So, back in early June when I began booking our flights and rooms (I LOVE trip planning and at this point have gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself!) I realized pretty quickly that right around Kyrsten’s birthday there was going to be some trouble securing a room. One thing I’ve learned is to try to learn ahead of time what holidays might interfere with our travel. Nothing was showing up on the Aussie calendar so I did a little more digging.
Turns out there was going to be a full solar eclipse visible only in northern Australia on Kyrsten’s birthday!! The next time this would happen would be in 2000 years!
As we arrived in Port Douglas, we learned that it was to be the Mecca for eclipse viewing. So much so that some 80,000 people were expected to flood into this tiny town just as we were leaving and headed up to Cape Tribulation.We were unsure at this point of a lot of things. We weren’t sure it was that big of a deal. We didn’t know if we could see it from points north of Port Douglas. We had heard that grocery stores might sell out of food and all buses and rental cars and rooms were completely booked (we had fortunately had these long since reserved).
There we’re supposed to be raves in the mountains that lasted for days and all of the world’s astronomers had been planning to come for some five years!!
Everyone was selling eclipse viewing glasses. And if I had a dollar for every time someone asked if we were in Australia for the eclipse, we may have paid for the trip. It was THAT big of a deal over here.
We honestly didn’t think we cared that much, but we figured we were here and we might as well get up a little earlier (our body clocks were getting us up quite a bit earlier than usual anyway) and go see what we could see.
So we set the alarms for 5:00 am
and ventured out to our nearby Thornton Beach with a dozen or so other folks.
When we arrived at 6:00
a neat partial solar eclipse was visible with our glasses. The event was supposed to take place at 6:38
. At 6:35
clouds looked like they would eclipse the eclipse!! We said a little prayer and God made some serious magic happen. The clouds blew past and all of a sudden, the sun turned into a black circle with a ring of light around it. The surrounding sky turned from day to night.
Justin was video taping with his Go-Pro camera again and I will just post the video to show you what happened next. Though you can’t see the shadow over the sun through the camera, you should hear our excitement as the story unfolded…
We went right from here to Kyrsten’s birthday present. Zip lining! It was called jungle surfing here, and it was quite an experience! It’s try, most of rainforest life happens in the canopy, not at the floor so we saw some neat birds and trees and that one almost palm-sized neon green and black spider that landed on my hand!!!!
Oh, and we sailed through the jungle–sometimes upside-down. All of us very aware of how our Addie would’ve hated every minute of this adventure. Too high up for our girl. (Jungle surfing videos at the end of the blog post)
A tiny nap was in order after our morning excitement and a yummy lunch at a beachfront restaurant. I might add that restaurants here serve lunch from 12:00-2:00
and dinner from 6:00-7:30
. They’re not even open otherwise except for breaky. So you have to plan right if you want to eat!
We checked out the lodge swimming holes and on the hike down we met a spider that changed our lives. And made this scaredy-pants so creeped out that I sat on a towel and couldn’t make myself swim. I sat while they enjoyed the water and watched the freaky green and orange ginormous ants hike around me, and wished and wished that my family would hurry up and get me outta there.
Went to get gas after that at the only gas station and learned that it closes at 5:30
. So we decided to eat close by at our new favorite hangout–Lync-Haven.
Early to bed. Another big, fun day coming right up!