Penarth Pier disappears into this afternoon's thick fog

Penarth Pier disappears into this afternoon’s thick fog

Ships have been sounding  their fog horns off Penarth this afternoon as an unusually thick sea fog rolled in and completely obscured vision for every vessel on the water.

Penarth’s piermaster Peter Andrews said the Flatholm foghorn had been sounded incessantly as vision dropped at sea level from miles to mere feet.

Intrepid couples take a stroll along fogbound Penarth Pier

Intrepid couples take a stroll along fogbound Penarth Pier

From Penarth Head,   the Bristol Channel, the pier and the sea front became totally invisible – and completely obscured by a blanket of grey fog.

All the ships and fishing boats in the area sounded fog horns – but acoustics in dense fog can be deceiving and it was difficult to tell where sounds were coming from.

The tanker Bro Developer crept very slowly along the Wrach Channelo out of Cardiff Docks. Ahead of her the Cardiff bound cargo vessel Vanquick turned around onto the same heading and kept out of her way (Still image from AIS position system)

The tanker Bro Developer crept very slowly along the Wrach Channel out of Cardiff Docks – invisible to everyone ashore and afloat. Ahead of her, the Cardiff bound cargo vessel Vanquish turned around onto the same heading and kept out of her way (Still image from AIS position system)

The large oil tanker Bro Developer – which couldn ‘t be seen by anyone either on the cliff tops, or on the pier, or on the Esplanade – sounded her horn a regular intervals as she very cautiously and slowly navigated her way from Cardiff Docks – passing Penarth Pier totally unseen.

At sea immediately ahead of her was the cargo vessel Vanquish  waiting to enter Cardiff. AIS plots seemed to indicate that in a safety maneouver Vanquish turned around to head down-channel in the same direction as  Bro Developer and waited until the big tanker had left the area.

Penarth Esplanade disappears into the afternoon gloom

Penarth Esplanade disappears into the afternoon gloom

The two ships came close  – but with their radar and AIS systems maintained a safe separation even though neither vessel could be seen by the other  .

Penarth Piermaster Peter Andrews said it was a long time since he had seen a fog so thick – but despite the weather he’ll be heading out on a practice run board the Barry lifeboat tonight – on which he is a crew member .

It was just about possible to make out the Pier Pavilion

It was just about possible to make out the Pier Pavilion

For a brief moment the sun tried - but failed - to burn its way through the fog

For a brief moment the sun tried – but failed – to burn its way through the fog

To hear – if not see – the ships off Penarth this afternoon press the play button below.

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  1. whatsoccurin says:

    Dramatic photographs-the fog seemed to be particularly dense around Penarth but was noticeably lighter around the Cardiff Bay side of the Headland.

  2. Chris David says:

    Ah the foghorn brings back lovely childhood memories. I was stood next to it once on Flatholm when they tested it without warning- that wasn’t so pleasant at first. But hey, if the zombies come out tonight as per the film direct them to VoG HQ taking Lindsay with them 🙂

  3. Andy says:

    Must have been really eerie hearing the fog horn on Flatholm considering it was decommissioned years ago

    • NewsNet says:

      The Penarth Piermaster Peter Andrews – who is a member of Barry Dock Lifeboat crew – told PDN that the Flatholm foghorn had been in use for much of the day.

      • bob says:

        the last time the flat holm fog horn sounded was by chris williams from nash lighthouse in 2011 and after a brief test it was decommissioned for insurance tests, some of the parts are still off the island and it has never been run since then

    • bob says:

      the flat holm fog horn is currently in pieces with some of the safety equipment off the island awaiting safety checks. the fog horns that were heard had to be ships as there is currently not a working fog horn on flat holm and no-one who is trained to use it if it was

  4. Martha says:

    Great photos, thanks. I love stories like this but am glad everyone is safe. It’s all right being smug on land but I can’t think how it would be on water with no visibility. Imagine how it used to be with no high-tech stuff.

  5. Chris David says:

    Well Andy- years ago! well it was years ago I stood next to it after being told it was decommissioned. If the blast that sent me 2 feet and every bird on the island a 100 is decommissioned, I hate to hear it when working. So a mystery. Anyone here have the details/ facts?

    • bob says:

      i helped take it apart in 2011 for insurance testing and due to council cut backs and the uncertain future of the island at the moment it has never been put back together with the cost involved, also the building it is in is now unsafe and is temporarily out of bounds on safety grounds

  6. Lovely views and lovely photos i’ve always wondered what fog looks like up close. And all those couples walking on the pier trying to see if the fog got any thicker on the pier, wonderful . I feel sorry for the seagulls and other birds though as they are unable to look for food during thick fog.

