Total solar eclipse 2002 December 4

in South Australia

Travelling to Victor Harbour safety warning

I wrote this satirical version of the Department of Human Services and Health official advice about eclipse eye safety; after a certain tabloid TV show in Adelaide parroted the DHS&H "advice" without bothering to check the facts.

That show provoked hundreds of emails and phone calls to me within hours of screening. My reply to you all is simply this:
Like most products and services, eclipse shades are safe if used in accordance with the manufacturer's directions printed on every pair. If you're too stupid to obey these directions, then by all means hide under your bed away from sunlight on December 4.

Note to our non-SA readers: Victor Harbour is a popular seaside resort about an hour's drive south of Adelaide. Note to our readers in Victor: you got picked because just about everyone in SA has been there (and half of Adelaide seemingly wants to retire to there). I like the place too.

The satire starts here:

The Department of Human Services & Health warns that there is no safe way of travelling between Adelaide and Victor Harbour; for whale-watching or for any other purpose.

People should not attempt to walk to or from Victor Harbour, with or without shoes, backpacks, water, a hat, or any other product not specifically designed for eighty kilometre journeys.

These devices do not provide protection from exhaustion, sore or blistered feet, bee stings, snakebite, or getting lost in the frequent night-time fogs near Mt Compass.

Other devices, such as Motor Vehicles, also do not provide protection. The Department advises that many people have been killed or permanently injured as a result of using Motor Vehicles to travel to and from Victor Harbour. Motor Vehicle deaths may occur suddenly and without warning. Motor Vehicle injuries may not become apparent until victims are revived after the event by medical personnel.

There are, however, two indirect ways of seeing Victor Harbour's whales:

  1. With reconnaissance or survey images. The Department of Lands, for example, sells aerial photos and satellite images of Victor Harbour. Some of these may include whales.
  3. By asking a friend, who already lives there, to send you some whale-related postcards or other visual souvenirs of Victor Harbour.

There are some devices known as Army Tanks which might be used to travel safely to and from Victor Harbour for whale-watching. People should seek appropriate expert advice before using Army Tanks for this purpose.

The satire ends here.

Seriously folks, use your eclipse shades and solar filters according to their manufacturers' directions and your eyes will be safe. The biggest sun-related dangers of this eclipse are sunburn and heatstroke -- you are, after all, in the Outback in summer time! The SA Cancer Council has some excellent advice about avoiding sunburn.

In case you jumped directly to this site from somewhere else, the eclipse homepage is here.

Copyright © 2002   Fraser Farrell. All rights reserved.