to pick the best spot on the island to view the eclipse.

We will have a Welcome Dinner with local cultural dances. This hotel is located on the edge of the peaceful Tarawa lagoon. The facilities include 40 air-conditioned rooms with restaurant, lounge and bar. Hotel: Otintaai. (L, D)

Kiribati’s location within the Oceania region

Depart our hotel for a tour of the infamous Tarawa Landing on Betio where the U.S. Marines conducted a bloody amphibious landing against the entrenched Japanese and captured the island in 1943. We also will visit our viewing site for the following day’s eclipse. We will have a briefing prior to dinner in preparation for tomorrow’s solar eclipse. (B/L/D). Hotel: Otintaai.


Zone of land travel on Tarawa.

Morning departure for our spot to observe the eclipse set for maximum annular eclipse at 12:15:17 PM local time (UT + 12 hours).  We intend to nominally observe from Tarawa proper and possibly from our hotel since its position is nearly on the center line. The atoll is flat and as a result there is little orographic lifting sources. Approximately 5 minutes 59 seconds of annularity can be seen depending on where we choose our observation site. In the map above it is about 16 miles (26km) from Betio (west side) to the airport. The sun will be located at an elevation of 73 degrees above the northern horizon at central eclipse. Our latitude will be 1 deg 22′ N, just barely above the equator; longitude is 173 deg 08′ 50″ E. After a box lunch and observing the eclipse, we return to the hotel (if the hotel is not the observing site). (B/L/D). Hotel: Otintaai. Because it is New Moon during a solar eclipse it should be possible to observe the constellations of the southern sky tonite and on other nights during our stay.

Two examples of what an annular eclipse looks like near ‘central eclipse’. The annular solar eclipse where the black disc of the moon is directly between the earth and sun causing a ring (annulus) of sunlight to be visible surrounding it. If you are not very close to the center of the ground track (left image), the moon appears to be offset in symmetry from the sun (right image). Also, depending on the type of solar filter you are using for photography, the sun can appear white, yellow, red or even another color.

May 11 (Saturday) TARAWA Betio Excursion

Depart our hotel for a tour of the infamous Tarawa Landing on Betio where the U.S. Marines conducted a bloody amphibious landing against the entrenched Japanese and captured the island in 1943.  (B/L/D)

Remains of landing craft from World War II

Remains of landing craft from World War II


Japanese gun emplacement

Japanese gun emplacement


Japanese tank frozen in time

Japanese tank frozen in time


May 12 (Sunday) TARAWA

This morning there is the traditional Eclipse 5k run/walk. We will start out just before sunrise from our hotel.  We will conduct the E5k run/walk from our hotel at Bikeman Island to Bairiki and back.

Proposed Eclipse 5k running route

Proposed Eclipse 5k running route


We enjoy our final day on Tarawa with some free time to enjoy some beach time, snorkeling or tour some of the nature sites on the island. (B/L/D)

May 13 (Monday) TARAWA TO FIJI

Tarawa’s airport

We return to Fiji and check into the Raffles Hotel. The remainder of the day is for rest and relaxation on the beautiful beaches or to enjoy some of the special hotel amenities.

We will have an early farewell dinner and depart for the airport around 8:00 PM for a 10:00 PM departure to the mainland. (B/D). Hotel: Raffles

May 14 (Tuesday) LOS ANGELES

Arrive in Los Angeles around noon and depart for home. Meals served aloft on the way back.

For those wishing to layover in Fiji for extra days, they may fly back on any day starting with May 14th. An optional 5 day trip can be made to Guadalcanal starting 14 May. All portions will be accompanied.


USD$2287. credit card price (cash price $2199.) LAND only per person beginning in and ending in Los Angeles, CA USA, double occupancy. Add USD$742. credit card price (cash price $645.) for single supplement (if available).



  • accommodation as indicated in itinerary with private facilities
  • all tour features as listed in the itinerary
  • all touring by private chartered coach with experienced driver / guide
  •  meals as shown
  • airport transfers if you are arriving and returning with the group
  • entrance fees at attractions listed in the itinerary unless otherwise noted
  • bus transfers to/from solar eclipse site
  • solar eclipse briefing
  • beverages only where specified
  • eclipse viewing glasses


  • meals not stated, drinks, visas (if required)
  • room use outside of normal check-in/check-out times
  • no airfare of any kind (separate air will be announced when scheduled about 11 months prior to trip departure; you should allow for a minimum economy air of about $1500.
  • airport transfers to LAX and from LAX; only airport transfers not including Los Angeles are included provided you arrive and depart with the group
  • airfare to/from Los Angeles
  • porterage: you must be in a position to carry your own bags
  • optional cost tours
  • departure tax from Tarawa
  • beverages unlesss specified
  • tips and gratuities
  • personal expenses and anything else not included in the ‘tour includes’ features list


BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2012…………………………USD$525. DEPOSIT credit card price (cash price USD$500).

