Thousands of Australians at sea to see the transit of Venus

Thousands of Australians enjoyed a prime position for the spectacular Transit of Venus today, as they sailed the waters of the South Pacific.

Travelling onboard three of P&O Cruises’ ships, the seafarers donned specially issued solar glasses and listened to lectures from astronomy experts as they viewed the transit.

A rare event, the transit occurs when Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun, making the planet visible on the Sun’s surface.  The next Transit of Venus will not occur until 2117.

Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel were sailing Pacific waters near New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji for the event, each carrying close to 2000 passengers.  

Pacific Dawn Cruise Director Paul Hancox, said the Transit was a very special occasion, with hundreds of passengers out on deck throughout the day watching the skies through their special glasses.

“The event was a great success and another once in a lifetime memory that P&O Cruises has created,” he said.

The cruises were a reminder of Captain James Cook who was sent to the South Seas to view the Transit of Venus in 1769.  After a successful viewing, Cook opened sealed orders from the Admiralty to go in search of the fabled ‘Great South Land’ which led to him landing at Botany Bay in 1770.