Northern Lights Iceland;
Northern Lights Iceland luxury yacht trip from Reykjavik
Forecast 0% cloud cover 2/9 KP index
Success! Sea Trips Reykjavik found the Northern Lights tonight from Reykjavik.
It was absolutely the perfect night to go and hunt for the northern lights. The skies were absolutely clear and we could see the stars shining brightly even from the city. We all boarded the luxury yacht Amelia Rose and everyone explored the ship. She was built in 2003 as a private super yacht, and as such inside she’s all leather seats, marble surfaces and hand carved wooden panels. Even on stormy days she cuts through the waves but tonight the sea was flat calm with very little wind.
Everyone spent a lot of time up on the top deck, there are three viewing decks but the top one affords the best views, 360degrees of snow-capped mountains, islands, and then the beautiful Reykjavik city scape. Because there were no clouds in the sky it was a cold night, but everyone stayed warm wrapped up in our snuggly blankets and ponchos, sipping our Viking Hot Chocolate, (Hot chocolate with amaretto, baileys, or 80% rum in it and lots of whipped cream on top.)
We made our way out through the islands that keep Reykjavik harbour so calm and protected to one of our favourite spots for viewing the aurora borealis. Some people returned into the cosy wheelhouse to talk to the captain and sit in his chair, and he showed them how we track the northern lights. The captain showed them the information we get from the satellites telling us solar windspeed and density in the next half hour as well as more long-term forecasts. Others chose to remain in the main saloon to warm up. But the hardy souls that stayed out with our guides learnt to name some of our favourite constellations and the myths and legends that surrounded them.
The northern lights started appearing as though from behind Esja, a beautiful snow-covered mountain north of Reykjavik. They were faint at first but as soon as we saw them we got everyone outside and waited patiently for them to get stronger. We were rewarded for our patience and before long the faint lights grew stronger until we had them in a huge green arc across the sky.
It was time to turn and head back to harbour but by reading the satellite information from NASA we could see it was going to build again shortly, so we hung out a little longer and were rewarded by the lights dancing in the sky, a proper ribboning. How wonderful! The northern lights always amaze us!
The other natural wonder people come to see in Iceland and top of the bucket list, and rightly so, are the wonderful whales we have in the harbour here. We also go out on the luxury yacht Amelia to see them and the other marine mammals here, though the view of the mountains and islands are worth it by themselves! If you have already bought a ticket to see the northern lights with us you can come out whale watching for half price.
The most common species of whale we see are minke whales, humpback whales, white beaked dolphins and porpoises, though we never really know what we will see, and in the last few months we‘ve had basking sharks, pilot whales, killer whales (orca) and even blue whales!
Sea Trips sail daily from Reykjavik Old harbour, Iceland. Our yacht Amelia Rose was built as a super yacht in 2003 and as such she is extremely stable, however if you feel you need them we always have motion sickness tablets for free at the bar, just ask our friendly crew. We recommend you dress warmly as it is always colder at sea than on land however we also have ponchos and blankets available around the boat for your use.
Please call us if you have any questions about the facilities on board our ships.
What are the Northern Lights?
Sten Odenwald, author of The 23rd Cycle: learning to live with a stormy star (New York, Columbia University Press, c2001), explains it thus;
“The origin of the aurora begins on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. Scientists call this a coronal mass ejection (CME). If one of these reaches earth, taking about 2 to 3 days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. This field is invisible, and if you could see its shape, it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic ‘tail’ stretching a million miles behind Earth in the opposite direction of the sun.
When a coronal mass ejection collides with the magnetic field, it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.“
If you are interested in learning more we recommend these websites, https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/ and http://www.aurora-service.eu/ They have a lot of extra learning materials as well as real time satellite information.