Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle

Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Astronomical Event, Astrophotography | 0 comments

Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle

Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle.

A couple of things I have always wanted to do were: go on a cruise (not one of those gaudy drink-yourself-to-the-emergency-room kinda cruises, but something a little more mellow), and to see the Northern Lights. What fun when I discovered that there was a cruise to see the Northern Lights (not to be confused with Friday Night Lights, that was a different network). I signed up almost immediately with the marvelous company MWT Tours.  Melita , the MWT of  MWT Tours has been in the business for nearly 30 years combining her love of astronomy and travel. The eclipse tour last November was also managed by MWT with over 150 participants, but this one has only about 25 making it comfortably small.

The first stop was Kirkenes, about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A small town of 3,300, it is apparently quite popular for the die-hard adventurers and those who have always wanted to stay in a hotel made of ice. We overnighted there last night, then boarded the ship, the MS Finnmarken this morning, our home for the next 6 days.

The aurora webcam in Tromso has been showing nice displays in between the clouds nearly every night for the past couple of weeks. We all hope that the clouds will part at least for a couple of the nights. We are told that there will be announcements when the aurora is visible, even during the dark of night. Hooray.

One of the nice things about these tours is that there is always a special guest lecturer or two. The late Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin was one Melita’s first lecturers back in the 80s, this time is it is highly regarded sky photographer, Dennis Mammana who will give a couple of lectures on photographing the aurora. We all hope we’ll have a chance. Thank goodness there is a nice observation lounge so we don’t have to go out into the 0º F air. There is a midnight snowmobile excursion that looks temping, but uh, I think I’ll pass to save myself for the swim in the Barents Sea tomorrow. Oops, scratch that, I need my physician’s permission. Never mind.

I’ll try and post aurora photos on Twitter live, if we actually seen anything. And if I do try the Barents Sea swim, I will not post photos of my muscles’ seizing up like a cheap Volvo, or the emergency room of the local hospital.

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