Yorkeys Knob, Cairns, Australia
Posted May 17, 2012
Shooting stars, supermoons and the northern lights are occurrences that, although spectacular, are a dime a dozen. Solar eclipses, on the other hand, are not only rare, they a stunning reminder of how amazing the cosmos are. The best viewing sports during this year's second solar eclipse are at the northeastern tip of Australia. During an Australian cruise, passengers will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness this unforgettable event from the comforts of a luxury vessel.
On November 14, the Dawn Princess will set sail from Port Douglas, Australia, and after cruising for several miles, will pause for a few brief minutes during which passengers can look toward the sun as it's completely blocked by earth's satellite. Appropriately, the eclipse will occur moments after sunrise and passengers will find it difficult not to gasp in awe as they witness this wonderful event.
How to view a solar eclipse
Even though the sun will be completely blocked during the solar eclipse, harmful UV rays still emit from a halo of light surrounding the moon. Passengers who look directly at the phenomenon without using special glasses or pinhole projectors risk permanent retinal damage.
To make a pinhole apparatus, viewers need only poke a hole through a piece of cardboard and project the small ray of light onto a white piece of paper. This makeshift contraption lets passengers watch the eclipse as if they are watching a science fiction film.
Cheer on the runners during Port Douglas' Solar Eclipse Marathon
Numerous cities throughout Australia have front-row seats for the solar eclipse, and in Port Douglas, locals will participate in the first-ever solar-eclipse-themed marathon. Princess passengers who would rather stay on land during the cosmic event can participate in the marathon by yelling encouraging statements to the athletes who want to enjoy a few precious minutes of shade as the moon passes in front of the sun before beginning their 26.2-mile race.
Catch some rays before they disappear
Passengers who opt for the land-viewing experience can spend the day on Four Mile Beach not only watching the marathon, but catching the rays before they hide behind the moon. During the southern hemisphere's spring and summer months, which run in opposition to the northern hemisphere's warmer season, the golden sands along the Australian coast come alive with adventure-seeking locals and tourists. Kids can explore the area and dig for sand crabs while their parents relax in the water or on the endless shore. The beach's gentle curve provides an ideal walking or jogging path for Australia cruise passengers, and due to the lack of development, vacationers will feel as though they're on a deserted island.
What to do in Port Douglas
Passengers who would rather explore the city during the eclipse have numerous activities to choose from, including visiting the Rainforest Habitat. During this short Australian shore excursion, travelers will walk through three different environments: the wetlands, the grasslands and the rainforest. From the vantage point of the lush wilderness, Princess passengers can fix their pinhole projector and watch the eclipse as colorful lorikeet birds make their way through the trees.
If nature experiences aren't enough, travelers can also opt for the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway tour across bridges and through spectacular waterfalls. Built in the late 19th century, this railway connects Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands and traverses through the Kuranda Mountains.