Saturday, June 14, 2014

Australia Eclipse Cruise November 14, 2012.

The blackout moments were coming to Australia November 14th 2012.  With the rainy season approaching, we elected to offer a solar eclipse cruise on the Dawn Princess.  We ended up with 48 people in our group.  Most arrived in Sydney a day or two before the cruise. I arrived early and took a side trip to Melbourne.  We boarded the ship and went to the top deck for the castaway party. I passed on the $14 AUD foo-foo cocktails and laughed when the wind promptly blew over a cart full of them.

We prearranged a private shore trip to the Koala reserve up the river in Brisbane.  The river boat met us at the pier below the Queen Victoria Bridge. We snaked up the river to the preserve, which was really a large zoo.  Photos with koalas and viewing many Australian animals passed the day. Our private trip was priced much less than Princess Cruise lines. About half our group took advantage of this great offer.

The next night we had our cocktail party aboard the Dawn Princess. We finally go to met everyone.  We spent the previous day delivering tee shirts to our guests and meeting some for the first time. Some picked up their shirts now.  We had many past clients aboard.  We did meet many because we were seated in the same section of the dinning room for second seating.  Some opted for first seating too.

We missed our port of call at Townsville due to heavy seas. They said swells were 8-12 feet.  We were chopping at the bit to get off the ship at Airlie Beach. We took the local ferry to Daydream Island, swam in its pool, ate lunch, took a dip on the beach, and hiked through the rain forest.

We get in to Port Douglas after a day at sea. Here we took a catamaran to the Great Barrier Reef. It was a rough ride.  Recall that the seas were rough, that is why we missed a port earlier in the week.  Once we were anchored we had a great lunch aboard including giant shrimp. We snorkeled until the tide changed and the reef was 6 inches under the surf. Back to the ship we go, in eager anticipation of tomorrow's total solar eclipse.

Aboard we had seminars from Tropical Sails Corp, the Princess photography team, and two guest lecturers aboard.  The Captain gave us the plan and told us the starboard side of the ship would be perpendicular to the eclipse. This will enable all with starboard side cabins to observe it from their room and plenty of deck space on the ship for the rest of us.  Our cabin stewards placed Eclipse Shades from Rainbow Symphony on our doors. We rose early and set up on deck.

The clouds came an went and had everyone nervous.  Just as in our scouting trip two years prior, the clouds dissipated after sunrise.  This time new clouds formed due to the cooling effect of the solar eclipse. We saw the whole eclipse as the clouds came into and out of view. We heard that land was hit and miss and they saw parts of it, so being at sea was a good choice. The video pretty much captures the mood.  The Tropical Sails Corp's people were easy to spot in their royal blue tee shirts.

Three days at sea to get back to Sydney.