The Northern Lights or Auroras Borealis are one of the most amazing natural phenomena you can see.
We were lucky enough to see them last night on a boat called MS Leone operated by Arctic Explorer sailing out of Tromsø, in Northern Norway inside the Arctic Circle. The sky was bright, the stars were glinting with the Milky Way blazing above; all good signs for for a possible sighting. The snowy mountains either side on the islands out of Tromsø were glistening and the temperature was -10°F.
As we left the port we saw what looked like a bright green curtain right across the sky. It started moving and ‘billowing’ like a slow flag, changing shape and going through various hues of green. We were lucky enough to watch for two hours as it grew larger and divided into different stripes across the night sky. The night before we had been on a seven hour coach trip to the furthest road in northern Norway to see the lights but the sky was quite cloudy and we only saw them briefly. Last night was totally different and a ‘once in a lifetime’ spectacle.
On our first morning we enjoyed watching whales on a day trip on the Aurora Explorer which is the sister boat also run by Arctic Explorer. A two hour trip through fjords past high snowcapped mountains we reached a large sea inlet where there were about thirty Orcas and ten Humpback whales. They gently made their way past us with frequent columns of warm breath from their blowholes pinpointing where they swam. The whales are so impressive and so stunning that we must do all possible to ensure we maintain their environment. The humpbacks migrate from Northern Norway in the winter right down to the Caribbean Islands in the spring to give birth to the young calves.
Day two of our trip and we went on a magnificent Husky Safari. We learnt a lot about the dogs and how they are able to travel fifty miles daily pulling sleds with no problem at all. Before pulling the sleds they work themselves up into a hysteria of excitement barking and howling. We had a brief training session on how to be a musher (sledge driver) and split into pairs, taking turns to drive and passenger.
Once we set off the huskies stop barking and seem very happy and eager to please. What a landscape Northern Norway is, stunning and pristine, we charged through the snow with our new canine friends panting and pulling like crazy enjoying the ride as much as we did. When we stop they start barking and yapping again with many enjoying patting and cuddles with their new British friends. An incredible adventure!
After the safari, we were served warm reindeer stew and homemade cake around a fire.
Other activities available include a snowmobile safari, and a visit to a reindeer farm and a Sami community.
We booked our three day Arctic adventure with Wexas Travel.
A weekend in Tromsø is now very affordable with Norwegian Air flying out of Gatwick, Manchester and Dublin on a regular basis. Our long weekend package including 3 nights at The Clarion With, breakfast, afternoon waffles and light evening meal was from £405 per person including flights. The activities mentioned above were optional extras, and although they are quite pricey, are a must if you want to enjoy the experience to the maximum.
Is seeing the Northern Lights on your bucket list?