Drone Flight 613. January 11th 2018, currently my favourite ship chase of 2018 and one of my top favourite tanker captures. The Norient Saturn is among the largest tankers to ever visit Lough Foyle at over 35m longer than the standard size tankers which grace the lough each year, her large size and the fact that she looked like new after a recent dry dock paint job made her a prime target for me. We were informed she would be leaving port at 10am on 10th, the weather looked great with blue skies, light winds and just a chance of fog, however forecasts indicated the coast would be clear. This would also be one of the busiest days of the new year with two ships going out (a bulker and this tanker) and three more to come in (another bulker and two cargo vessels) so in truth we possibly could be filming four vessels or more over a period of several hours, the prospect was very exciting. We drove all the way to the location through dense fog which was worrying, then when we arrived at the coast it was clear with blue skies, the conditions were perfect and adrenaline began to pulse, however suddenly a tsunami of fog formed in the distance and crept along the lough covering the entire area, the world was turned into a world of grey damp cold with no visibility, it was game over for drone flying, we were gutted.
We made the most of the situation by getting above the fog inversion and shooting time lapse of the scene which was beautiful however our hearts were with the ships. The fog remained all day and we waited out to the very end just in case, turned out all ship movements had been canceled so it looked like we would get another chance the following day, however fog was forecast once more.
Day two we arrived at the coast, clear skies and sunshine everywhere except Lough Foyle, the fog inversion stayed over the lough again and never shifted, all ships stayed put, we couldnt believe it. Yet again we went to high ground and spent the day filming the fog from above which was spectacular, suddenly the fog began to lift over the lough then the tanker left port, as we watched the fog seemed to hang around our launch location, once again we were gutted and it didnt look good, time was ticking and so was daylight.
We went to our location anyway, dense fog everywhere, then just as all hope had been lost the fog suddenly began to lift to reveal a stunning yellow sun illuminating the fog with gorgeous glitter path, the transformation was breathtaking, there wasnt a breath of wind and now it looked like we had a chance, however the sun had set and light was low.
Suddenly the tanker appeared from inside a rolling fog bank on the far side and looked like a ghost ship, and she was moving quickly, I was amazed by the sight of her. I set up the drone rapidly, had to wait 30 secs for the aircraft to warm up, then took off and began the chase.
The flight was an absolute joy, the tanker was majestic, big and proud as she crossed the silky smooth lough hardly making a sound on such a still afternoon complimented by the soft light of a lingering sunset afterglow, the whole scene was utterly tranquil, vessel details...
Name: Norient Saturn
Gross Tonnage: 25864
Size: 180m x 32.24m
The two days of battling the weather and rollercoaster ride of emotions made this flight an awesome personal experience. Distance to ship 523m, max height 77m, min height 3m, drone within VLOS, spotter used, landing battery 47%, soundtrack 'Feeling Spacey - Instrumental Music To Create Flow', thanks for watching. http://www.nightskyhunter.com/