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Flying ferry picture by Peter Knight is Fata Morgana mirage seen in Dover


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People enjoying a drink in a yacht club were bemused to see one of Kent's ferries apparently floating in the sky.

Peter Knight took this picture of a Dover vessel seemingly hovering over the waves from the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club.

The flying ferry was probably one of P&O's spirit class vessels. © Peter Knight 2021
The flying ferry was probably one of P&O's spirit class vessels. © Peter Knight 2021

He explained: "This natural optical effect known as Fata Morgana occurs when cold air lies close to the sea with warm air above."

Effectively mirages, they significantly distort the object or objects on which they are based, often such that the object is completely unrecognisable.

In this case it is thought the airborne vessel was either the P&O Spirit of Britain or Spirit of France. The sister ships are both 49,000 tonne and carry up to 2,000 people.

Mr Knight is an Australian yachtsman waiting out Covid on his boat in Dover.

He added: “I have seen many beautiful and spectacular sights sailing here from Melbourne, but Dover is now at the top of that list”.

'This natural optical effect known as Fata Morgana occurs when cold air lies close to the sea with warm air above...'

Fata Morgana, also known as a superior mirage.

It can be seen on land or at sea, in polar regions, or in deserts. It may involve almost any kind of distant object, including boats, islands, and the coastline.

In recent months it has been seen in Cornwall, Devon and Aberdeenshire. Closer to home, in April a flying ship was also seen in Whitstable according to Mr Knight.

Jim White, Commodore of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club said “People usually visit the club for our well stocked bar, fine food and good company.

" It seems we will have to add Fata Morgana to our attractions.”

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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