Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Last night we began our week-end getaway trip to Iceland. We originally planned this trip a few months ago with the intent to see the aurora borealis in Iceland and if possible see a partial solar eclipse. Statistically, the best time to see the northern lights is near the equinoxes. And generally its best to view during a new moon. This year, a total eclipse was occurring on the spring equinox over Svalbard and the Faroe Islands; only narrowly missing Iceland. So a trip this weekend was a perfect match.
Ironically we almost saw the aurora a couple of days ago back in Maryland, when one of the most powerful solar storms in a decade hit earth. Sadly it was not dark enough yet on our side of the planet to see anything. No matter though, we still had this Iceland trip.
The flight from DC to Iceland occurred overnight so we got seats on the port side of the plane to try to see the northern lights while in the air. We did get to see the aurora from the plane (a little), somewhere over the waters between Labrador and Greenland. Rachel took some great pictures. *Unfortunately though, both of our SD card readers are not working properly so we couldn´t upload them to the blog post.
The rest of the flight went smoothly and we landed on schedule. We didn´t sleep on the plane. It took an hour to get through the airport and another hour to take the transfer bus from the airport to the hotel. The eclipse started at 8:38 AM, and we made it to the hotel with only a few minutes to spare.
Luckily though, this is our fifth eclipse together and we are pros at this by now. We got off the bus, and set up our cameras and filters quickly in front of the hotel and got to work taking pictures. We didn’t bother to check in either, our bags were out there with us!
Many first time eclipse watchers would join us outside the hotel. We provided guidance and lent extra filters and glasses for people viewing or trying to photograph an eclipse for the first time. By the time of maximum eclipse, there were about 50 people outside the hotel with us viewing the eclipse. We were the only ones who spent all two hours watching the spectacle. Most people only watched for about 10-30 minutes. Rookies…
The weather was very cooperative for the eclipse. Unlike usual Iceland weather, it was mostly sunny. The only clouds were low lying thin clouds that barely obstructed our pictures. Have a look below.
Following the eclipse we had a quick-lunch and then took a bus to the blue lagoon. The blue lagoon is a major tourist attraction and made the National Geographic 25 wonders list. It is a huge natural hot salt water spring and the water is a milky turquoise color. It also serves as a spa. We thought it was a bit too developed and commercialized, but we enjoyed several relaxing hours in the hot spring and had a natural silica clay facial.
In the evening we were supposed to go out on a northern lights viewing tour. But it was cancelled due to bad weather.We were simultaneously disappointed and relieved. We really need the sleep.
Tomorrow we go on a tour of the Golden Circle: seeing waterfalls, rock formations, and geysers. And in the evening we will try to see the northern lights again.
Total Steps (not counting the walking in the water at the blue lagoon): 6,577