I really really love my job sometimes. And sometimes not. You can never know when starting a tour if you’ll end up happy, having delivered the goods to your hopeful guests or ride home for hours in the gloomy atmosphere of failure.
Obviously if I write today it’s because last night’s tour was successful. Yes, we indeed did see Northern Lights on Saint-Patrick’s day? Too good to be true? Let me tell you how it went:
Firstly, the night before had been horrendous. We drove waaay beyond Borgarnes something like 80 kilometers away from Reykjavík but the only thing we did experience was the sting of hailstones. For Saint-Patrick’s day however, the skies were supposed to be clear for most of the night, maybe in part due to the uncommon (at least for Iceland) cold temperature of about minus seven Celsius (about eight miles and three gallons in Fahrenheit I think…).
So we drove out of town, still heading North. We were just minutes away from entering the Hvalfjörður tunnel when our driver Bennie spotted something in the sky. We quickly turned to a tinier, less-frequented road by the side of the Fjord and jumped out of the bus. As expected, the Northern Lights was already there:
I was a bit dumbstruck to be fairly honest. Just prior to leaving town the Solar Activity Levels were at ZERO! So being able to see anything that early was surprising even for me. Not knowing if the lights would stay or not, we waited for maybe half-an-hour before it died out completely. We then went back into the bus and drove a bit further and stopped by Laxá Í Kjós.
By then, The skies were still completely clear but there were no Aurora out whatsoever. We went and gazed at the beautiful frostbitten fjord, lit up by a low-lying Full-Moon. Still, most people were not expecting that cold of a weather and became Frost-bitten themselves. After maybe 15 minutes almost everyone was back in the bus.
At that moment I went on to chit-chat with one of the few wacko still outside and the conversation went something like this:
Me: “Everything’ alright?”
Him: “Yes, sure, but there are no Northern Lights at All!”
Me: “I know, maybe what we saw previously was all that was to happen tonight”
Him: “So what’s the plan then?”
Me: “Well, we will stay here a little longer and see if anything happens but if we don’t get any signs of the Lights in a while we will just be driving back.”
Him: “Hey what’s that thing over there?”
Me: “OMG it’s there, it came back!”
I then proceeded to run to the bus and forcefully take everyone out in record speed. What we witnessed was a surprisingly fine display of bright arches of Lights flickering over the Fjord like a crown:
I even managed to get one pretty neat shot of the Lights and a beautiful little shooting star, I am quite proud of myself:
The Lights were also surprising in the sense that they hovered directly overhead, something that only appears in rare occasions. I got some nice shots of this too:
After this wonderful display, everyone was, I think, satisfied so we headed home and even got back in the city a little bit earlier than expected. But again, when it comes to northern Lights, you never know what to expect, you may even see the sky turning green on Saint-Patrick’s day!