Optical illusion

Cruise ships have become a familiar sight around our coast during the pandemic, up to 6 visible regularly from our local beach. Over this last week or so however we have had the even stranger phenomenon of ships floating in the air … an optical illusion of course!

Known as thermal inversion or a cold water mirage, it can happen when the difference between the air temperature and the sea temperature is large. There is abnormal refraction where light bends downwards towards the colder and more dense air near the sea, causing distant objects to look higher.

We saw this floating ship as we walked along a footpath above Teignmouth, heading back towards the golf club and Little Haldon. One of a number of beautiful blue Spring days with birdsong and blossom brightening up covid blight!