(Or so I thought.)
We were on the hunt for the elusive northern lights; Standing out in the gusty winds and with high hopes and prayers of seeing the dancing Aurora Borealis.
This was already after being cancelled 2 nights in a row due to poor conditions, but we finally confirmed and on our 'Northern Lights Mystery Tour' out into the darkness.
While it might come off sounding a bit mysterious, and perhaps as though there's even a touch of danger sprinkled in there.
I'm sorry to do this, but I have to burst that bubble right now..
With door to door service, a small shuttle came to pick us up and there I was thinking we'd be a part of a small group, heading out in search of this amazing phenomenon.
Instead, once we were picked up, we were driven to the main lot where we'd board a larger bus (if we had our vouchers), being that we didn't we were told to go into the office and get a copy of our paperwork.
Once this extra chore was accomplished (apparently we weren't the only one without printing our vouchers), we came out to find a very massive queue and several buses lined up, all heading in the same direction.
To see the Northern Lights!!!
Now as much as I want to see these little beauties swirling around, I'm really not one for crowds and the romance was quickly being sucked right out of this bucket lister!
We finally found a bus with enough seats (4) and boarded like packed little sardines.
We were informed that it was going to be around a 45 minute drive out of Reykjavik and I got all comfy cozy in my seat (next to Dominic), so there was pretty much no choice in the matter - I was gonna be rocked to sleep!
There were at least 8-10 buses full of 50 people each!
That's 400-600 people in this field of dreams all waiting to see the swirling lights.
It was pitch black out, and I couldn't see a thing, so it's good that I had already set up my camera. It was also WINDY! So that meant that we were cold!
And eventually one bus load after the next began to leave the area; our's was 2nd to last - I was hoping that we knew something that the others didn't...not vice versa!
Finally I heard the engine on our bus start, just as I started to feel droplets fall from the sky. Ugh
Time to drive off and find another cold dark windy field and wait the 5 Icelandic minutes for the weather to change.
It was gonna be a long night...
A few days later...
Northern Lights Mystery Take 2...
At the start of tonight's tour, the guide had educated us on the science behind the Aurora Borealis
While it was all very interesting, she had also informed us of the 3 necessary conditions for us to have the opportunity to witness the amazing lights in the sky:
#1 - Luck!
#2 - Luck!
And #3 - Luck!
The other necessary conditions include:
#1 - A Dark Sky
#2 - A Clear Sky
And #3 - Solar activity - Higher Activity - More Spectacular Lights!!!
On this night the buses were all heading south to the Garður Peninsula Historical Museum, and Lighthouse.
Was it going to be...
Another night, another dozen buses, another waste of time???
Where oh where are these mysterious northern lights??
This time around, the company took us to the Garður Lighthouse, and while I luv visiting/photographing lighthouses, I do prefer to see them in the daylight.
I must say, as much at this point as I'd really like to see the northern lights, I quickly realized that I'm really not cut out for this.
I'm more of an instant gratification type of gal. Playing this waiting game just doesn't do it for me. I get BORED! And doing it with kids, apparently regardless of them both being teenagers, was almost pure torture on this second go round!
Cosette was either bebopping to the tunes on her iPod while she sang along, or else she was complaining up a storm.
Obviously she takes after me and has no patience at all, but the complaining I could really do without!
Complaining about the situation has not once ever made it a better situation.
Come 11pm, and Cosette complaining about stepping in a puddle and having a wet and uncomfortably cold foot, I agreed that we could/should take a break and sit in the bus to warm up for a while. We hopped onboard and found that we certainly weren't the only ones with this bright idea!
After a short while Cosette had dozed off, and by 11:45p I figured that we should take another peak outside in hopes of finally seeing the lights!
Dominic and I stepped off...
Of the bus and stood nearby again staring into the sky, and again seeing nothing at all. At this point I had overheard one of the guides mention that they were going to be holding a meeting at 11:50p to figure out what the next step in our game plan was.
So I figured that we would just stay out there and wait, until we heard anything further.
People were all rather disappointed and dismal by this time of the night.
When all of a sudden...
At the strike of midnight I heard a yell from nearby "The Lights! The Lights!"
I saw nothing, and called the man a liar - he insisted that he was speaking the truth, and pointed us in which direction to look. And to my disbelief I saw a light in the clear sky!
It was as though someone had turned on the switch at exactly 12am, and there it was for us all to see!
We actually saw them! The solar activity level must've been low, because these were certainly NOT what I was expecting of hoping for, but at least we had a glimpse, and then they began to quickly fade away as if they never existed to begin with. But at least we had caught a glimpse of these mysterious Northern Lights!
In the midst of it all, I had Dominic run into the bus and fetch Cosette, she woke up and came out to see what the rest of us were staring at, and she wasn't very impressed. And of course by this stage in the game, I didn't have my camera set up and ready to go, so I have no pictures either! How lame!
Oh well, maybe it'll be more spectacular and I'll be camera ready next time...if I have the patience to go fishing for the Northern Lights once again.