For the fourth night in a row I had been drafted to guide and as often, I was a bit fearful. As you probably have heard, Thursday had been a high point in term of solar activity and it is quite common to have a sharp decline in solar activity (and consequently in Northern Lights) immediately afterwards.
We nevertheless picked our guest as usual, this time a in a 19 seater mini-bus and drove out of the city. For this particular night, we thought about driving towards Þingvellir as it appeared that the clearest skies would be East of the city.
We consequently drove there and stopped by a dale a couple kilometers before the Lake. It was extremely windy and I do believe that everyone (me included) suffered greatly from the cold. The skies were almost completely clear though, and a long-exposure shot from my loyal camera revealed some weak Northern Lights Activity.
Still, it was way too cold to stay out there, and as there was nothing we could pick up with our naked eyes, we drove directly to Þingvellir. There, we were greeted with a virtually pitch-black sky with no activity whatsoever. This was a huge letdown and we decided to drive Southwards, towards Selfoss, in order to see if clearer skies could not be reached.
A couple minutes later, after we had circumvented the Lake and were more or less at the level of the Kerið crater, our driver Bennie stopped the bus: “There, there’re Northern Lights”. “Are you sure?” “Ninety-nine point ninety-nine sure”. And yes there indeed was a Northern Light!.
The Aurora wasn’t really strong though, but one could clearly see the Arch shape morphing in the now totally clear skies. As our designated parking spot was relatively warm and not windy at all, we stopped there for a while until the Aurora disappeared almost completely and then continued our journey south.
Just a minute or two later, though, I spotted The Aurora, getting way stronger and climbing higher up the skies. We stopped one more time and rushed out of the bus to witness the greatness of a flaming Aurora overlooking a no-less great Haystack!
On the other side of the sky, the other Eastern-part of the Aurora got stronger too, and directly underneath them was a flock of fluffy Icelandic horses, wondering what the Hell these strange humans were doing!
The Northern Lights this time were much greater and everyone entered a much merrier state of mind. We then decided to dive to Selfoss, which was only a couple kilometers away, and then get back to Reykjavík.
That was the plan at least but as usual, the Northern Lights interfered! Just as we were leaving Selfoss and entering into Hveragerði, the Aurora got even stronger, taking a huge chunk of the sky! Bennie then stopped the bus on the side of the road and left us rushing out to behold a really strong Aurora!
Still, despite the very neat Lights we were seeing, it was dead-windy out there and clouds were quickly coming in. In less than ten minutes the sky was completely overcast and the Aurora disappeared. That’s when we decided to drive home. We came back to town maybe an hour late, but I think that for everyone involved, this wasn’t a problem at all!