Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland


Tonight's the night I kept saying in my head. My heart beat a little faster and a sneaky smile crept across my face as I thought more about it. My brain would tell me don't get too excited and I knew shouldn't, but just like a kid about to see Santa, I couldn't help it.
We set sail out into the Faxafloi bay away from the bright city lights of Reykjavik. Initially I was fixated by a giant orb of light which shot into the night sky. It was the Imagine Peace Tower. Only lit a two months of the year, the light was unveiled in 2007. As we sailed through the headland, towards this giant light into the sky my imagination took over.
It was cold. So very very cold. Elding offers and recommends jumpsuits for anyone sitting outside on the boat. I looked at the jumpsuits, weighing up my options. Russ scoffed, perhaps a little too cool for school. I assessed what I was already wearing & noted I'd likely have to remove 2 layers to fit into the biggest size. I thought not. I should have reconsidered...
We continued to sail further into the abyss as I noticed how clear the night sky was. The brightest stars glistening above me and soon fluid embers of reds, greens and blues would dance across the night sky before my very eyes.
The boat rocked gently against the tide as we anchored in the eastern-facing bay. I shivered perpetually as the cold started to set into my bones. I knew I needed to go inside to warm up.
Ealing has a bar on board it’s boats, downstairs in the cabin. While alcohol is available, I needed warmth and opted for a hot chocolate to defrost numb frozen digits.
As I stood downstairs the motion of the boat got to me. Taking deep breaths I watched the horizon through the port window go up and down as if on a audacious roller coaster. Feeling very nauseous I realised I forgot to pack motion sickness tablets. I haven’t been on a boat in years, so I didn’t even think of it. Fortunately Ealing is equipped for motion sickness and our helpful guide handed me some tablets. I hoped they were the quick action type. I went back upstairs in my six layers and maintained a wide stance with soft knees. Talking random things to take my mind off the relentless rocking. The skies remained dark, no dancing lights and no glimmers of hope.
After an hour of mooring our skipper called it a night. No lights tonight he said, we up-anchored and headed for the shore.
I admit I was gut-wrenchingly disappointed that my dream of seeing the northern lights wasn’t to be. In the same breath I must confess my woozy middle ear was happy to have my feet on dry and stable land.
Our time wasn’t a waste though, as Ealing offers complementary repeat tours for ticket holders until you see the northern lights. So even though we didn’t see the sky dancing warriors, tickets were stamped and a voucher provided.
So for the next trip to Iceland I’ll be ready and again hope for the northern lights to grace the sky.