Not The Gallery: The Northern Lights

We saw many amazing things during our week in Arctic Norway. Snowy mountain passes, frozen fjords, a family of mink swimming to the shore and sea eagles flying high overhead. But the thing at the top of our list was the Aurora Borealis.

We had been worried that the sky might not be clear enough during our visit but we were lucky enough to see it not once, but 4 times, during our week at Lauklines Kystferie.

The first night we spotted the Lights was the night we arrived.  The sky was clear with a waxing moon. It was 9 pm and we had just got the kids to bed after they had been up for 18 hours, I poked my head out the door just in case, and there they were. At first I wasn’t quite sure they were the Lights, but a quick glimpse down the row of  cabins to my right  confirmed my sighting as there were lights from cameras glowing from every other jetty on the shore. ‘ The Lights!’, I said to DH. He took a quick look and then ran around like a mad thing trying to wake the kids so they could see them too.

I stood out on the frozen jetty in my thick socks and gazed at the river of light flowing above me.  It was truly amazing to see. The colour of the Lights is not as usually as bright in real life as it is in photos, but it’s the movement, and the way the brightness comes and goes which makes them so eerie and magical. They didn’t last long that first night- maybe 15 minutes. DH spent most of that time carrying kids down the stairs and trying to wake them enough to take a look at the sky. I wouldn’t have bothered myself, none of them remembered anything the next morning and DH was upset because he didn’t get to see the Lights  move at all.

My photographic efforts that night were pretty bad. I hadn’t got the camera set up beforehand and had no idea what I was doing, but you can see a photo here if you really want to. It’s pretty bad.

The second night, was also clear and the Lights showed up early, at 5:45 pm,  even before the sun had gone down properly.

Northern Lights Laukline Kystferie

The kids had plenty of viewing opportunities. In the end, they got bored and cold, and asked to go inside. The show that night went on and on, until after 11pm. We had considered driving up to the nearby mountain pass on the off chance that the Lights showed up as we were told that the view is unrestricted up there, but in the end there was no need. We got plenty of photos from just outside our back door and DH got to spend hours outside watching the lights move. I stood out on the jetty for so long that I think I had a moment of absolute peace and tranquility, but it could just be I was in danger of developing hypothermia.

Northern Lights Laukline Kystferie

After such an amazing show, we would have been satisfied if we had never seen the Lights again, but the third night dawn as bright and clear as the previous two. Sure enough, around 10pm, there they were again,; streaming over the mountains and dancing above our cabin.

Northern Lights Laukline Kystferie

This display only went on for an hour, but I had enough time to get a photo of DH standing in front of them.

Northern Lights Laukline Kystferie

After that, the weather deteriorated and we had mainly cloudy  nights until our 6th night in the cabin. On the Thursday, there were some gaps in the clouds and we did get a quick, faint glimpse of the Lights one last time.

I know my photos aren’t perfect, I did a lot of fiddling and had to make do with a beanbag tripod and a kitchen chair, but they are proof that you don’t need to be a pro photographer with all the gear to get impressive photos of the Northern Lights.   Actually, getting photos is probably the easy bit, first you have to find the Aurora.

We were incredibly lucky to see them so many times, as many people on our flights home had not even caught a glimpse of them, even though they were in Tromso at the same time we were enjoying the show from our cabin and jetty, 30 kms west.

Northern Lights Lauklines Kystferie

Fjordside Views, Minced Bovine And A Lightshow To Remember

Three things. That’s all I can offer you tonight.

It’s been a long and tiring day of driving around looking for the only supermarket in Tromso  that’s open on a Sunday, and supervising kids who want to do nothing but frolic in the snow then cry every time they get cold. And despite a lovely night’s sleep last night, I don’t think I’m fully  recovered from our journey yesterday.

This was the view I woke up to this morning.

view from jetty in winter, Norway

Isn’t it amazing? So serene, it seems to change colour every hour of the day. The kids appreciated it too, for about 20 seconds and then buggered off back to bed and left me alone with the view and the WiFi for an hour. It was a perfect start to a Sunday morning.

This was our dinner tonight. DH referred to it as ‘mystery meat’ when he picked it up from the supermarket last night, but very wisely decided to use Google Translate before he fed it to his family.

minced bovine

At least it wasn’t horse and it made a halfway decent taco.

But the highlight of the evening was the reappearance of the Northern Lights. Mindful of how disappointed our children were to have missed them last night, the Lights were kind enough to show up early tonight, at quarter to six! Last night the show was over in 15 minutes but tonight they lasted so long that all the kids  got cold or bored and wandered back inside away from DH and I, who stuck it out for at least an hour before admitting defeat.

This meant I had plenty of time to try and get better photos of the light. The ones I took last night were just awful. These aren’t perfect but I think they are a lot better than the previous effort.

Northern Lights Norway

No tripod either, just a kitchen chair and a beanbag. In fact the Lights are so energetic tonight that they are still going, more than 3 hours after they started.

They have more stamina than me. I’m now off to bed.

Good night.