  7. AK says:

    I didn’t think the foghorn worked any more?

  8. Gina says:

    It’s really going to be something if it’s discovered the fog horn doesn’t work anymore. Lock your doors before the demonic victims of a century-old shipwreck start knocking…

  9. Fog horn or no fog horn that is the question?, are we sure the fog horn in question is indeed the fog horn we are led to believe ? or is that another fog horn entirely its hard to tell at times with all the fog around? , sometimes one fog horn may sound just like another but is in fact not the same one . Because fog horns are only useful in foggy or misty circumstances , they are only used on a limited basis and if not heard for quite some time its easy to get confused which one is which , so much so that a fog horn that is sounded in one area may sound just like a similar sounding fog horn in another vicinity , in reality fog horns should all be given a number to lessen any confusion and indeed painted in some high visibility colour , as no one can see a foghorn that’s not painted brightly and with fog around its even worse. I hope this is not all too confusing to people who live on land who may not have the foggiest idea about such things.

    • Lindsay says:

      Thanks for the clarification

      • Freddie says:

        With the greatest of respect, Lindsay, I think you’ve just revealed several things about yourself with this response.
        1. Your default setting is to believe people are thicker and more pompous than you.
        2. You have no sense of humour.
        3. You’re not as quick as you think (even though you appear to pride yourself on your acuity).
        Bravo, Andrew Worsley, you’ve flushed our Lindz out.

      • Chris David says:

        Flushed out Freddie- oh if only on several levels 🙂 Truth is thought we don’t know who the Lind the Yellow is- do we? He’s all big and brash from behind the skirts, anyone can be brave in cowardly anonymity. But your points are spot on.

      • Peter Church says:

        Leave Lindsay (Lyndsay) alone!
        They provide much amusement and mirth on PDN.
        A bit like Jeremy Corbyn trying to defend the indefensible.

        They could even be one and the same 🙂

    • whatsoccurin says:

      very amusing-coincidentally I caught the Fawlty Towers Germans episode last night-Basil was trying to explain to his guests the difference between the sound of the burglar and fire alarm “It’s a semi-tone higher can’t you see that”!!. Years ago I did a residential course at Atlantic College and the fog horn was sounding all night-that would probably be a different one to the one we heard yesterday,or the same, who knows?

  10. Paul says:

    Just like ships who pass in the night (who nearly didn’t). Er “left hand down a bit”.

  11. Mark Foster says:

    With stories like this, wouldn’t it be great if we could replace Bro Radio and the BBC with the wonderful Penarth Daily News in local communities throughout the breadth of our islands, sort of like the Völkischer Beobachter. The people would then know that it was of course Lindsay and the Vale of Glamorgan Council who caused this fog as part of their democratic obfuscation strategy for the upcoming election. We could really make things happen in the UK. We wouldn’t need a Donald Trump!

  12. We don’t have a Donald Trump in the UK, he/it is a monster that lives in the USA and pretends he can play golf.

  13. FOGHORN LOVER. says:

    Thanks bob For Your Detailed Clarification Regarding Our Phantom Flatholm Fog Horn. I wish To Explain The Fog Horn Was Being Sounded By M.V.VANQUISH, She Had Been Lying Off Penarth Since . 23/11/17. Waiting For The Fog To Lift Eventually Docking Cardiff Early Hours Of Today. Yesterday Afternoon The Second Fog Horn Was Sounded From M.V. BRO DEVELOPER. As She Headed Towards And Passed VANQUISH.

  14. snoggerdog says:

    the games afoot watson as soon as this blasted mist clears we,re off to flat holm, where is flat holm,holmes ? truth be told watson i havnt the foggiest!

  15. I thought was more likely to be the case Foghorn Lover, I just didn’t want to say until I was certain it certainly is nice to learn what foghorn it was and who the other foghorn was as I was somewhat perplexed and worried as i’m sure others were too !? Thank God we have someone who knows what’s going on or was . I think Foghorn Lover may have got the ships mixed up but then I suppose we need not worry even if he/she has . If I was a jolly old tar and im not , id like to have a foghorn that plays the notes that Bob Dylan plays on his song , “Its Alright Ma I’m Only Bleeding” and maybe someone could have one that sounds like the Beatles on “Love Me Do” the combinations are endless and it would be really musical whenever it was foggy, instead of just boring fog with someone sounding like they have a pain.

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