With Cape Grafton and False Cape in the background and Cairns in the foreground, here’s a time lapsed composition of the grand total solar eclipse in Cairns Queensland sunrise morning of 14 November 2012. Since the earlier part of the eclipse was cloud covered, the below composite is an inverted duplication of the upper part of the eclipse.

Even as local Cairns residents living by the beach of Yorkeys Knob, we too were solar eclipse chasers. We snubbed our beach and decided to go far far away. We booked our campground in Cape Tribulation for Monday and Tuesday and practised waking up at 4am Tuesday to get our body clocks ready for eclipse morning Wednesday. Upon reaching our secret destination in some beautiful but unpopulated beach, the tide was incredibly high and the wind howling, sending constant salt sprays onto every bit of our camera gear! “Abort, abort!” cried Yogi and we packed up and headed back to Cairns for Plan B but still checking out many other locations in Daintree along the way!

Plan B was the bedroom verandah of our friend Chris’ house at the hillside of Smithfield overlooking the City of Cairns. Eclipse Day 14 November 2012, our alarm went off at 4:30am and Yogi was all set up in half an hour – prior tinkering and steady preparations the afternoon before with two camera set-ups both fitted with eclipse filters.

First camera on the left for time lapse and another with the telescopic lens for the big sun/moon interlude! Yogi protecting his eye with a good cardboard box.

But the clouds loomed over the horizon. It got thicker and thicker as Chris’ eclipse guests started arriving! By 6am, the kitchen verandah was busy with people having all sorts of doomsday predictions that the clouds will not dissipate. Our friend Robert exclaimed, “Why did you buy THIS house, Chris?!”

With early morning daylight and thick clouds covering the sun, the surrounding ambient light very slowly dimmed and the cockatoos started squawking. From such a high elevation, we could see the beams of sunlight illuminating the sea lessen in intensity and everywhere else was slowly darkening all around us. At the eleventh hour, holes in the clouds opened and teased a glimpse of the eclipse, fully revealing itself on total solar eclipse – a dramatic grand entrance! Like magic, all illumination disappeared, the sky miraculously cleared, everything turned dark and the black moon had this wonderful halo with hints of red flares all around it! I know it’s all very scientific with chromospheres and such but my God, it was simply mind blowing. It was an experience we can replay in our minds forever. No wonder eclipse chasers become addicted! It was phenomenal!

The moon bites the sun.

YouTube link to our experience of the eclipse!