Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

I had a funny feeling for this night even before we started the tour. For once, my boss described the upcoming tour in a positive way, and that’s damn rare. After a quick look at the weather and solar activity levels, I reached the conclusion that yes; we had some decent chances of seeing the Northern Lights. That sounded quite sweet to my ears, especially considering that the last two tours I did proved to be disastrous.

So yes, I jumped on the bus at half past eight and we started picking up people at various hotels. Then, when we had to get up to Þingholt hotel I jumped out of the bus (because you know, Reykjavik Main Street is only a one-way street). After picking up the guests there we headed back towards the bus, which wasn’t there. It seemed that it had to go on in order not to get a fine. I was really wondering where it was until I checked my phone: I had missed three phone calls from my boss and the driver because I still had my phone on silent mode (cuz you know, University and stuff). After a couple minutes, we managed to find the bus and actually start the tour. This was quite a unique way to start a tour.

After a little while, we then managed to escape the city lights of Reykjavik and started driving south towards the Eastern edge of the Suðurnes peninsula. The sky was quite clear and the moon lit up the landscape quite nicely. Then at some point some guests raised their voice: they thought that something might be going out outside. Our driver stopped the bus on the side of the road and I went out. That’s what I saw:

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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You can guess what happened next: I jumped back on the bus screaming” Northern Lights” like wacko. Everyone jumped out of the coach and placed themselves by a grassy patch by the road. This is what we saw:

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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It was quite sweet: There was virtually no wind, it wasn’t raining (or snowing, or hailing) and the ground was dry. I could just lie down on the grass and enjoy this great show. After a short while, the Northern Lights started to fade so we went back on the bus. At this point, I (and I think everyone) was real satisfied: We had seen quite strong Northern Lights and I really didn’t expect anymore Aurora.

But then, as we drove along the Ölfusá bay the Northern Lights started getting stronger. Like, really much stronger than before. We stopped by the restaurant in Eyrarbakkavegur and jumped out of the bus. Now I can safely say that no-one expected what happened then. Even the scientists on spaceweather.com had only forecasted a minor storm. What we saw was nothing minor whatsoever: It was one of the strongest Northern Lights storm I ever experienced, and it’s a veteran of over a hundred tours who’s talking.

I, logically, took lottsa pics. I actually managed, for the first time in a while, to get the focusing just right. Also the sandy beach by the restaurant made for a stable footing for my camera so I ended up taking over a hundred pictures. Here are some of the most decent ones:

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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Monstrous Northern Lights in Ölfusá

 

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You can certainly imagine that everyone was super happy after such an incredible display. That’s why I love my job; sometimes you end up coming back cold, wet and miserable but sometimes you end up with incredible surprises like this one. The best part is that I am also poised to tour tonight. Will the Northern Lights be back then? I have no idea; I’m just the guide…

 

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