ANTARCTICA: Swimming in -1.8C Water

This week we celebrate Mid Winters Day,the Mid Winters Solstice,with a unique Antarctic Tradition.The Mid Winter Swim, something that I have been looking forward to for ages.I don’t know why, it was sobloody cold, it hurt. The temps on Mid Winters day were -29.3C and the water was a freezing -1.8C, I must be crazy to swim in this. 

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Chainsawing the Sea Ice

Why are the Mid Winter Celebrations so important to expeditioners? Well it is a milestone for us. Here at Mawson the sun set on the 19th of June and we wont see it again for 10 days. It is now that we are in the middle of the darkest, coldest part of our stay in Antarctica. It’s around this time that you really miss home, you miss your loved ones, you miss the beach sand and you miss your dog, well I know I do. This is when your Antarctic family come together for  the best dinner and festivities of the year. We still have a long way to go before we return to the warmth of home, but for now, this is home and this is our family and now I realise that, so we celebrate. 

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Preparing the pool

One thing we do for a bit of a laugh is send out invitations to our celebrations. It’s all a bit of fun as we are well aware how isolated we are right now, there is no way in, or out. This year I sent a few invites out to some of my favourite YouTubers and to my suprise, got a few great replies from Nicole Eddy and Louis Cole.

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Getting ready for the swim

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Yep its as cold as i thought

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Shane’s Polar Plunge

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Yep it was freezing

Thank you so much for visiting TatteredPassport. If you have enjoyed this post please share with you friends. If you have any questions about this video or anything about life down here in Antarctica, please ask in the comments and i’ll see if I can do a video on it.

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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Antarctica: Walking To Work In A Blizzard

Antarctica is a magical place, its raw natural beauty, it’s remoteness, it’s ability to bring the best out of everyone who visits here, but it’s not always perfect, Antarctica is a wild, untamed natural environment and that is one of the reasons why I come here.

It is unpredictable and here, you can see and feel the full force of mother nature.

Working in this environment brings some very unique challenges, simple things, like don’t leave you tools lying around, they will either freeze or blow away, your drinking water freezes in its bottle, and simply getting to work can be an adventure.

This day I needed to get to work in a blizzard. It is blowing between 40 to 60knots,

which is around 70 to 110kmph. With the blowing snow our visibility is less than 100m, this puts us in the “Field Travel Condition” of CAUTION, meaning we are restricted to station limits and we should call ahead before we go outside.

Here I walk from The Emergency Vehicle Shelter to the Operations Building a short couple hundred metre walk.

Thank you for visiting TatteredPassport, please Like and Share this post with your friends. You can follow TatteredPassport by simple 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

Crazy Underground Mine Tour: Coober Pedy South Australia

G’Day, today we leave the Northern Territory crossing the state border into South Australia with a rough plan to make Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy is a famous outback town in the middle of absolute no where. Why is it famous? Well the town is a Opal mining town and its hot, so hot that some of the residents actually live in underground homes, yep real underground homes called “Dug Outs”.

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The Ethical Road Trip

As we arrive in Coober Pedy you start to see this strange looking scenery, there are little mounds of dirt scattered across the country side, these are piles of dirt that have been sifted looking for Opals. We see a sign for “Toms Working Opal Mine Tours” and we just had to see this. We had no idea about opal mining or what we were getting ourselves into.

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Kombi at the State Border

The first thing we noticed as we entered the mine that it was nice and cool. In the Kombi it has been getting super hot and you have no escape from the heat or the flies. Down here, underground it was like it had air conditioning and there were no flies!!! We meet our tour guide Georgen a german opal miner and Coober Pedy character. We donned our hardhats and started the walk into the mine.

The tour is in a underground opal mine, that is still working to this day, Georgen works there as a miner and even showed us some opal he was mining at the time. He showed us the technique that he has worked out for him self. He even gave us a go at mining. It was hilarious to see a YouTuber attempt to use power tools. I don’t think there would be any tour any where else in Australia that would be like this one.

After we finished the tour Georgen actually invited us back to his house to have a look at a real Underground home. It was incredible to see a “real” underground home, not something prepared for tourist, a real home. Georgen explained how he dug the house out using mining equipment. The home is completely “Off The Grid” as well which is pretty cool. They have a small Diesel Generator out the front with some solar panels. They charge batteries around the house which they use to power the house appliences. The less appliences they have the less power they need to produce, its a very interesting way of life. A very “back to basic’s” way of living. Very unique to Coober Pedy.

Thank you so much for visiting Tattered Passport and for being a part of this adventure. You can follow Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and BEME. You can also help us support headspace and their great work in Youth Mental Health, simply sharing this post or you can donate via our Everyday Hero Page.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out

Shane.