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B.C. man rides motorcycle 1,000 km to see total eclipse of sun

"It was a very emotional four to five minutes."
Dirk Handke drives 1,000 km to watch total eclipse of the sun in Mazatlan.

A Kelowna man experienced the total solar eclipse in Mazatlan, Mexico, on Monday.

Dirk Handke, who typically spends the winter months in Mexico, travelled nearly 1,000 kilometres from Mexico City to Mazatlan to witness the solar eclipse.

Handke was among approximately 32 million people in the path of totality as the moon's shadow crossed from Mexico into Texas around noon.

"I just witnessed the total solar eclipse. It's a very emotional experience! The totality lasted more than four minutes. It was during this time that many people were moved; some cried, others cheered. One can look directly at the sun during the totality and see the corona, which is incredible," Handke said.

Handke joins millions worldwide who witnessed the celestial event, which he described as akin to something from a science fiction movie.

"I had never seen a total eclipse before, and it was definitely worth coming here to see it. Minutes afterward, people danced in the streets. For four minutes, it felt otherworldly," he said.

The next total solar eclipse is not expected until Aug. 12, 2045, and Handke is aware he may not be around to see it.

"I am getting older, so I thought I should seize the opportunity to experience this eclipse, as there may not be another chance for me in the future."

Handke said he spoke with a Mexican science teacher before the eclipse, and as the moon passed in front of the sun, he observed tears streaming down her face.

"It was more of an incredible and emotional experience. In that moment, you didn't need to use eclipse glasses anymore. You could directly observe the total eclipse and see the corona, which was incredible," Handke said.

Despite the two-day motorcycle journey back to Mexico City, Handke said the trip was worth it and described it as a great celebration.

"It was a very emotional four to five minutes. I saw many people wiping their eyes. Shortly afterward, there was music and people dancing in the streets," Handke added.