Hundreds Gathered To See Eclipse At Blue Lagoon - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Hundreds Gathered To See Eclipse At Blue Lagoon

Published March 20, 2015

Anna Andersen
Photos by
Axel Sigurðarson

The Blue Lagoon opened early this morning for today’s total solar eclipse. Floating in the milky water with anticipation as the sky slowly darkened, nearly 200 early risers donned specially provided dark glasses in an attempt to glimpse this rare celestial event.

Solar Eclipse March 20

A murmur passed around the pool as a chip vanished from the sun’s right side at 8:38 AM, slowly passing towards the moment of “totality”—or at least, the 97.5% coverage expected in Iceland. Viewed through steam at around 9:37 AM, the sun’s halo caught some light cloud cover, casting rainbow hues across the sky to the delight of the throng, many of whom risked taking their cameras into the water.

Despite reports in the local media about thousands of people coming to Iceland specifically for the eclipse, most of the people we swam into seemed pleasantly surprised to find out that the rare phenomenon had aligned with their travel plans.

After being turned away from the Blue Lagoon last Sunday due to it reaching full capacity, two young women from the States happened to see the eclipse advertised whilst reserving their spot online. Another freshly landed group found out about the eclipse before they boarded their plane, arriving just in time to jump into the lagoon.

While the lagoon was mostly full of tourists who reported similar happy coincidences, a small group of Icelanders were also there to enjoy the event. Although they said their minds weren’t blown, they were happy to have experienced it. After all, the last total solar eclipse happened in Iceland 61 years ago.

Another couple wound up at the lagoon out of neccessity after running all over Reykjavík looking for glasses only to find out that they sold out four days ago.

Blue Lagoon Eclipse Couple

In anticipation of the event, a local astronomy club had ordered a stockpile of 66,000 pairs of eclipse-viewing glasses, which arrived in the country last month. Of those, nearly 54,000 were distributed to primary school kids, with the rest sold to the public at 500 ISK a piece. It turned out there was greater demand for the glasses than they’d anticipated.

In the end though, the all-important eclipse glasses, which black out everything but the glow of the sun, went from being a prized item to instant trash, with piles of them left floating at the lagoon steps—by 10:39 AM the eclipse was over as quickly as it began. Europe won’t see another one until 2026.

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