JANUARY 1, 2013………………………………………….BALANCE DUE.



AFTER JANUARY 1, 2013………………………………..100% OF THE TOTAL TOUR COST

Travel Leaders/Future Travel recommends that each client purchase adequate trip cancellation insurance, medical, baggage, accident and other personal effects insurance. Trip cancellation insurance must be purchased at time of initial deposit—unless already included in the tour package. Clients should be aware that we cannot guarantee the weather for this astronomical event or any other. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for details.


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Tour Terms & Conditions

Please read the following tour terms and conditions prior to reserving your trip:


Your reservation may be confirmed ONLY with SIGNED application form AND DEPOSIT. Tour space is limited and group flight reservations are accepted subject to availability at the time both RESERVATION FORM and PAYMENT(s) are received by FUTURE TRAVEL. For information call: (281) 480-1988 or (800) 929-9004. In order for us to keep your tour costs down we cannot return phone calls outside of the Houston area. If you cannot get through, please call back.

Payment schedule is as outlined on the tour registration form.


The operators of hotels, airlines, and our ground logistics suppliers have strict policies which we have to follow. Cancellations must be received in writing by Future Travel. Because our tours are mostly to remote areas and are of an unusual nature, neither hotels, airlines, or ground suppliers will refund money to us for unused or canceled space. Our prices are based on group minimums and any cancellation could otherwise cause a rate increase for others.

Cancellation penalties are as outlined on the tour registration form.


Land and air prices are subject to change without notice due to unforeseen increases in the rates for hotel and meals, government taxes, currency fluctuations, and ground services. Prices are based on two persons sharing one room. There is additional cost for a single room (single supplement) or an extra person in the room if either of these features are available.


There will be a change fee of $75.00 per person charged for any change in travel arrangements made after ticketing and at least 30 days prior to departure. No changes will be allowed within 14 days of the departure date. These fees are subject to change.


If you are traveling by yourself but wish to share a room with someone else, we will attempt to match men with male roommates and women with female roommates, along with smoking/non-smoking preferences. If we cannot find a roommate for whatever reason we will advise you and have to charge you the single supplement fee. You may wish to look for a roommate from your local astronomical society.


Accommodations, meals and sightseeing will be provided as specified in the itinerary. Substitutions, if any, shall be of similar quality as outlined in the itinerary. Sightseeing will be provided by our tour host and is subject to change due to weather conditions, accessibility, border crossing limitations, and hours of operation. Sightseeing will be by motorcoach or best available transportation.


In order to provide maximum convenience for all tour participants, we normally accept children if they are the age of 12 and older, although some tours are for adults only and are specified as such. Children must be accompanied and supervised by parents or guardians and are expected to display proper decorum while the group is together, especially at the observation site and on tour buses.


Tour participants must attest that the are in good general health and capable of performing normal activities on this trip. They must further attest that: they are capable of caring for themselves during the expedition and will not impede the progress of the trip or enjoyment of other tour members; they must understand that this expedition may take them far from the nearest viable medical facility and that all expedition members must be self-sufficient. With that understanding they must certify that they have not been recently treated for, nor are aware of, any physical, mental or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to themselves or other members of the trip.


Tour prices are quoted based on coach (economy) fares and are subject to change without notice. If air fares are increased, any such increase will be collected from tour members. We will attempt to use the lowest available airfare at time of ticketing.




United States citizens are required to have a valid PASSPORT (valid at least 6 months beyond the end of the tour). Citizens of other countries must make their nationalities known immediately to Future Travel and are responsible for obtaining proper documentation to enter the U.S. and any other countries where tour options are involved.


Trip cancellation, baggage, health and accident insurance is strongly recommended and on some trips, mandatory. Insurance will be made available and may be purchased through Future Travel (if the law allows). In other cases tour members living outside the USA may have to obtain insurance in their home country.

It is recommended that tour participants do not bring expensive jewelry or like possessions with them. Telescopes and observation equipment should be securely packed; insurance on expensive items is highly recommended. Future Travel or any of its representatives or contractors are not liable for loss/damage of any personal effects.

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Consult the TSA web site for restrictions on what is currently allowed to be carried onto aircraft. Also, due to constantly changing airline limitations, we advise all participants to verify baggage allowances directly with the airlines. The following guidelines may vary from trip to trip. Consult the individual tour inclusion to be sure these are in force. In general, from the USA you are allowed to check two standard sized suitcases per person, each weighing not more than 70 lbs and combined length, width, height of each adding up to less than 106 inches. But for flights in most other countries, only one checked bag weighing up to 44 lbs is permitted. Carry-on luggage must fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat. Excess baggage can be checked at the tour participant’s own expense. Lost or damaged luggage while in transit is the sole responsibility of the carrier or traveler and subject to international and/or domestic governing regulations. All baggage of tour participant(s) is accepted on tour at participant(s) own risk. IF YOU ARE BRINGING A TELESCOPE OR ANY UNUSUAL EQUIPMENT, YOU MUST PROVIDE A LIST OF SUCH ITEMS TO FUTURE TRAVEL SO THAT WE CAN DETERMINE THEY ARE ALLOWABLE. WE WILL PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS RELATED TO CUSTOMS FORMALITIES.


