Volcanic Eruption Escape

It’s 6am, Feb 8, 2024 at the Northern Light Inn, Grindavik, Iceland, I awake to a knock at my door. A pleasant woman greets me, “Time for evacuation. We have an eruption.” Yes, it was a pleasant greeting with a smile in her melodic Icelandic accent. Then the excitement ensues as 14 photographers are evacuated……

Photographers were spilling out into the parking lot with luggage in tow and scrambling to grab cameras and phones to document the volcanic eruption. It was shocking to see the red glow of the plumes of gases filling the sky when we came out of the hotel. We were even more surprised to see the lava fountains from the road as we drove away. Even though there was siren testing the night before, we never really expected to be evacuated. The majority of us were only staying one night and flying home the next day. All of it felt surreal as the small convoy, led by police, travelled into nearby Keflavik. We were greeted with breakfast as we arrived at the Park Inn by Radisson in Keflavik. Once there we were all talking and reliving the evacuation, while also discussing the plans for the rest of the day.

What next?

Being photographers, our guides, Paul and Kris with Offbeat Photography, quickly assessed the area to find the perfect location for photographing the volcanic eruption and progressing activity. We were not disappointed with their choice. They had found the perfect location to continue shooting the volcanic eruption. The only unfortunate part for me was having packed all my warmest gear, so I was frequently warming up in the vans. We watched the lava fountains and saw the lava flow grow in size. Witnesses to a most spectacular volcanic event from within the darkness of the early morning hours until sunrise.

This is the view as I climbed the hill to meet up with my colleagues to photograph the volcanic eruption.
Once up the hill, I could zoom in to see the lava fountains of the volcanic eruption.
Wide angle view of the volcanic eruption area. You can see the wind blowing the plume of gases away.

We made the news….

News crews joined us on our pursuit of covering the event. Even though, this was the 3rd volcanic eruption since December 2023, this is undoubtably always a breaking news event. While I was warming up in the van, a news source interviewed several from our group. Apparently on Reddit, we were referred to as “the adorable Canadians”. LOL

While searching for more information on the volcanic eruption, we found photos of ourselves taken by a member of the Associated Press. We made the New York Times and several other worldwide news reports. I am the one on the right in the image from the NY Times.

Screenshot of the New York Times article showing our group of photographers viewing the volcanic eruption

Not much can top a volcanic eruption as an end to an already pretty epic trip.

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