Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

WinWin Vacations Newsletter Spring 2010

 Dear Travel Enthusiast,

In this issue

This is Iceland

Drive up Volcano

Geysirs, Hekla and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Why is the Iceland Volcano's ash distrupting air traffic

Jonathan Scott & Phil Berry Safari

Indaba Conference



Dear Tom,


Before I had a chance to tell you about my wonderful trip to Iceland over Easter weekend, seems all h..ll broke loose over there with another more powerful volcano Eyjafjallajökull, erupting, causing havoc with the air traffic across the Atlantic and Northern Europe for the past 4 days. There's no telling how much longer it continue. What a royal mess!!! 


The Fimmvörduháls eruption was a nice friendly, touristy eruption. It came in a completely unexpected but remote place that was accessible via 4x4 vehicles. The lava was beautiful and picturesque! Even though we had to brave the bitter cold for hours, it was still accessible. It caused almost no harm, unless you hiked up there unprepared as some locals did. As my guide said: "we have our own idiots here". 


We had wonderful weather, clear and sunny skies every day. We saw the Northern Lights every night, even in Reykjavik as we walked back from our restaurant to the hotel on our last evening. The pictures above and below of the Aurora Borealis are taken right under the street lights of the city!!!


Northern Lights in Reykjavik




Blue LagoonVolcanos, Geysirs, Hot Springs, Waterfalls & Glaciers - This is Iceland 


A Land of Contrasts: Fire and Ice, Waterfalls and Rainbows, Evil Lava and Delicate Moss, Violent Eruptions and Jagged Lava Flows, Smooth Glaciers and Deep Crevasses, Gentle Rivers and Raging Big Rapids, Fissures and Lagoons opening up inside your house! Mid-Atlantic Rift, NO TREES! Icelandic horses, Iceland Lobsters - the best I ever tasted - small, soft, sweet and delicious!!! Hmmm GOOD!! 


In the Blue Lagoon with Silica Mud


Skogar Waterfall

Skogar Waterfall





Glacier LandRoverDrive up Volcano

The weather forecast was perfect and we managed to book a first-ever tour with the owner of Iceland Rovers to see the new eruption at col

Fimmvörduháls. This tour is set up to witness the then current eruption between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. We set out from Reykjavik on a bus transfer with Reykjavik Excursions to Fljótshlíd, at bottom of the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier just east of the eruption. At the bottom of the Ice Cap, our specially equipped Land Rover with 44" wheels was waiting to take us over the glacier to the active Eyjafjallajökull volcano (that is now erupting under the glacier).

This LandRover is a glacier-mobile like no other I've ever seen, the envy of all my boys including my father.


From there we headed up to higher grounds as we started our ascent in the Land Rover up onto this fourth largest glacier in Iceland. Our tire air pressure is now down to 3 pounds. We then turned northwest and drive across the Mýrdalsjökull Ice Cap (hiding Katla deep inside) to the site of the eruption. Arriving in time for the late afternoon light, we were be able to enjoy the view of the erupting volcano shooting hot lava up high in the air, throwing flaming lava fountains, melting steam from the glacier forming magnificent clouds and the hot, glowing and crackling lava flow as it slowly crawled forwards along the ice. It was a most perfect day.


 Exploding Volcano

We could hear the volcano take a deep breath, exhale loudly, then crackle and pop

 Myrdals glacier

The scenery driving across Mýrdalsjökull Glacier to view the erupting volcano at Fimmvörduháls. Eyjafjallajokull's much larger sister Katla, is hiding deep under this ice cap.  The three eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull on record were each associated with a subsequent eruption of Katla. There are no signs of turbulence beneath Katla at the moment but, since she last erupted in 1918, she is overdue. Katla tends to erupts every 40-80 years. Should she blast off, it would cause disruption on a far larger scale then we're seeing now. VERY SCARY!!!!  

 For more pictures and Tom's videos, click on the links below at the bottom of this newsletter.




GeysirGeysirs, Hekla and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

We also made 2 different sight-seeing tours around Iceland. This truly is a land of contrasts. So much to see. Please, call me to book your tour or stop-over on the way to your final destination.  



Mid-Atkantic Rift   


The Mid-Atlantic Ridge runs right through Iceland .... above ground! Here you can walk between the Euro-Asian and the North American plates that are drifting apart at a speed of 2 cm per year.   


This is Hekla, the entrance to hell according to the old sagas.




eruption cloudWhy is the Iceland Volcano's ash distrupting air traffic? 

With no end in sight, that Eyjafjallajökull will calm down anytime soon, all we can do is hope that the winds will change. The volcanic ash that can stop jet engines cold, is not detected or displayed on cockpit radars because of the small size of the ash particles and low reflectivity. And it can be obscured by weather clouds, according to The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is a natural disaster with unprecedented consequences for European air transportation.  


On average, 15 major explosive eruptions - those powerful enough to inject ash above 25,000 feet - occur each year. Ash plumes from a major eruption can affect aircraft thousands of miles downwind. For example, when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, the plume reached an altitude of 90,000 feet in 30 minutes and was 50 miles wide.


Volcanic ash is one of the most dangerous conditions that can be encountered in the air by aircraft. Airborne ash can diminish visibility, damage flight control systems, and cause jet engines to fail. A fact sheet published by the Air Line Pilots Association details the history of volcanic eruptions and their effects on aircraft in flight.


Britain's Met Office meteorological agency said that the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano was continuing as of early Sunday morning "and possibly intensifying," with the ash plume rising to 30,000 feet. The cloud had extended as far south as Spain overnight, prompting the closure of airspace in the northern part of that country, according to Eurocontrol.



wonky Tusk checkin inJonathan Scott & Phil Berry Safari at Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa plus pre and post safaris are still available 


I still have space for one couple and one single lady willing to share on the Main Event from November 3-10 at the Mfuwe Lodge.


Space is also available for both of the exclusive pre-event safaris with Jonathan Scott and the not to be forgotten legendary post event with Phil Berry and Babette. How can you not go on this one-of -a kind safari!!! I will be escorting all three, but your guides are ... well ..... legendary.


For more information click on the headline link above or contact me at




Indaba logoIndaba Conference

It's time for my annual learning pilgrimage to Africa. I'm gone from April 28 - May 26. One of the most important Africa conferences, Indaba is held in Durban every May. It's Africa's largest travel trade show. They call it Indaba, which means gathering.  It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa's best tourism products and attracts international visitors and media from across the world. INDABA is owned by South African Tourism and organized by Kagiso Exhibitions and Events.


I have a very busy schedule making trips to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park inside Mozambique and to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on the South Africa, Botswana and Namibia border, both before the conference. After the conference I will visit Footsteps in Africa camps in Botswana. That is: IF Eyjafjallajokull allows me to fly and IF the BA flight crew doesn't go on strike! Nothing was accomplished with the last 2 strikes in March. Maybe I need to implement Plan B now?



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Volcanic Ash Advisory from London - Issued graphics


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