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Maitland Downs, Australia (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Maitland Downs, Australia

Map of Maitland Downs, Australia

November 14, 2012 Solar Eclipse with Diamond Ring

Reservoir in the remote Queensland bush.


Eastern Australia

11/14/2012: After arriving at the Palmer River Roadhouse, we knew our work was going to be cut out for us to find a place to camp out in preparation for the eclipse. There was some kind of festival at the station, but it was going to cost something like $500 to go to the festival. Moving back toward the coast was not going to be an option considering the clouds that had obscured the sun every morning since we arrived in Australia.

There were a lot of people setting up camp right along the roadside. This option looked nothing but hot and dusty, so that was going to be the last resort.

A week earlier, when we were in Daintree, some old man in a bottle shop had been talking about a second party near Maitland Downs. We took a drive down that way, and sure enough, there was a sign for yet another festival. We inquired, and since we were only staying for one night, we got a good price, sight unseen, for a makeshift camping area next to a reservoir.

After driving twenty-odd kilometers into the bush (and re-dusting the car that I had spent so much time trying to clean that morning), we arrived at a small festival of about 200 people. There was some very loud rave music going on, a few drunk and dusty road-warrior looking people, and a more or less flat spot to pitch the tent.

For the rest of the day, we drank beers and swam in the reservoir, not the kind of place that I would linger for too long, but good enough for viewing the sun. We did not see a single cloud for the entire afternoon!

That night, we partied a bit with the ravers finishing off every beer and a bottle of brandy to get a nice hangover ready for the 6:38 AM eclipse. From our vantage point, we did not see first contact as the sun was behind a hill, but about fifteen minutes later, the sun peaked up from behind the hill. There were no clouds at all, so we certainly picked the right spot.

Previous Visit (Keatings Lagoon Conservation Park: 11/13/2012)
Next Visit (Mareeba Wetlands: 11/14/2012)

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