Earlier this week I woke up an hour or two before sunrise and decided to take the drone down to the beach at Cala Millor, for what could turn out to be its last flight for a while.
The sun is rising at around 8:05am here at present, but I made the short trip to the water a little earlier than that to get set up. There were a handful of people walking along the promenade but it was a still and quite morning.
I'd been flying the drone, wondering if I could make a video of sungazing look interesting, for ten minutes or so when a guy asked me (I think) what I was filming. He answered his own question (I think) before I responded, basically repeating some of what he'd said - 'El sol, si'.
He then disappeared out of the corner of my eye for a few minutes while I focused on not crashing into an Palm trees and then returned to ask me the name of the drone. I understood the question this time but responded with the English pronouciation of 'DJI Mini 2', before changing the 'two', to 'dos' - Yeah, I think he probably understood the 'two'.
What he didn't catch was the 'DJI'. 'J' in Spanish is a bit like breathing out with a bit of fhlem in your throat, and 'I' sounds like the English 'E'. We got there in the end, and I did wonder at the time if he was a keen drone person, or just being nosey.
Anyway, I flew the drone whilst the sun rose, and then called it home when the battery got low. Just as I'd packed it away and turned to start walking towards my bike, a Policeman arrived on his motorbike. He took his helmet off and replaced it with a cap as I walked right past him, but didn't give me a glance.
Whilst unlocking my bike I watched him walk up to the promenade wall and check left and right, and before I'd set off he was already back at his bike, swapping the cap for the helment again. Had I been reported? I have a feeling I was.
Later that day I checked online again for drone regulations, and this time found out that things have changed since the turn of the year. Initially I thought that my drone, weighting less than 250g, was pretty much deemed a toy and I just needed to avoid the places where all drone activity is banned to the public.
It turns out though that I now need to be registered, take a test, and pay 10 euros or so each year to fly anywhere. The cost is bareable, but what is a pain is the forms and guidelines on how to complete the forms. I mean, I'm already up to my neck in forms written in Spanish, and right now I can't face any more. I did have a quick look at an online form which asked for my nationality, it then proceeded to dynamically alter the form and ask me for an number which British drone pilots have, and fix entry my country of residence to the UK. Yeah, stuff that, for now.
What I think will end up happening is that I'll take my toy to places where people aren't present, not spend too long there, get some shots, and sneak away into the sunshine - That's until I have the energy to face becoming legit.
Anyway, enjoy the sunrise :)
(Music: Breathe - Telepopmusik)