Our travels and activities for solar eclipses and associated events.
Total Solar Eclipse 14 December 2012
Mckay Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Plan was to observe this total solar eclipse from the edge. Terry Cuttle of Australia provided details of observation spots. As the eclipse was low on the horizon, observation on the northern edge was not an option. Maybe with a 4x4 yes. So the southern edge was the choice. David Herald provided some info, but it was Paul Maley who gave positions to observe from the southern edge and where a clear horizon view would be possible. Michael Zeiler mapped the positions in detail and off we go...
Some contacts upfront with some IOTA ES and David Dunham and we would meet on the southern edge near Innisfail with Konrad Gull from Germany.
Our trip in Australia we set off in the north. Traveling in camper van and Cape Tribulation stole our hearts. Beautiful rain forrest and amazing landscapes. Cantering on horses in the woods and on the beach ... Being on the coast we booked our selves for snorkelling on one of the best places in the world: the Great Barrier Reef. From Cape Tribulation area Ocean Safaris is the only provider to go off shore, 20 km at Mackay Cay reef island, and offers half day snorkelling. We have our own gear and have been snorkelling at many places in the world. This is the best!
Ocean Safaris offered an early morning raft trip to the Mackay Cay sand reef island to observe the eclipse, leaving at 5h in the morning and return after 4th contact. Damn! That is a once in a life time opportunity. Never will we have the possibility to observe an eclipse from a sandy reef island, size of a tennis field in the ocean! It has been cloudy any now and then rainy the few mornings before. Even in a clouded out sky, observing darkness from the reef sandbank would be unique!
We made arrangements with the crew and they were over the moon we joined and as experienced eclipse chases took telescopes and cameras on board.
They picked us up at 04h30 from the camping and including the 2 of us, we were with 13 on the raft and set off for a very bumpy ride to the island. Bad luck?
The night before and also eclipse morning is was clear skies! Too good to be true! Wow. On our bumpy ride, we observed sunrise and before we could set up the gear on the island, first contact progressed.
It was clear but here and there we had some small clouds. As long as they would not be in front of the sun at totality. It was unique, it was exotic, it was so special! Horizon 360 degrees, never had that for any solar eclipse or any astronomical observation.
We had two C90 Celestron telescopes with us of which one on the same tripod the 1000mm video camera parallel. As well a Nikon for general photography and 2 iPhones for some panoramic pictures. The crew equipped with welding helmet and sunglasses.
Halfway partial phase, Peter, owner of Ocean Safaris, noticed correctly that the sky got darker and colours became eery. The first phase went so fast. Soon it was a small crescent. Showing the crew in the scope and let themselves take pictures through the eyepiece.
Baily's beads, long diamond ring and bright long chromosphere. Totality would be 1m25s for this location. Still amazed by the 360 degrees view and observing totality with the naked eye I realised that the solar filter was still on the scope. The view was amazing and prominences at 11h and 5h. But than again chromosphere and diamond ring. Do not look! Filters back!
What was it quick! Did not see the shadow cone coming in or going out. The 360 degrees horizon was rather bright and the eclipse was not that very dark. No shadow bands. Venus appeared at totality but still could be seen approx 5 minutes after totality. Probably did not see it earlier due to small clouds at that spot and rather bright sky. Not seen Saturn and not Mercury either. But again, it was not a dark eclipse. The corona was bright and rather symmetrical. No obvious strong streamers and very much as the predicted corona shape published a few days before.
During the second phase the crew provided champagne, sandwiches and loads of fresh exotic fruit. Now and then a view and some footage. There were plenty of small sunspots and they all reappeared one by one.
Due to the excitement we forgot totally about the high tide which would be 3 meters and at about 9h. By a sudden a big wave came all over our gear while we were packing off...What an unique eclipse. Could not celebrate better my 40 solar eclipse observation! We went back to Cape Tribulation with the raft, completely satisfied and had a fry up breakfast served by Ocean Safaris. We could not resist to go out again the same afternoon and snorkel around in this marine paradise once more. Very bumpy rides but worth while!!!
Next one May 2013 for the annular solar eclipse.
