The 2024 Eclipse
in Mexico

The Moon's dark and ominous shadow, the umbra, was speeding towards us across the water at 700 metres per second. Soon it would envelop us completely and blot out the Sun, turning day into night.....

Moon's Umbra Leaving
The Moon's Umbra Leaving

Before The Eclipse

We began our journey in Cuba with a 40 day stopover. We saw colonial cities, beautiful landscapes, cigars, classic cars and revolutionary history.

The Capitol in Havana
Two women
US Classic cars

Bay of Pigs
Tobacco growing land

This broke up the journey to Mexico (our third visit) where we spent another 40 days exploring colonial cities, pyramids, artists, landscapes and pre-Hispanic culture and history.

Aztec Calendar
Day of the Dead
Frida Kahlo painting

Easter pagent (Zapopan)
Mariachi at Xochimilco
Pyramid of the Sun

This was our second eclipse Mexico after seeing the 1991 eclipse in Baja California.

We visited places that we had missed last time: Durango and San Luis Potosi.


We had booked accommodation over 18 months earlier (including two backups) in Mazatlan, a coastal resort city.

All three cancelled the bookings. One "lost" our web site booking but returned our deposit without an apology or explanation when we contacted them. The second informed us that they couldn't rent the house we had booked but had another a few blocks away for the same price. Once the original was cancelled, neither was available to us. We replaced this house with another but they failed to respond to any of our emails and their phone number was not connected - we cancelled this one ourselves.

The third informed us that they had removed their apartment from the system when we advised them of our arrival time.

We eventually ended up with a nice apartment close to Plaza Machado in the historical centre of Mazatlan.

Cerritos Point
Old City

Eclipse Day

We took a taxi in the morning to reach Estrella Beach, a straight line distance of 14km from the Old City of Mazatlan. The road distance was 22km.

The public beach was by a restaurant in a hotel complex on a peninsula called Stone Island close to the airport. When we had visited the restaurant a few days earlier, access was straight forward. On Eclipse day, the restaurant had been reserved by a large group of Danish eclipse chasers and we had to answer some questions and give our names before being allowed into the complex.

We were allowed to use the beach, We set ourselves up on a wall that was part of an empty lot and next to a house.

The retired USA couple who owned the house allowed us to use their outside toilet and even offered us the use of their fridge for our drinking water. In return, we helped them view the eclipse safely and effectively.


Estrella Beach on Stone Island was 14km from Mazatlan Old City and 7.2km from the Centre Line.

The weather was clear with high wispy cirrus clouds. They were moving from the sea inland and did not blot out the Sun to any major extent. In fact, as the eclipse progressed, their presence enhanced the spectacle.

The clouds thinned when looking South (where the Sun was) but a thicker bank of cloud was visible to the North. The weather prediction was for clouds to thicken during the day. We hoped that thickening would come after totality.


The partial eclipses (09:52, 09:58, 10:41, 10:50, 11:00).

First Contact was at 9:51. This is the moment when the Moon begins its passage across the Sun. We used our welders' glass to look for the first "bite" out of the Sun. We found it within a minute.

The morning was getting warm and we could see birds flying over the sea, mainly frigate birds and pelicans.

Many eclipses see a change in the light and the colour of the sky about half way through the partial phases. For this eclipse the changes became noticeable about 30 minutes into the eclipse (around 10:20). The temperature stopped rising.

Our hosts had not realised the partial eclipse had begun until we showed them the Sun though protective glasses. They became excited and wanted to play Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon but I persuaded them that would be better after totality as they would not be able to hear the changes in nature.

The sky began to deepen in colour, becoming bluer. This contrasted nicely with the thin white clouds.

By 11:00 the darkening sky was more noticeable and there was a perceptible drop in temperature. Shadows became sharper as the solar light source was now narrower. Through protection, the Sun resembled a crescent Moon.

Our hosts were walking around wearing their eclipse glasses. I told them to remove them and to look a round as we were now in the final minutes before totality. I assured them I would tell them when it was safe to look up at the Sun.


The Moon's shadow (the umbra) arriving from the sea.

Around 11:05, two minutes before totality, the ambiance was eerie. It was quiet. The pelicans and frigate birds had gone.

It was now dark enough to trigger the solar lighting on some buildings and on a nearby boardwalk. These were not bright.

At 11:07 the Moon's shadow could be seen rushing across the sea towards us like a tsunami of darkness. It grew darker and expanded, reminding me of the Dementers in the Harry Potter movies.

