For this eclipse I travelled to Australia with a trip of the Dutch Djoser travel organisation. Our eclipse viewing site was at Palm Cove, about 30km north of Cairns. Together with thousends of other eclipse tourists and a dozen of TV crews it was a big event. The beautiful palm beach would be the most beautiful eclipse location to date. It was a very tense early morning because the weather forecast did not promise favorable weather conditions as cloud build-up already started in the early morning and there was chance for rain.
We saw the sun rising however inmediately covered by clouds. So we missed first contact. The long waiting started. Clouds kept coming and people became pessimistic although sometimes the sun popped through the clouds, already partly covered by the moon.
About 20 minutes from 2nd contact the clouds started collapsing due to the eclipse-cooling. The sun appeared, for 80% covered by the moon. Lucky for us, the clouds kept collapsing and clear holes became bigger. About 15 minute before totality the vicinity of the sun was quite clear. A minute before totality we saw the sky darkening rapidly and the sun (now a tiny crescent) started twinkeling like a very bright star. Then the last rays shined like a bright diamond and it became dark. The sky was only lit by the corona, surrounding a deep black disk, the total eclipsed sun!
It was a very spectecular and surrealistic sight, the dark blue-grey sky with large clouds, the red to orange horizon and the palm beach setting. Time went fast because after only two minutes a bright diamond ring appeared and.... clouds covered the sun. It really was a close one!
For me it was the most beautiful and most spectecular total eclipse I has ever seen, also because of the changing colors from the sunrise! Here are some pictures.