Our penultimate stop on our Northern Lights chase is Gravdal, a small town in the Lofoten Islands. It’s another beautiful area, with snow capped mountains rising out of the sea on all sides of the ship.

A picture of Gravdal and the Lofoten Islands taken at sunrise
A pink sunrise tinges the top of the Lofoten mountains

However, the landscape is the biggest draw here, meaning that hiking and climbing are the main activities on offer. Not so good when travelling with a scooter.

Regardless, we head ashore on the mostly-empty tender for the short ride to the dock. As always, a collection of coaches is waiting to take paying travellers to see the sights, such as the Viking Museum in Lofotr.

Despite bright sunshine, it is quite icy and chilly, so we stand on the dock for a while debating what to do. The port is roughly two miles from the nearest towns – Gravdal and Lesknes. We could walk to either – but then what? Neither has much to offer except shopping, which is not what we classify as sight-seeing.

So we compromise. I climb a small hill and record our only geocache (GC6TKA1) of the day while Linda waits patiently below. Afterwards, we go into the tourist shop located at the end of the pier and buy a Lofoten-themed Christmas tree decoration.

Ben & Linda posing with some drying fish in Gravdal
Posing with the locals

Afterwards we head back to the ship for a lazy afternoon.

Later that evening, the sky stays clear and we are finally treated to some spectacular displays by the Aurora. We also see the red colours for the first time, faintly, as we head into dinner. The Captain has promised to announce any sightings over the onboard intercom – and does so just as we are seated in the dining room. Immediately the room empties as most people surge for the upper decks. Some return later, claiming to have seen nothing.

There are a few more announcements during the evening and the quality of spectacle varies each time. Sadly the celestial wisps are not quite as brightly coloured as they were on Sunday, but they are definitely much, much larger – and easier to spot with the naked eye.

A picture of the Aurora Borealis over Gravdal
Light pollution is a serious problem on a cruise ship
A picture of the Aurora Borealis taken from the top deck of the Island Princess
A shot from the top deck of the Island Princess

Overnight we will re-cross the Arctic Circle – and the weather is set to deteriorate too. So this will probably be the last time we see the Aurora Borealis on this trip. But it has definitely been worth staying up late for.

A photo of the Norther Lights shot from the back of the Island Princess sailing away from Gravdal
Proof that the Norther Lights aren’t just green

Our final stop on this cruise is Ålesund, a port we visited a few months ago. Sadly the weather is looking pretty grim, so we may have to alter our sightseeing plans a little.