A Total Solar Eclipse – Even a Freo Partial one – Are you ready?

The countdown is on.

One of nature’s most spectacular events, a Total Solar Eclipse, is about to happen on Thursday, 20 April 2023.

It seems like every ship and her tender will be along the Ningaloo coast and off Exmouth to witness it!

Tens of thousands of stargazers and eclipse chasers from around the world are descending on our Ningaloo coast and Exmouth as we speak.

It’ll be the first time since 1972 that Western Australia has experienced the total solar eclipse.

The cruise ship Pacific Explorer arrived in Fremantle yesterday, 17 April around 9.30am after a 4-day cruise. Her departure last weekend created a traffic jam on the South Mole.

This is Pacific Explorer’s third visit to Fremantle during this cruise season and she will visit 5 more times until the end of May. So we will see lots of her over the next 6 weeks.

She departed again last night to join the enormous flotilla off the Ningaloo coast and Exmouth to witness the eclipse. Let’s hope the ship doesn’t tip over as the guests all rush to one side to see the darkness!

Exmouth is the only significant Australian town within the Path of Totality.

Onslow is also preparing for the event and will experience a 99.4% partial eclipse.

For those lucky enough to be on a cruise ship or on the ground around Ningaloo and Exmouth, the sun will completely disappear behind the moon for just 62 seconds at 11.30am on April 20 plunging the 41km wide Path of Totality into darkness.

The State Government has poured $22 million into preparing the area for the onslaught of visitors – by improving road access to Exmouth and deploying extra emergency services. There are overflow campsites along with thousands of volunteers and extra workers in place. Exmouth normally has a population of 2,500.

Between, 19-21 April, Exmouth is hosting a three-day ‘Dark Sky Festival’ with free performances celebrating Indigenous culture, and concerts by The Waifs and Hot Dub Time Machine.

But all is not lost if you remain in Freo. In Fremantle we will be able to experience a partial eclipse of about 77%. The views times are between 10.00am and 12.47pm. The forecast is looking good for clear skies. But be careful, looking directly at the sun can cause permanent eye damage.

Here’s a chart with viewing times across the country.

* STORY and photographs by our Shipping Correspondent, Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.


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