Total solar eclipse in far north Queensland, 14th Nov 2012

Donna and I travelled up to Trinity Beach, about 20 minutes north of Cairns, for a holiday with a total solar eclipse in the middle of it.

We were really lucky as firstly we nearly didn’t make it up there at all as Jetstar cancelled our flight up and couldn’t get us another seat until Wednesday which would mean missing the eclipse and losing the accomodation we’d booked. Fortunately we were able to get a flight up with Virgin instead on the same day as our cancelled one, but it cost more than the refund from Jetstar. Then there was the weather; we arrived on a nice sunny Sunday and it looked quite promising, but Monday and Tuesday were both pretty cloudy and wet at times, so it wasn’t looking good.

Wednesday morning rolled around and we were up early (with three different alarms, just in case) and it was clearer than the previous days, but still plenty of broken cloud around.

First Contact, Obscured By Clouds #1
First Contact, Obscured By Clouds #2

There were probably a few thousand people around on Trinity Beach…

An audience for an eclipse, Trinity Beach, QLD

…who watched the partial phases nervously, but with growing excitement, through the cloud.

Peek-a-boo #1
Peek-a-boo #2

We were getting close to totality, but a large cloud was looming, and we wondered if we might miss the total eclipse phase!

Audience anticipation - eclipse or cloud?

Our luck held though, and we managed to see totality through broken cloud. :-)

Totality through the cloud!

Of course, after third contact and the end of totality the cloud started to clear and we had a good view for once.

After third contact - in a clear sky

The folks down in Cairns (including my friend Ian Grant from the Bureau of Meterology who lent me a 1976 solar eclipse filter) were not so lucky, they saw the partial phases but missed totality due to cloud. An American in front of him told him that was the third time in a row it had happened to him!