It’s been a little late in coming, but it’s past time to provide an update about my last trip to Iceland. Back in November, I helped out Aurorahunters, guiding for them during a tour to southern Iceland, in combination with Alexander Keen. As usual, the tour had an astronomical theme, but instead of just trying to search out the Northern Lights, we were also looking for the Leonid meteor showers.
Just to make it interesting, we also had to keep one eye on the volcanic eruption, associated with the largest of the Icelandic Volcanoes, Bardabunga. Since mid-August, the volcano had been showing signs of unrest and in September erupted quite a distance to the north of the main cone, in Holuhraun. Even now, it is still continuously erupting. Just before we travelled, some parts of Iceland were experiencing high levels of pollution, so we had to keep a careful watch on the wind direction. Luckily, there weren’t any issues and the tour went without any major hitches.
We arrived a couple of days before the clients, so that we could do some last-minute scouting and make any necessary adjustments to the programme. We had a number of meetings with providers we were working with to make sure things ran smoothly and also visited some of the locations we would be taking the clients to, to ensure there weren’t any hitches. The weather wasn’t looking the best, but then we were in Iceland, so in true Aurorhunters style, the programme was going to be an advisory, rather than a solid plan. Largely though, we did stick to the programme we made in the last days prior to the tour starting. Also, we didn’t have any of the major storms that Iceland is renowned for.
We were staying in Keflavik, not far from the airport and it was therefore a quick trip to collect the VW Transporter before meeting the clients on the day of arrival. After time to settle in, we did the usual welcome meeting with information on the Aurora and Leonids.
The clients had a good taste of Southern Iceland, including geysers and waterfalls. We were also lucky enough to experience the best Aurora display I’ve seen, with movement and pulsing so fast, it was impossible to capture in stills. It literally covered the whole sky and was very spectacular.
A combination of problems with my main camera body and making sure the clients were able to photograph what they wanted, meant I didn’t get many shots myself, but it was an enjoyable experience and the tour was a success, despite working in a largely unfamiliar location, despite the scouting trip in the previous August, without backup from other members of the team over in Norway.