I am DELIGHTED to say that we DID see the lights on 4 successive evenings of our 12 day cruise when we had sailed above the Arctic Circle and I have to tell you – they were even more magical than I had imagined. Filling the whole sky with movement and light and colour. Amazing. Stunning. Worth waiting for.
The first time we saw them was through a break in the snow clouds north of Tromso and it was actually quite an emotional moment. Then We were so lucky to have a couple of brilliant sunny cold days once we got above the Arctic Circle between Tromso and Kirkenes, Kirkenes and then back down the coast towards Tromso.
The exposure time has to be about 8 to 20 seconds to pick up the colour against the night sky – but the really stunning lights appear as a huge band of flickering green and red light which runs across the sky like a streamer – and only lasts 3 or 4 seconds before changing and shifting into another curtain shape or plume.
Add to that the fact that you are standing on the deck of a moving ship at about minus 10 to minus 15C with a wind that cut through my down coat and windproof ski pants in about a minute. So you cannot stand outside long before having breaks. At one point I had a nose bleed from the cold and felt that my eyeballs were freezing.
But well worth it.
Overall it was a total adventure and like nothing we had done before.
Husky dog rides, ice hotel, leaning into the wind at Cape Nord looking over to North Pole. Brilliant. Now all I have to do is get my head back to work.