‘Floating ship’ photographed off Cornish coast

I noticed a tweet on Twitter about a ‘Floating ship photographed off Cornish coast’ and thought I would just have to include the story and images from BBC News concerning it. I know April first is still a few weeks away, but I thought I would brighten up proceedings in this never ending lockdown that we’re all enduring, and see if anyone noticed if I flipped the image! As David Braine says mirages like this although not uncommon in summer, are rarely seen in Winter. It must have been quite a site.

Images of what appears to be a floating ship have been captured as the result of a rare optical illusion off the coast of England.

Hovering ship pictured off the coast of Cornwall
An optical illusion caused the ship to appear as though it was floating above the horizon

David Morris took a photo of the ship near Falmouth, Cornwall. BBC meteorologist David Braine said the “superior mirage” occurred because of “special atmospheric conditions that bend light”.He said the illusion is common in the Arctic, but can appear “very rarely” in the UK during winter. Mr Morris said he was “stunned” after capturing the picture while looking out to sea from the hamlet of Gillan. Mr Braine said: “Superior mirages occur because of the weather condition known as a temperature inversion, where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it. “Since cold air is denser than warm air, it bends light towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or on the coast, changing how a distant object appears.

Hovering ship photographed off the coast of Cornwall
David Morris took the photographs from the hamlet of Gillan, near Falmouth

“Superior mirages can produce a few different types of images – here a distant ship appears to float high above its actual position, but sometimes an object below the horizon can become visible.”

Courtesy of BBC News


This boat certainly seems to be getting around a bit because it was spotted from Banff off the northeast coast of Scotland on Tuesday and made the Aberdeen Evening Express. This time it was Colin McCallum who took the photo and not David Morris. There seems to be something not quite right about this story and it may well be that the BBC have been hoodwinked by it.

This story just seems to run and run and has now featured in The Guardian so it must be true. I wonder if Colin McCallum is somehow related to David Morris?

3 thoughts on “‘Floating ship’ photographed off Cornish coast”

    1. Good point – even if these images were genuinely authentic it’s now surrounded by so much hype it’s now viewed by many as fake.

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