When transfers are included in the tour package between hotels and airports, transportation of participants and their baggage is provided only when participants travel with the rest of the group . If your schedule is different from this, private transfers are available at extra cost and must be requested in writing. Carry-on bags must be carried by tour participants and porterage is included AFTER passing through customs area upon arrival. Porterage is included for two (2) pieces of baggage only at hotels and airport unless otherwise stated in the individual itinerary inclusions. In some situations hotel porterage may not be possible. Be sure to consult the tour information to be sure.


Tours include taxes for hotel accommodations and airfare. Departure taxes within foreign countries are NOT included since they vary widely. Each airport departure may require a separate departure tax which will have to be collected from each tour participant prior to boarding. Tips are NOT included for guides, tour personnel or drivers who render special services or who have done an outstanding job. This is left to each person’s discretion.


Sometimes the airline or ground operator will be forced to change a portion of the tour dependent on equipment, weather or other factors beyond control of Future Travel. Alterations in the tour may also be necessary for other reasons. If this does occur, any additional expenses will have to be paid by tour participants and Future Travel will advise if/as soon as such expenses are anticipated.

Future Travel or its representatives cannot guarantee the observation of the advertised astronomical event(s). We make every effort to examine weather prospects prior to selecting the observation site including satellite photo studies.


Cost of passports or visas, airport departure taxes outside the USA, excess baggage, meals and beverages not specified in the itinerary, baggage handling in the USA, tips, room service, liquor, phone calls, voluntary changes in flight(s), laundry, insurance costs, and items or services of a personal nature not specified in the tour itinerary.



Future Travel, Inc. and the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society act only in the capacity of agent for the suppliers of the travel services named in the Itinerary or otherwise providing services or goods in connection with the Itinerary (the Suppliers), such as airlines, hotels and other lodging providers, cruise lines, camp operators, sight seeing trip operators, bus lines, car rental companies, driving services, restaurants, and providers of entertainment. We assume no responsibility for any personal injury, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason (1) any act or omission of any of the Suppliers (2) any matter beyond our exclusive control including but not limited to a delay or cancellation of a flight that causes you to miss any portion of the Itinerary. We have no special knowledge regarding the financial condition of the Suppliers, unsafe conditions, health hazards, weather hazards, or climate extremes at locations to which you may travel.

For information concerning possible dangers at destinations, we recommend contacting the Travel Warnings Section of the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-5225 or www.travel.state.gov, and click on Travel Warnings.

For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel. You assume full and complete responsibility for checking and verifying all passport and visa requirements of the destinations and for complying with all laws of the country in the Itinerary.

You are also responsible for respecting the authority and following the directions of the guide during the trip. We may exclude you from participating in all or any part of the trip if, in our sole discretion, your condition or behavior renders you unfit for the trip or unfit for continuation once the trip has begun. Unfitness may include, without limitation, any behavior that, regardless of its cause, is inappropriate or offensive or interferes with the delivery of our services, or may constitute a hazard or embarrassment. In such case, our liability shall be strictly limited to a refund of the recoverable cost of any unused portion of the trip. Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the trip, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the trip. You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from and against any costs, damages, losses, or liabilities arising out of your actions or omissions.

The right is reserved to withdraw any tour announced by Future Travel or make substitutions and/or alterations as may be found desirable for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the tour. The tour price is per person and quoted in U.S. dollars. All rates are subject to change without prior notice due to unforeseen economic circumstances (including but not limited to airfare increases) or currency fluctuations. Any increase in cost as a result of change in either will be borne by tour participant.

Any dispute related to the trip shall be governed by Texas law without regard to conflict of laws principles. The federal or state courts in Harris County, Texas shall be the exclusive forum for any lawsuit related to the trip, and you consent to the personal jurisdiction by said courts. You agree to present any claims against us within 30 days after the trip ends and to file within one year of the incident, and you acknowledge that this expressly limits the applicable statute of limitations to one year. You agree to grant us (and third parties with whom we may engage in joint marketing) a worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid up license to use your photographic, video, or digital likeness solely for our promotional and/or commercial purposes. Facsimile transmission of any signed document shall be deemed delivery of an original. At our request, you shall promptly provide an original document as well. If there are any conflicts between these terms and conditions, the Reservation Form, and the Itinerary, these terms and conditions shall apply.

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