Panoramic picture of Mackay Cay between contact I and II
Mackay Cay Great Barrier Reef and Ocean Safari raft
Mackay Cay position and eclipse circumstances
Jo and I with the Ocean Safari crew on Mackay Cay
Our set up on Mackay Cay
Our little "island" and set-up for this 40th solar eclipse (Picture Ocean Safari)
Phone picture through telecope (Picture Ocean Safari)
Snorkling after to eclipse near Mackay Cay
Our solar eclipses (and Transits) observed ...
Partial Solar Eclipse 29 April 1976 in Hasselt, Belgium
Total Solar Eclipse 16 February 1980 in Robinson Island, Kenya
Total Solar Eclipse 31 July 1981 in Tsortandy, Kazakhstan (USSR)
Partial Solar Eclipse 20 July 1982 in Cadzand, Netherlands
Total Solar Eclipse 11 June 1983 in Tandjung Kodok, Java (Indonesia)
Partial Solar Eclipse 04 December 1983 in Herentals, Belgium
Annular Solar Eclipse 30 May 1984 in Hyco Lake, North Carolina (USA)
Total Solar Eclipse 18 March 1988 in General Santos, Mindanao (Philippines)
Total Solar Eclipse 22 July 1990 in Suomujärvi, Finland
Total Solar Eclipse 11 July 1991 in San Blas, Mexico
Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1992 in La Paloma, Uruguay
Partial Solar Eclipse 21 May 1993 in Nybyen, Svalbard (Spitsbergen)
Transit of Mercury 06 November 1993 in Blenheim, New Zealand
Partial Solar Eclipse 13 November 1993 in Invercargill, New Zealand
Annular Solar Eclipse 30 May 1994 in Niagara Falls, Canada
Total Solar Eclipse 03 November 1994 in Sevaruyo, Bolivia
Annular Solar Eclipse 29 April 1995 in San Pedro de la Bendita, Ecuador
Total Solar Eclipse 24 October 1995 in Angges, Sangihe Talaud (Sulawesi, Indonesia)
Partial Solar Eclipse 17 April 1996 in Mahu, Tubuai (French Polynesia)
Partial Solar Eclipse 12 October 1996 in Cezme, Turkey
Total Solar Eclipse 09 March 1997 in Mo He, China
Partial Solar Eclipse 02 September 1997 in Frenchman Bay, Albany (Australia)
Total Solar Eclipse 26 February 1998 in Fort Cuyler, Antigua
Annular Solar Eclipse 22 August 1998 in Teluk Mahkota, Malaysia
Transit of Mercury 15 November 1999 Sedona, Arizona, US
Annular Solar Eclipse 16 February 1999 in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory (Australia)
Total Solar Eclipse 11 August 1999 in Tiran, Iran
Partial Solar Eclipse 25 December 2000 in Long Beach Island, New Jersey (USA)
Total Solar Eclipse 21 June 2001 in Boets Farm, Chisamba (Zambia)
Annular Solar Eclipse 10 June 2002 in Chimo, Mexico
Total Solar Eclipse 04 December 2002 in Singelele, Musina (South Africa)
Transit of Mercury 07 May 2003 in Gilbraltar
Annular Solar Eclipse 31 May 2003 in Skippie Geo, Scotland (UK)
Transit of Venus 08 June 2004 Mycolos, Greece
Partial Solar Eclipse 14 October 2004 in Waikiki, Oahu (Hawaii)
Annular Solar Eclipse of 08 April 2005 in Playa Coronado (Panama)
Transit of Mercury 08 November 2006 in Dallas, Texas US
Annular Solar Eclipse of 03 October 2005 in Camping El Escorial, Spain
Total Solar Eclipse of 29 March 2006 in Side, Antalya (Turkey)
Total Solar Eclipse of 01 August 2008 in Levye-Chemy, Novosibirsk (Siberia)
Total Solar Eclipse of 22 July 2009 in Xixi, Huangzou (China)
Annular Solar Eclipse of 15 January 2010 in Kovalam, Kerala (India)
Total Solar Eclipse of 11 July 2010 in Mangaia, Cook Islands
Partial Solar Eclipse 04 January 2011 in Bournville, England
Transit of Venus of 05 June 2012 Big Island Hawaii
Total Solar Eclipse of 14 December 2012 in Mackay Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Australia