Northern light chasing
Northern light Hunter / chaser / guide. Thats what I was called the last few years in Northern Norway around Tromsø which is define as the Paris of the north but before all maybe the best place on Earth to see the Northern lights. Thanks to its location 350 km in the arctic and right in the middle of the Northern light belt. My job was then to drive my guests to the best spot to see the Northern lights.
To make this job successful it is imperative to have great knowledges about the weather, to work as a team with other guides and to know the region perfectly so that you would always (at least try to) find a place to go, find shelter against storms and enjoy the lights out of the beaten track in the most beautiful locations. I got trained and worked for some of the best companies out there and Im grateful about what I learned and experienced.
Obviously we don’t control the weather and Solar activity which is the base of Northern light watching but we try to get all the chances on our side to get some opening in the clouds and hopefully see them through when the weather isn’t perfect. This is a regular phenomenon up north but the weather being very unstable by the coastline we often have to drive as far as Finland or Sweden to have more continental and dry weather conditions. We even use the terrain profile and the mountains ranges as obstacles for the cloud cover so that we could escape the cloudiness and leave it behind us by knowing the topography of the area.
I can say that with this job I felt very fortunate to experience the Lights pretty much everyday and see amazing things, share great moments with my guests around bonfires, under the dancing lights with humpback and killer whales just as an example. But it is also a very hard work: Exhausting by working all night long, driving, guiding, preparing the food, teaching night photography, making a fire, changing spots to stay under a patch of clear sky… Lot of responsibilities and personal investment. So even though we are as I hear often: living the dream, it doesn’t mean that its an easy going job! Its actually one of the toughest! Weather can be extreme in the arctic, and always different from one day to another, the driving is also tough and you need every single day to have a new plan to be sure to be heading to the right direction which is crucial for the success of your chase! Northern lights are magical and it can take a lot of patience, energy and determination to see them. Isn’t it what makes this so magical after all? I have always said and thought that the most important is the patience: as the solar activity cannot be surely estimated and you may wait hours or days to get a glimpse of activity in the sky. The wisdom: to the arctic, to the weather, the driving conditions and more. And also the determination: as you should never give up and accept that we don’t control the solar activity and the weather and sometime you need to head out more than once to see them.
No matter what: It is a once in a lifetime experience that everyone should tick off the Bucket list 🙂