After 80 years, the SS Monte Carlo has come back to life, and creative director, photographer and fine-artist Aldryn Estacio of FlytPath.com was on hand to capture the first shots of the incredible scene from the air using a DJI Inspire with X5 camera, and shared a bit of the ship’s history with us.
“I was able to capture these first-seen pics from above at low tide in Coronado Beach, CA,” Estacio told us via email. “This ship began her life as a 300-foot-long oil tanker, the SS McKittrick, launched in 1921. In 1936, gambling was a provocative issue in San Diego and the SS McKittrick became the SS Monte Carlo, one of three casino ships anchored in international waters, three miles from shore, off Point Loma. Partakers were transported to the ship via water taxis. On New Year’s Eve 1936, a severe storm hit the area and by New Year’s Day 1937, the Monte Carlo had run aground near the south end of Tent City. No one but a few crew were on board. Today, the deteriorating hull of the Monte Carlo is only visible at extreme low tide. The recent El Nino storms have dropped the sand level, exposing the ship to the elements.”
Estacio also used a PolarPro filter and transports his gear in a GPC backpack. With safety at the forefront of his mind at all times, he notified the local air tower of their flight and worked with a local news team to ensure a safe flight. “Seeing this ship in person so close to the shore seems surreal, something out of a movie,” he said. “I’m so grateful to document this piece of San Diego history.”