The night was young. Fermented shark was on the menu. So I ordered the pepperoni pizza. A review of the KP index revealed that measuring the likelihood of seeing the aurora last night was about the same as the likelihood of seeing Kevin Pieterson play test cricket for England again.
i consumed the pizza, downed my Pepsi Max, mortgaged the house to pay the bill and headed back to the hotel for warmth and sleep.
And then it happened. The KP forecast had said 2. The live KP index said 6. Suddenly the opportunity was there. The northern lights became a certainty. Except in the tiny fishing village of Grindavik, where I’m staying, it was chucking it down with an icy rain.
Cloud cover = no aurora. The latest weather map said get in the car and head east. So I did. Hurtling it down narrow unlit highways in the once white Yaris with small posts reflecting the sides of the roads. Faint lights of ships on the sea. Faint glow of red to the north. Rain for mile after mile. Driving on seeking dryness and the aurora.
And then it happened. The light flashed in front of me. Fuel low. Middle of nowhere. 11pm. The likelihood of a 24/7 filling station nil. Three point turn on the dark highway and return towards base. Layby. Wait. More rain. The faint glow of red west and north. Not the airport. Not Reykjavik. But not what you could reasonably describe as even the haziest formation of northern lights. Eventually I gave up and headed to the hotel. Defeated but not disheartened. Sleep.
To be continued …