Set: Positive, Excited. Awaiting the Total Solar Eclipse
Both my wife (Who had agreed to sit for me) and I awoke early on the morning of the eclipse ready to prepare for the day ahead. This was the seventh day of our holiday at Trencreek holiday park and the morning sky was a glorious blue. The only cloud was a furnace of red and gold and this gave encouragement to a notion of optimism in the face of what was a bad weather prediction (90% chance of cloud). However by the time we had driven the 5 or so miles to Hollywell Bay the heavens had covered with a steel grey canopy of high and low cloud with only the hint of a break in two or three places. Undeterred, we walked from the car park to our chosen location - a huge sand dune in the middle of the length of the beach - where we sat and scanned the sky for any sign of a break in the cloud. The cloud had remained more or less static and it had just started to rain when I ate the whole home-grown cubensis shrooms I had brought with me. From what we had understood of our reading material for the previous two days, first contact had just occurred above us, an event that was totally obscured by what seemed to be an impenetrable armour of cloud. By 10:45 I could perceive an unmistakable shift in my sensory functions. Distant clumps of course grass seemed to move in a manner more suitable to a flame burning in slow motion, and as I looked down to the shore line, it was more than the braking waves that ebbed and flowed as the subtle changes in hue that can only be seen in expansive landscapes of the same colour seemed to bleed into one another - an effect that only intensified as the time went on so that it appeared that the sea itself was washing on shore the contents of some shipwrecked paint tanker over the horizon. The clouds above where also subject to this effect and the view out to sea encompassed a panoramic shifting view whose effect on the mind belied the mildness of the dose. It was while in this state that the beginning of our "once in a lifetime experience" was to begin. At about 11:09 a lady who was sitting near us with her husband and small daughter shouted to all who could hear that the faint outline of a crescent sun could be seen as a faint silver sliver through the cloud. It was at this point that I could clearly see the direction of the cloud and the possibility of seeing through an ever growing patch of blue that everyone had been watching at least some portion of totality. The crowds that had gathered on the headland to our right as we looked inland to the east began to scream and shout as the view to them became clearer and clearer. The fact that they where at least a kilometre away gives an idea of the level of their excitement. As time continued and the view became clearer, we could see the ever decreasing visible portion of the sun and slowly the daylight faded. I noticed that the shadow of my wife on the sand was almost fluid and pointed out to her the similarity with a full moon shadow. In the space of the next 20 seconds, I witnessed what still is the most profound visual effect I have ever seen in my life. As the final rays of light where obliterated by the moon, the scene around me moved through every shade of every colour of the rainbow. A sea that had started deep navy blue moved through vibrant purples, blues, indigos and a shade of bottle green that had me believing I could see lights shining from the depths of the Atlantic ocean floor. A sky that literally only minutes ago had been a bland backdrop to the coastline was now being recast as a boiling swirling mass of vapour that added to the already moody atmosphere. As the tones changed it seamed to me that I could see features deep within the cloud. There was already an imposing ridge of dark storm cloud that stretched out like a curtain over the horizon which suggested menace. Seeing twilight decend on a setting as breathtaking as Hollywell Bay in any event in such a short space of time in the middle of the day really must be seen to be believed. One could imagine that some celestial composer of this total sensory event had just reached out and turned the colour hue knob on his mixing desk through 360 Degree. As the light faded and the palette of colour moved towards violet all looked up to see the diamond in the ring grow smaller and smaller until eventually it was replaced with a very curious sight - a glowing hole in the sky. This is the only description I can use to accurately explain what I thought I could see. Framed by cloud and accompanied by what I think was Venus to the lower right, this majestic sight was met first by gasps of appreciation from all present and then by cheering and applause. In the bay all around was the crackle of camera flashes that was an impressive sight in itself and luckily was far enough away not to cause distraction. I was personally at this time agog with what I had just witnessed and was walking around with a wide open mouth muttering an insane stream of pathetic and wholly inadequate exclamations. I continued to look around at the sky and out to sea at the magnitude of this experience and them back up to the hole that dominated this whole phenomenon and thought of the overwhelming odds against us ever capturing a glimpse of the sun and moon through the relentless cloud that morning. The little girl with the lady who first saw the sun had remained visibly disturbed by the whole event and was still sobbing inconsolably though reassurances uttered by her mother when the first sign of the suns return began as a dawn sky the west. A glimpse of Baileys beads, a second Diamond Ring and the light of the sun returned as rapidly as it had disappeared and in a tryptamine daze I found myself hurrying back to the car with all the others each with a huge fixed grin - a leftover sign of the euphoria that all had experienced and a symptom that left me feeling comfortable with my appearance in public while in this state of mind. We had been on the beach for about 3½ hours and where understandably hungry and in need of conveniences. I waited for my wife in the back seat of our car as she used the facilities of a nearby pub and found myself giggling uncontrollably - an effect of the experience rather than that mushrooms although I was still in no fit state to drive and so my wife drove us to a nearby pub for a drink and then back to the camp site for some food and a rest. In retrospect I would have taken more but maybe that would have detracted from what was undoubtedly the main event although there is no denying that the shrooms imparted a magical sheen to the experience and I felt sure that in this sensory stimulated state I was able to perceive much more than I would have been able to straight and definitely appreciated it in a different light. A setting that I would wholeheartedly recommend to others.