The Atlantic Ghost Fleet

The Atlantic Ghost Fleet aka The Ghost Ships, I’ve wanted to explore this mothballed collection of ships for ages! I won’t be going too much into the history of these ships for now but from what I understand the fleet is still Military owned and is ultimately set to be scrapped. I believe they are holding onto them temporarily for spare parts to be used on other ships and helicopters.

This explore was probably one of my favourite and the most memorable Urbex trips to date. Visited with Andy de Kay of Behind Closed Doors. We were advised to access them with the cover of darkness and make all attempts to be back on shore before sunrise. Given our time restrictions we couldn’t spend a full 24 hours there so we opted to try a midnight entry spend a few hours there and head back to shore. As we got closer to the location I realised we hadn’t really checked exactly where we needed to go for the best place to launch from and so I quickly scrambled around sending messages to a good friend who had already been. After 20 minutes sitting in a  lay-by, we had directions and a rough map to follow and we were off :).

As is probably clear from the photographs, the ships are anchored out to sea in a small bay with no harbour or port, this leaves you with limited options for entry and so we decided on the dinghy route :). Fortunately when we arrived at the shoreline we had a small amount of moonlight so that we could see our targets and this also provided some assistance when navigating the waters. We quickly pumped up the dinghy and grabbed a couple of quick long exposures before packing up our gear and casting off the dinghy. I was so excited as we silently made our way around the huge silhouettes of the smaller vessels before we arrived at the larger group of three ships, an old anti-aircraft cruiser and made our way on board. We hid the dinghy and headed inside to have a quick look around.

It wasn’t long after this that the calm clear night which had been very favourable for our boarding took a turn for the worse… As we made our way down to the lower decks to around sea level we could clearly hear noises of the water crashing against the boat which was starting to rock a little and making all sorts of banging noises as they bumped against one another. Unfortunately despite loving water and being able to swim I get awful seas sickness… Although the boats were not in full motion then rocking of the sea started to get to me and combined with the lack of sleep and food from this trip I was really starting to feel rough :D.

We went upstairs with a view to getting some fresh air but when we reached the main captain’s deck we found that those heavy winds had turned into a full on storm! rain was pounding down on the ships and winds were howling. Andy went out to bag a few shots with his waterproof 5d while I retired to catch a few zzz’s on the captains bunk (not as comfy as you might think).

By the time I woke up it was getting light, we wanted to head back to shore but the winds were still pretty violent and rain was still heavy. Fortunately, as we considered our options of swimming back to shore the storm seemed to die down and the rain stopped! Already 2 hours late in setting off to make our train home we went back out on the deck of the ships to take a few more photographs before heading back to shore. just as we were about to leave the boat we spotted the huge blue Masurca missiles on the stern of the ship! Jaw dropped! these things were awesome! left there decaying still on the launch mechanism they stood out as my favourite part of the ships!

Just as we were about 20 meters or so from the shore back on the dinghy, we heard the sound of a motor… Coastguard! they were circling the main ships. Not sure if they spotted us as we were already near the shoreline, but it was a narrow escape for sure!

If you’ve made it this far… thanks for reading / checking out the pictures. Leave me a comment below or hit the like button to let me know you’ve enjoyed the shots and to encourage me to keep posting more 🙂

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