A Scottish drone pilot got more than he expected during a coastal flight on Halloween, when his craft videoed a mysteriously boiling area of sea water resembling a giant witches’ cauldron.
Drone enthusiast Paul Young caught the eerie sea phenomenon on video while taking advantage of calm weather Sunday along the coast of South Ayrshire in southeast Scotland. When he first spotted the bubbling, swirling froth of water about a mile off shore, Young said he thought it might be a whirlpool, or convergence of exceptionally strong riptides. But when he got the UAV back home and took a closer look at the footage, the 46-year-old accountant realized it was something else altogether – though what remained a mystery.
“I spotted the anomaly on the water when flying my drone close by, so I diverted it over for a closer look,” Young told the Daily Record. “When I got home and looked at (the footage) I realized there was a large dark patch round where the water was bubbling and got a bit concerned. I posted onto a couple of groups and people came back with various ideas as to what it could be.”
Given the day, and swiftly approaching twilight of the late afternoon flight, it was too tempting for some to resist speculating the event had been some bewitching demonstration of supernatural beings celebrating Halloween in their own weird way. Being far less fanciful of mind – and concerned about what might have been behind the roiling water so close to an onshore landfill – Taylor began calling around for information about what his drone video picked up in the sea.
It turned out the cause was less enchanting than witches or marine ghosts having a bit of fun. Young’s alert to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency soon provided matter-of-fact explanation for the boiling seas.
“This is a routine permitted discharge of treated landfill leachate from Straid Farm Landfill,” an agency spokesperson was quoted explaining in media reports. “Leachate is rainwater which has come in to contact with waste within a landfill. It is collected within lined containment cells and then treated prior to discharge to the environment… to ensure no adverse impact on the receiving water body.”
Due to recent heavy rainfalls in the area, it appears the volumes of leachate to be released were much larger than normal, resulting in a discharge that was both much longer and more visible than most. Meaning that even if Young’s drone video didn’t capture Halloween magic being worked under the sea, it was the product of considerable serendipity in his UAV being at the right place and time to film the unusual event.
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