Sunrise, Eclipse

Ooh, gotcha with the title! Yes, it’s Friday and that often means a Sunrise, Sunset post. It does today, too, but with a little extra.

There was a near-total eclipse visible in parts of the world today. Supposedly the UK was one place to see this, but it is a solidly London day of total cloud cover, so bad luck, most of us in the capital didn’t see anything. This does bring me back to nearly three years ago, though, when I stood on a ridge in Australia and watched a partial eclipse.

The eclipse was happening just after sunrise, so my Byron Bay hosts and I walked up the hill behind their house to a bit of national parkland. We sat on rocks amid the scrub brush and watched the sun rise over the hills and sea beyond us. I am certainly no morning person, but I make exceptions for incidents of natural beauty and/or rarity. This was worth the early wake-up call.

Sunrise over Arakwal

Sunrise over Arakwal National Park

Sunrise, Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay is the easternmost town in Australia, so that makes it first to see the sun every morning

After the sunrise, we waited a bit longer for it to disappear again. The others were using emergency blankets to look through, so they could look at the sun and see the eclipse. I was recovering from shingles of the eye and decided I therefore had enough eyesight troubles and didn’t need to tempt the gods by looking at the sun, so I made a jankity little pinhole camera thing (really I tried to line up two pieces of paper correctly every time I wanted to take a look). It wasn’t the same, but it was still cool to see the little circle of light get slowly edged out by the shadow of the moon.

Waiting for the eclipse

Waiting for the eclipse

If you saw the eclipse today, congrats! How did it look? Did you use a pinhole camera or did you risk your eyeballs and look straight on?

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My Top Ten Firsts of the Trip (So Far)

In no particular order:

1. First time driving on the left

Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

2. First time eating sushi (the real kind, with raw fish)

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

3. First time riding in a tuk-tuk

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

4. First time using crampons

Attaching metal spikes to my feet

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

5. First time drinking sake

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

6. First time riding a motorbike

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

7. First time eating kangaroo and camel

Yulara, Australia

Yulara, Australia

8. First time sailing

Whitsundays, Australia

Whitsundays, Australia

9. First time snorkeling

Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Kailua Kona, Hawaii

10. First time feeding an elephant

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

Australia by the Numbers

Miles traveled: ~6,030

Kilometers traveled (after all, it’s the unit of measure here): ~9,800

Methods of transport used: 5

Times an Aussie actually said “G’day, mate”: 0

Times an Aussie called me “mate”: at least 10

Times I heard the unofficial anthem “Livin’ on a Prayer”: 16, or that’s as high as I counted before I started crying as a stress response to hearing it

Days spent in medical care: 15

Sweet treats purchased after visiting doctors: 6

Possessive wallabies admired: 1

Wild kangaroos spotted, ever so briefly: 1

Parrots permitted to perch on my head: 1

Wild koalas spotted: 3

Wild penguins spotted: 8

House pets befriended: 3

Total days spent in Australia: 69

Total money spent: $6,098

Average per day: $88

Total money spent, not including airfare: $4,573

Average daily cost, not including airfare: $66

Germans encountered: ~10,000

Brits encountered: ~8,000

Americans encountered: 3

Days spent feeling sorry for myself and my sick body: 6

Days spent enjoying myself and feeling very fortunate indeed: 63

Lifelong dreams achieved: 2

kangaroo sign