Decisions, decisions! Stay in Port Douglas and brave the forecast cloud, or head inland thirty miles or so, and still risk a stray strand of cloud obscuring our view at the crucial moment?
Set off the night before with borrowed camping gear, or set off before 3am and hope to find a decent viewpoint by the road?
In the end I relied on Harry's instinct and we got up at about 2:30, had a rapid cup of tea, chucked essentials in the car and headed for the hills.
We'd been warned about light-seeking suicidal kangaroos and cattle on the unfenced roads, but met neither as we drove through the dark.
We passed the village of Mount Carbine, and noticed several sets of vehicles parked at the roadside - where the sandy verges were wide enough and not too rough. We chose a position quite high upon a straight section of road leading west. It was still very dark and I have never seen a more magnificent display of stars, with the Milky Way living up to its name, and Orion high overhead. As day began to dawn, the stars slowly faded, and we watched some lingering low cloud on the eastern horizon. Was it low enough for the sun to rise above it before E time?
Birds began their morning calls across the arid landscape.
A few more cars arrived - and we stayed put, testing out the eclipse glasses, which were totally black until the sun appeared. It was going to be above the cloud.We watched the moon's shadow begin to eat away at the sun. We were still holding our breath in case of wisps of cloud. The light was growing weaker, colder. Our shadows were still clear and sharp and very long.
As the sun's disc was completely covered we had a brief period of darkness and then the magical effect of the sun's corona and the diamond ring shone out for a few moments before the moon's shadow moved out of the way gradually.
More to come . . .