The Moon's dark and ominous shadow, the umbra, was speeding towards us across the water at 700 metres per second. Soon it would envelop us completely and blot out the Sun, turning day into night. The thin clouds had made the approach of the shadow very dramatic and obvious. They had turned from white to light gray then dark gray in a matter of seconds.

I looked up to see the last sliver of silvery sunlight become a diamond ring and fade. The Sun's corona flashed into view through the very thin high cloud.

Totality had begun.

Totality arrives at 11:07.

It was beautiful and spectacular. It was dark around us. The usual "red of sunset" was yellow this time. The sea, which had been blue, was now gray.

Rippling gray clouds enhanced the scene.

The corona was a pearly white, slightly bluish colour. I could see streamers (caused by the Sun's magnetic field acting on the hot, charged gases).

Totality with the Sun's corona.

I looked for the planets. Jupiter was visible to the left of the Sun; Venus, brighter and closer, was to the right.

The overexposed eclipsed Sun during totality with Jupiter (left) and Venus (right).

As totality progressed, with the Moon still moving (slowly) across the Sun, three prominences slowly became uncovered and were visible on the right edge of the Eclipsed Sun. Their pink colour was easily visible to the naked eye and through binoculars. Prominances are huge surface storms of glowing hydrogen gas, larger than the Earth.


Prominences on the Sun's right coming into view as the Moon moves across the Sun from right to left.

Totality at our location was 4 minutes 26 seconds (just a second short of the centre line, about 7km away).

This allowed me to look around the dark blue, late-twilight sky, to admire the yellow horizon, and to gaze in awe at the Eclipsed Sun.

I took in the overwhelming atmosphere of totality.

It was quiet. There were no street lights to come on automatically and spoil the view. We had chosen our viewing location well.


The diamond ring marks the end of totality (at 11:11) as light from the Sun becomes visible through a valley on the Moon.

The sky over the ocean was lighting up. The presence of light clouds meant that I could see the edge of the Moon's shadow moving towards us.

The end of totality was marked by the beautiful diamond ring as the first ray of sunlight finds its way to the Earth by going through a lunar valley on the Moon's trailing edge. it lasted for about a second. Totality was over; it was time to look away from the brightening globe of the Sun.


The Moon's shadow leaving as the sky brightens over the sea and darkens where the umbra moves inland.

The whole landscape lit up. Half the sky was still in shadow. The view towards the sea was bright and getting brighter.

Looking inland, I could see a wall of darkness beyond the palm trees with ripples of grey clouds above. This was a very dramatic exit of the Moon's rapidly moving shadow.

The umbra moving inland with wavy clouds.

The Moon's Shadow (Umbra)


A sequence showing the darkening of the landscape as the Moon's shadow passes over the observation site.

After the Eclipse

The weather had co-operated. By the afternoon, the sky was overcast.

The light got back to normal very quickly after the end of totality. The birds returned.

Our hosts brought out four glasses of sparkling wine. Kryss' 20th totality (and Talaat's 16th) had been a success. Years of planning and pouring over maps had brought us to this quiet and almost deserted location.

We left Mazatlan on a spectacular highway passing through dozens of tunnels and over many bridges through a gorge to the arid city of Durango. We visited the film sets where many "Westerns" were made.

General Credits

Kryss Katsiavriades
Written account and all text descriptions. (© 2024). All photos (except those listed below), photo editing.

Talaat Qureshi
Sequence with the Moon's shadow, the two planets with the eclipsed Sun.

Other Credits

For a warm welcome, friendly people, good food and lots of activities.

Dodo Apartments
For a comfortable place to stay close to the centre.

Astronomical Society of Mazatlan
For the warm welcome, help and organisation of social and scientific activities (especially Pollo, Renee and Sichem).

Bob and Kate Swindell
For hospitality, facilities, sparkling wine, a nice cup of tea and t-shirts on eclipse day.

Janine Francis
For organising the catamaran trip and the meeting in Bar 15.

KryssTal Related Pages

The 2024 eclipse main page.

Maps of the path of the 2024 eclipse from Fred Espenak and Xavier Jubier and eclipse details at the observation site.

People from the 2024 eclipse.


People we have lost since the previous eclipse

Bonnie Leifer
Travel Friend / 5 Eclipses (1944 - 2024).
We were informed of her death two days before we began this trip.
Bonnie was at the following eclipses with us: Turkey 2006, Siberia 2008, China 2009, Australia 2012, Faroe Islands 2015.

George Eustration
Cousin (1940 - 2024).