Quad Biking On Sea Ice: Antarctica

Even in the most remote, isolated and extreme place on earth, there is still space to have some fun.

Living and working in Antarctica brings some unique challenges you just do not get working in capital cities or even in remote mine sites. The isolation here means we can not get parts delivered until summer, the extreme temperatures can freeze anything, and the wind has been known to even blow away the anemometer, the device that gives us the wind speed reading.

So you can imagine we are kept busy by these conditions. However you know the old proverb “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy.” So what do we do for fun?

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Curtis Bureaux asked a question

On station we have plenty of things to occupy our free time. In the bar area we have a dart board, pool table, table tennis and a soccer table. We also have a Gym and a climbing wall. However this week the Sea Ice in the recreation area has been opened allowing us to travel on the sea ice. We went out with the FTO (Field Training Officer) to conduct our Sea Ice Travel Training, we learnt how to measure the sea ice thickness, how to read the maps and where we are allowed to go.

Thank you for visiting TatteredPassport, I hope you have enjoyed this video. Please  Share with you friends and FOLLOW by simply clicking on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your  screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, BEME and Snapchat.

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Peace Out,

Shane

My Bedroom in Antarctica

Do you live in an Igloo?

Would you believe thats a question I have actually been asked. I am certain is was intended as a joke, but it does raise a legitimate question about how we live down here. So I thought, I will do a series of short videos about our day to day life, to show what we do and how we live in the most isolated and extreme place on earth.

We live in a specially designed building which we call “The Red Shed”. The Red Shed is built on a system called AANBUS, Australian Antarctic Building System. The walls are almost 1 meter thick and are made up four pieces of freezer wall with an air gap in between. This is unique to the Australian Antarctic Program and is great at keeping us warm inside.

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The Red Shed Mawsom

My room is number 21 and I am on the top floor over looking East Arm and one of the Wind Turbines. Our rooms are quite small, which is fine as I spend most of my spare time in the communal living areas, like the bar, pool room, dog room and around the Dart board. We have all the creature comforts in our rooms like phones, internet connection, power outlets, and a comfy single bed. You would have seen in the video that I have a Humidifier, this is because Antarctica even with all this ice around is the driest place on earth. The Humidity outside is around 20% and inside the building can drop to as low as 10% making it quite difficult to sleep at night time, so a simple way to bring a little bit of humidity into my room is to have a humidifier. This one is real nice as I can add a few drops of essential oils, which is a great way to have a few nice smells around. As there are no plants other than the our Hydroponics room, or any natural smells, our sense of smell is heightened and we can smell the slightest change in the way the wind blows, blowing the smell of the diesel generators or even when the doctor is roasting his coffee beans, everyone all over station can smell them.

As you can see my room looks just like your room back home, however I do I have a few things that are unique to Antarctica. The “Normal, Caution, Danger, Stop” sign you sore, is our Field Travel Conditions guidelines. This outlines when you are allowed to go outside. Normal is basically fine weather and all travel is ok, Caution is visibility is less than 100m, and wind is up to 40knots, you are only allowed around station limits, Danger, visibility is less than 30m, winds are above 60knots. This is a blizzard and you need permission to go outside for urgent requirements only and STOP, it’s really, really bad out and no one is allowed outside.

I also have a few signs like The Mawson Station Search Zones, Fire Hydrant locations and Building and Structures. I need this for my roles as Electrician, Fire Chief and Emergency Response Team member. As we are so isolated, if anything like a fire, or someone goes missing, you can’t call the authorities, we are it, so we are our own emergency response.

I also have a few little things from home. My little Loch Ness Monsters, I bought them in Scotland in 2012, when my wife and I were on a road trip around the UK. They travel with us everywhere. The pink one is Crazy Ness and the blue one is Cool Ness. They sat on the dash board of the Kombi on the road trip across Australia. I also have some Tibetan Prayer Flags that I bought when I was in Nepal in 2014. The prayer flags remind me of the incredible spiritual journey I had through Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet in 2014.

So that is a run down on my room. I hope you enjoyed the video and the little insight into what life is like down here. If you have any questions about Antarctica, about what I am doing here, or about life down here, please ask in the comments and I will see if I can do a video on it for you.

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

ANTARCTICA: Aurora Australis Timelapse 2016

It is late and I am walking back from the Power House, there is a slight Aurora happening so I grab my camera, what happened next was out of this world.

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The Aurora starting to take form

Its the 1st of May 2016 at 830pm, I am walking back from the Mawson Power house, I slight Aurora is appearing in the night sky, nothing special, but its there. So I thought this might be a good chance to practice my Aurora Timelapse. I have never taken a timelapse of an Aurora before, or used my new timer remote, but tonight is the night.

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Aurora over Mawson

Its a little windy tonight so i set the camera up in the shelter of the “Red Shed” (living quarters) and face towards the ANARESAT, that big golf ball looking thing. To my suprise, this is when the sky decides to go crazy and show me one of the most epic Aurora’s I have ever seen.

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Aurora over Mawson Station

I was hoping for a return of the great Aurora the next night, and was not disappointed, infact, the next night was even more incredible.

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Aurora over Wombat

Thank you for visiting Tattered Passport. You can follow the adventure by simply clicking on the follow button at the bottom of your screen or on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and Beme.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.