I have had the most amazing time since my last entry. On Tuesday, I drove up with my Dad and nephew to Innisfail, a small town in North Queensland. We stayed at my Aunty’s hotel there, where we were treated to free accommodation and food from her hotel kitchen for the next couple of days. It was fantastic and really great to see her.
There was a reason for our trip. On Wednesday, we woke up at 4:40am in the morning, hoping to see one of the most amazing natural occurrences - a solar eclipse in totality!
I had a dream a couple of months earlier where I had seen an eclipse and in my dream I found it to be amazing. I knew of the upcoming eclipse in Far North Queensland and this dream gave me the push I needed to go and see it. Lucky my Dad and nephew were eager to join the adventure.
There was a lot of doubt on this trip though. There were clouds all throughout the sky and the previous night there had been rain. The weather reported that Townsville would be a better place to see the eclipse, a place which we left the day before and drove almost 4 hours north from. We took this risk as Townsville only receives 96% of totality, while Innisfail receives complete totality.
For those that do not know much about eclipses, totality occurs when the moon completely covers the sun. In this time period you can look at the sky with naked eyes, and bathe in it’s visual stimulation. During partial eclipses, the best safe way to view them is through wearing protective specially designed glasses. Wanting the full effect, we took the risk for totality.
We drove to a place on the beach called Flying Fish Point and waited, hoping that the clouds would clear. But this didn’t happen. And hour had passed and we still hadn’t seen any of the eclipse. I was getting annoyed. Though at the same time in my head I was also thinking that I should just relax and believe. Believe that somehow the clouds would magically part. And that my experience was like a metaphor for life - how we worry and struggle, but in the end everything works out for the best. And we really should enjoy the journey to the fullest with the faith in the back of our minds that everything is works out for the best.
I prayed to God. Asking him that if it is true that everything will work out in my life that the clouds will part for us to see totality. I have tested God like this once before, the last time was while watching wild dolphins in the ocean. Wanting a magical moment, I asked God to give me a sign that everything will be alright in my life by getting the dolphins to jump in the air. They did, and with the sunset behind them it was a perfect experience.
So here we were. We had driven so far and I had just gotten off the phone to my Mum. She was in Townsville and was watching the eclipse in plain view from our driveway.
I looked at my iphone. We had only a few minutes until totality was set to occur. I was worried. Then something happened. The clouds parted. It was like a miracle. We put on our protective eyewear and could see the eclipse. And it was great. The sun was being enveloped by the moon. It started to rain, yet the sun still shined. And behind us was a rainbow.
Then as the minutes passed, it really started to happen. Suddenly it became really windy and it became darker. The birds were all freaking out and didn’t know what was happening. The street lights came on. And then totality happened and we took off our protective glasses. It was night. Everything was black apart for a ring of light around the moon which looked spectacular.
I have never experienced anything so surreal in my life! I will never forget the look my Dad and I shared as we saw this experience. It was one of amazement. Words could not describe the eerieness of this experience. But I understand now how wars have been ended in the past after an eclipse takes place over the battlefield. It is truly one of the most amazing experiences one could encounter.
I was enjoying the experience too much to get a good photo, however I did manage to capture this one:
It was like experiencing two days in one and I was so glad that I had made the journey to see it. I will remember this experience forever.
That afternoon we visited the Mamu rainforest. Australia has some of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, older than the Amazon rainforest, with many plant species being millions of years old and previously a food source for dinosaurs. The tropical rainforest in North Queensland is a wonderful place. On our trek in the rainforest we climbed up this viewing tower that was so tall it gave me chills and a certain level of vertigo. The second photo below is from this height. And what was worse is that the stairs on the tower were see through, so we could see right down to the ground - all from this height!
After we returned to the hotel we then went for a swim in the town swimming pool.. It is great hanging around with a nine year old. They have so much energy, and it makes you rise up to their standards.
The following day we visited the beach at Etty Bay, where the rainforest meets the sea. It is a spectacular place. A place where you would love to be deserted with a girl, enjoying the nature.
We had many of other journeys as well other than the ones I have listed above. It was a great trip, with the solar eclipse and the adventures being highlights. But what was also equally great was realising how generous my Aunty is, bonding with my father and nephew and enjoying an experience which we will hold onto. What was only two days, felt like at least a week. And there was never a dull moment.
I am now back in Townsville at my family home. All of my three nephews are over again and I am playing my role as uncle. Until next time.