Cruise boats will certainly be one of the favorite methods to see this eclipse, coming as it does toward the end of the northern hemisphere winter, and in a location which is relatively inexpensive to reach. A quick glance at 1 shows that the favorable cloud statistics which prevail along the South American coast also extend well offshore, decreasing by only a few percent between Aruba and the Leewards. With the mobility which comes with ship-board observing, and the ready availability of weather information, it is hard to see how the chances of seeing the eclipse could be anything less than a certainty, provided there is sufficient leeway built into the sailing schedule to allow small diversions to less cloudy spots.
Meticulous photographers however will find shipboard observing to be frustrating. The rolling deck is a difficult place to obtain long exposure photographs, or even hold a telescope on the Sun for more than a brief period. Unfortunately the steady trade winds across the Caribbean and the long fetch from the Leeward Islands to the Gulf of Venezuela combine to bring wave heights which average nearly 1.5 meters. Seas surrounding the Galápagos Islands are a little lower - about 1 meter on average, though expedition boats are likely to be smaller and thus more affected by the prevailing seas.
Calmer seas can be found in the lee of islands and in bays, particularly in the Gulf of Venezuela opposite Puerto Fijo. Other locations, perhaps west of Curaçao or behind the Leeward Islands, come at the expense of eclipse duration, since they would not be on the center line. These choices will likely be dictated by the itinerary of the cruise boat or yacht, and the flexibility of the schedule. There are numerous locations where a cruising expedition could drop off land parties and then heading off for a more central position to extract the maximum duration from the path.
Adapted from NASA RP 1383 "Total Solar Eclipse of 1998 February 26".
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