Friday, September 02, 2016

Light Show

It is cold in the van and we wait for hours in the dark, letting our eyes get adjusted. I have spent the evening on the internet learning how to take aurora photos. I've got my cable release, camera set on all manual, manual focus to infinity, bulb setting, ISO 800 and f4 and we wait. Whoa, it is 11 and the light show begins!!! What a spectacle, swirling, twisting columns of light, not due north but south and above us, above the mountain ridges. Our eyes see them as green and light but the camera picks up green, purple and blue neon. I promise to share photos. I am ecstatic and Ray is so excitedly oohing and aahing; you know he is excited as he isn't much of a fireworks person! The show lasts about an hour then dwindles away. What a night! 

Sometimes all the stars align,(haha) to make things work out. A guest at the hotel goes out for a smoke and sees the aurora; he tells the hotel clerk. I am on the phone with him figuring out Ray's Wifi  connection. The clerk knows we are up and calls to tell us the lights are visible. Without this chain of events, we wouldn't even know to watch for them. Hallelujah! 

We drive back down to the campground in the middle of town and celebrate at midnight over tea and Icelandic tart in our comfy home on wheels. 

The campground in Siglufjörður and has 5 bathrooms, and they are heated! In the morning, we eat our granola with fresh bilberries, yum. We spend a lazy morning walking around the little town, spy a small fish store and are amazed at how inexpensive the fresh fish is, considering how much they charge in restaurants. We buy cod, haddock, salmon and Arctic char, all for $20!  Walking by a coffee shop, we stop for a quick lunch along with the town's workers and have great mushroom soup, and fresh bread with pesto. 

The Herring Museum is now open and we learn that this was "the good time town" back in the 30's when up to 1,000 people would be in the harbor bringing in their catch. It was much like cannery row, with herring salted into barrels and shipped out, or made into meal for feed. 
Herring girls worked alongside fishermen and life was good. Today it is a sleepy but nice town with a few fishing boats trawling the bay, and tourists passing through.

Siglufjörður sits at the northernmost tip of the peninsula. We exit through another one lane tunnel; this one with a harrowing blind curve! A car approaches and we are face to face! He ends up backing up until we both reach a bay, geez! We drive the rest of the way down the peninsula and continue to be awed by the expansiveness of the land, cliffs jutting out into the ocean and the next fjord, Skagafjörður. Before reaching the town of Sauðarkrokur, at the end of the fjord is a massive river valley and being twilight and low tide, is a visual feast. I spend quite a bit of time photographing this area. 

We pass Glaumbær, a well maintained row of 17th century turf houses and end our drive at Varmahlíð. We cook our fresh Arctic char which is tender and juicy. 

Ray has positioned us in a town facing south for another night show. The night starts out with the sky looking like high clouds but as it gets toward midnight, green swirls appear and soon the lights look like fireworks falling down from the sky. It is a nippy 30 degrees; our fingers and toes are frozen but we consider ourselves very lucky to have seen the northern lights for three nights. 
Northern tip of peninsula




Turf houses

Arctic Char






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