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Aurora Hunting with the Kids

We’ve been in Iceland for 6 nights.

The months of October and November are a bit slow over here, thinking about activities. Most of the exhibitions, parks, farms and other touristic stuff open only for the Summer months (that ends in September 30th.) So we drove to places to find a locked door. The weather hasn’t been good for outdoor activities as well. It’d be nice to do some hikes and get closer to nature. We came prepared for the cold (around 4 Celsius usually, so not too bad compared to Ireland) but the winds are crazy! Around 30-40km/h.

Even then, we managed to do some nice stuff. Earlier this week we went to the Zoo, it has a great playground! But it’s probably nicer in the Summer. Yesterday, we visited the Viking World, it’s a museum that tells the story about the viking settlements in Iceland (which started in 874 A.D.) with some nice artifacts in display. You can dress up in viking hats and gowns, and they have a replica of a viking ship that was dug up in the island. This replica has sailed from Iceland to New York in the year 2000 (if I remember correctly)! The girls had loads of fun with the viking costumes and in the interactive exhibition that explained the History and Fate of their gods.

Today the plan was to stay at home because Esdras got a cold. But the sun was so beautiful that we decided to drive through the Reykjanesbaer Peninsula and look for a lake that we didn’t find last time. The sun was shining but the wind was furious! The lake is called Kleifarvatn and it’s in the middle of the mountains! The landscape we drove through to get there is breathtaking (and part of the road was a bit scary.) And for those who didn’t know, Iceland is actually very green :) The Southwest part of the island (where we are now) is actually more green than ice!

But as we are a bit North, this trip had to involve the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis). Or at least plans to see it. As I said, it’s been 6 nights that we are here and so far we saw nothing. To be able to see the Aurora we need to have 3 things: clear skies (no clouds), high aurora activity (read more about how this is measured in this link) and lots of patience. When Esdras travels alone to do Aurora Hunting, he spends nights awake, driving around to find a spot with no clouds, but he can sleep the whole day if he wants to. We have the kids this time, so NO WAY we’re gonna sleep during the day! You might want to read Esdras’s old post about Aurora Hunting to get a glimpse of what it’s like to do it without the kids.

We had some nights with open skies, but the activity was really low. Today we have clear skies and a forecast for stronger Aurora activity. So we had dinner, put the kids in their pajamas, snowsuits over their pajamas, and put everyone in the car. It was around 8pm when we left the cabin to drive around. Esdras loves taking pictures of the Northern Lights, so we need to find a place where there’s low light pollution (a.k.a. no artificial lights.) We drove, we waited, we drove, we waited… the kids fell asleep in the car… no sign of Ms. Aurora. Then around 10pm we decided to go back to the cabin. After that, the clouds gathered and it started raining really heavily, with super strong winds (50km/h).

To sum up: we drove back to the cabin, put the kids in their beds, Esdras is asleep, and I’m still here looking out the window hoping that between the showers I can see some green dancing lights. Who knows if God will still take his magnetic paints out for us tonight? :)

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