I'm sitting in a hotel lobby, a lovely place in Punta Arenas, Chile. I am four days from my scheduled leaving for Antarctica. I am surrounded by eclipse chasers.
This is not my tribe.
There's a woman here who has been to 23 eclipses. She is loud and proud about this number.
There's the editor of Astronomy magazine over at another table. He's had that job for 34 years. He's a celebrity to this crowd.
There's a retired physician from Phoenix talking with his eclipse chaser friends. The group talking about past eclipses, future eclipses, photography equipment, eclipse stories.
For all of them, Antarctica is secondary to the eclipse. The eclipse is the draw. "I'm going to ride the bikes, but I don't want to use crampons or an ice axe."
Feels similar to last year: many people went to Antarctica for the penguins. I went for the ice, the rocks, the cold, the continent.
I'm here to spend days on Antarctica. I'm here to walk on the snow, see the ice wave, put an ice axe in my hand, crampons on my feet, and experience the cold.
This is not my tribe. I don't know what I was expecting, but I don't know why I wasn't expecting older people, less active people, eclipse people.