First things first it’s the 12th December as I type this out, and I haven’t really opened my Blogger all month, elk! But really, how is it nearly Christmas already? Oh time: Where do you go!
Life has been incredibly busy and hectic and mostly so because as anyone who works in retail knows Christmas time is a little bonkers. But good bonkers! Since my birthday I’ve just been a little glitter ball getting my orders out to all my wonderful Beauxoxo customers but every spare second I have had I’ve been daydreaming blog post ideas so I’m good to go with content for a very long time.
Firstly, I need to tell you about my Northern Lights experience. As some of you know I was recently blessed with this incredible Northern Lights experience for my birthday this year. If you want to follow my journey to the stars join me after this cut because this is a little photo heavy!
Firstly, there’s numerous ways you can view the Northern Lights and it’s always been a dream of mine to see them. It is however a bit of a gamble. You could head to world renowned spots such as Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada and so on. Obviously out of these areas your viewing chances decrease rapidly. When I visited Iceland a few years ago I always longed to go back to go to see the Northern Lights there however due to time it’s never happened. Then earlier this year my Mum spotted a poster in town with a Northern Lights flight experience. The whole thing was kind of poignant because it was the day after my Nana’s funeral and the flight itself was on the very day of my birthday. I went to view the Northern Lights with Omega Holidays on their Astronomy and Northern Lights flight packages. They have a good record of success in seeing the Lights (over 80%) however, sensibly so, the astronomer giving the introductory lecture on the aurora was willing only to give the trip a 50-50 chance. I suspect that he always does this, so as not to disappoint which is a very wise move.
The trip is organised incredibly well. We went from Bournemouth Airport and arrived early because we had two lectures about the stars and about the aurora. One of of the lecturers was Pete Lawrence no less (BBC astronomer) and I think everyone was ever so slightly starstruck at that alone! The lectures were overall really helpful because I think without preliminary research you may not find the whole experience that interesting. There’s the possibility of seeing lots of constellations, planets and shooting stars, but without knowing what you’re looking for it’s not easy!
After the lectures we were all given a little snack bag of food and drink which was a sweet touch, and I kind of felt like a school girl on a trip! We then boarded the plane, which took off about 9pm. In case you’re wanting to know right now we arrived back at Bournemouth Airport about about 1am however obviously being right on the South coast the flight time to the optimal airspace will be longer than other areas. The flight went to the Icelandic airspace so it was over an hour or so before we got there and in this time I did a bit more reading on the subject. Just note that because this is a flight you’ll need to pack your carry-on bag as you would for any other flight so be aware of this.
About half an hour before arriving at the point where the Northern Lights will be visible the lights are turned off so your eyes can get used to the dark. If you’re afraid of the dark in general, or a little bit claustrophobic, I think this might be a little un-nerving for some people, so just a little warning there. After that half an hour, you start to see the stars very brightly and seemingly quite close, which is wonderful. Immediately I spotted some of the constellations mentioned at the lecture and the shooting stars are utterly magical. So that everyone gets a fair view, you’re asked to swap seats every so often so that everyone gets a fair chance of seeing. This obviously isn’t very easy in a plane but it’s doable! You just need to make sure (or hope!) you’re sat with friendly people!
As time goes on you, and the plane does a little loop around a few times, (it’s a lot more steady than that, honestly! Words fail me this evening!) and you start to see the aurora, which looked like a large bright cloud and to my eyes at first with a pale green hue. During the flight there are two commentators on the plane, one for each side which is really useful because obviously there are so many things to see it would be information overload to do it all together. I think after 10 minutes or so my eyes adjusted further still, and it is then I picked out tiny red hues too. So right about this time I attempted to take a photo of what I was witnessing but let me just tell you this was really, really challenging. I’ve included a few I took myself and some incredible ones courtesy of Omega Holidays themselves taken by Pete Lawrence himself. Mine are obviously the slightly shaky ones but still proud! Make sure you have zero flash because you’ll get a huge telling off as the plane must be pitch black at all times to see optimum results. I think I had my camera on the TV setting with ISO of 3200 and the stabiliser thing on. I’m so sorry I’m just awful at photography techy speak!
IN A NUTSHELL: I think as with all Northern Lights trips, whether you’re tucked up in a wintery den with a hot cocoa by the fire, or on this flight experience, what you make of this trip depends heavily on your expectations. We are constantly bombarded in general with Northern Lights imagery being, in my opinion, too overly dramatic with misleading rippling streams of light. Don’t get me wrong, you can see this in extremely good sightings, but in general it’s a lot more muted, for want of a better word! I was very blessed to see the aurora and was delighted with everything that evening and it was truly a magical way to spend a birthday. It’s also an incredibly meaningful, spiritual experience and to see one of the wonders of the world makes you feel very, very small. The price was £199.95 per person and I personally felt I got value for money however please: do your research!
I’m really sorry this post is so long I just wanted to pack in as much info as possible. Have any of you also been on the Northern Lights flight experience? Have you been on a Northern Lights holiday? I’d love to know how your experience was too. For more information on the flight I went on click here.