Well Kila was right, the various naval vessels hadn’t all packed up and gone off to the Moray Firth! After a day or so of quiet, warship free seas (at least as far as we could see anyway!) it all kicked off in our survey area!
First to turn up was the large Turkish warship, TCG Orucreis (F245). They were followed into the Minch by our very own HMS Shoreham (M112), and within no time at all they were all “in training situation”. Two smaller ribs were deployed into the water and what followed, translated into terrestrial terms, as something similar to watching 2 lions being harassed and taunted by 2 snappy little Jack Russells … nipping at their heels, trying to get a rise out of them. Presumably, the warships were practicing their gunnery skills as international law states that it is considered “an act of aggression” to come too close to any member of a country’s naval fleet. These guys played a while until HMS Shoreham decided they’d had enough of these little ankle-biters and carried on south through the Minch leaving the Turkish to get their breath back and rest a while before being joined by HMS Bangor (M109) for some more games!
The next day, the Turkish warship was nowhere to be seen but in its place were the Brazilians in BNS Defensora (F41). Radio communications were initiated between them and an unidentified smaller vessel and we watched as in the distance the Brazilians deployed a helicopter and were undoubtedly undertaking some kind of training with aforementioned smaller vessel – perhaps “intercept and secure”, checking they weren’t a boat load of terrorists?
If we didn’t think it was already enough of an international affair, it became truly cosmopolitan when a short while later the Brazilians were joined by our Baltic neighbours the Danes in HDMS Absalon (L16). Then it was a brief hello to HMS Northumberland (F238) as she appeared out of Loch Ewe to our north and headed over to join the others. Another exercise about to begin? Unfortunately however if it was, it was taking place under cover of the sea mist that was shrouding the Minch and we soon lost sight of them as they headed further into the grey cloud hanging on the horizon, that was getting ever closer – and soon closed in completely leaving us in a rain-cloud which seemed desperate to shed her load over the land!
So a fair amount of “exercising” going on … it’s really isn’t over until the fat lady sings!! (I’m working on a tune for the coming days, so bear with me!)