I’ve seen some things in my time – but today’s total solar eclipse has eclipsed them all. Last night I was listening to eclipse chasers who’ve spent fortunes going to dozens of solar events, and I was thinking “why”?
Now I get it!
It was the best spectacle I’ve ever seen, far and away the most beautiful, and the most affecting. All around us, were “ooohs” and “aaahs” and a surprising number of deeply emotional reactions. Just after sunrise, the sky darkened again, it got colder, the birds stopped singing for a bit.
We watched it from the Palmer River Road House with a group of seasoned eclipse chasers. We were all blown away. And here’s the magic moment when totality arrived over FNQ.
All over FNQ today, people have been keeping an eye on the wildlife, to see how an eclipse might change their routine.
The eclipse came early in the morning, when some creatures are just getting up, others are trying to get to sleep. So does a sudden, unexpected two minute return of “night” confuse animals? Birds, flying foxes, even fish, could have their sleep and activity patterns mixed up.
We saw cows walking toward their daytime paddocks turn around and go back home as the sky darkened, and then turn again when the sun returned after the eclipse.
Listen to our wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen explain how the eclipse affected the critters of FNQ.
THROUGH INDIGENOUS EYES
The path of today’s solar eclipse passes over country that’s been home to indigenous people for tens of thousands of years.
The area around Laura is Quinkan country, named for the powerful spirit beings of the region. They’re central to the indigenous stories of this country. While you might not encounter one yourself, you will see them depicted in Aboriginal rock art at hundreds of sites all over Quinkan country.
Listen to Matt Trezise at Jowalbinna Station give an indigenous perspective on the eclipse. Was Halley’s Comet a visit from the rainbow serpent?
DANCE LIKE NO-ONE’S WATCHING – WELL ONLY 10 THOUSAND OR SO
There’s a huge dance music festival underway just down the road from Palmer River, on the old Maitland Downs cattle station. There’s almost 10,000 people grooving their way through eclipse day, in what’s essentially a temporary town in the scrub.
And there’s some great shopping opportunities, including Luke and Matt’s music stall. Some awesome musical instruments, but they’re more keen on teaching you to play than any hard sell. Listen to Phil Staley tuning up with Luke & Matt.
There’s more pictures from Palmer River and the eclipse on an earlier post