Surviving Antarctica: Field Training Officer

Story and Photographs by Shane Ness.

“Im also missing out on all the Screaming and the Pooing”

Tony Donaldson Field Training Officer Mawson Station, Antarctica.

Antarctica might be the most extreme place on earth, but could you imagine how tough it would be teaching survival techniques at -30C? Tony Donaldson a Mountain Guide from New Zealand is the Field Training Officer at Mawson Station over winter and he is up to the challenge.

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Climbing Fang Peak

“The scope for danger or loss of life is a lot smaller then it is back home”

Tony Donaldson,

“When things go wrong down here, they go wrong very quickly”

Tatteredpassport, Aurora Australis

When it all turns to Custard

Antarctica is a destination very few ever reach, designated  as “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” (Antarctic Treaty) Antarctica has captured the imaginations of intrepid adventurers for decades. You really feel you are at the edge of the world in Antarctica, some of the most isolated people on the planet.

“I wanted to see how I would fare, working in a really harsh environment”

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Search and Rescue Training

It takes a certain breed to be able to complete a winter, someone who is tough, capable of facing any challenge this icy world throws at them. An Antarctic winter has an uncanny knack of throwing everything it has at you, almost in an attempt to break you. Tony had an extra challenge, something very few would be able to cope with. Tony and his partner Svata had their daughter Anne while he was in Antarctica.

“Svata had our daughter Anne on the 22nd of Sept”

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Tony at home with Anne

“It’s been challenging missing some of the initial steps”

Tony says reflecting on the first few months of being away from his new born daughter.

Antarctica is isolated, really isolated, so isolated that once you arrive you are stuck until the summer returns 9 months later.

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Now this is remote

Once the Australian Ice-Breaker, The Aurora Australis leaves the station, taking with it the previous winter staff, you quickly realise how isolated you are. All of a sudden, station life goes from 40 people down to just 14. The station is quite, you cross paths with your new family in the corridors of the red shed. It starts to sink in, you are some of the most isolated people on the planet.

Thank you for visiting Tatteredpassport, Have you been somewhere super remote? Or have you visited Antarctica? I would love to read your comments.

You can find more stories from Antartica and many more adventures by clicking the FOLLOW button. You can also follow my adventures on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane

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.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane

headspace Adelaide in Kombi Confessions

G’Day from Adelaide in South Australia. Its Friday which means another episode of Kombi Confessions. Where I interview a bunch of amazing people all across Australia in my 1976 Kombi.

Today we have a bunch of special guest, we are all crammed in the Kombi, a true inspiration the Adelaide headspace Youth Ambassadors. Leah, Ella, Bob and Ella.

If you are having a tough time jump on the Headspace Website.

You can help us support headspace by donating via our Everyday Hero page or simply by sharing this post.

 

Go check out all headspace socials:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/headspaceAustralia
Instagram: https://instagram.com/headspace_aus/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/headspace_aus
headspace Adelaide Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/headspaceadelaide

 
Thank you for watching TatteredPassport, If you have enjoyed this movie please LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE with your friends. I love hearing about all your amazing adventures and stories, so please feel free to comment below.
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Snapchat @TatteredPassport

The Kombi Melts, The Flies Take Over and The Door falls off AGAIN!

We wake early to a beautiful sunrise over Streaky Bay South Australia. We are quickly in the desert and it starts to get hot, I am certain the Kombi will melt, then the flies start, then the door falls off again! Argghh first day in the desert and I am knackered!

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Home Made Melts

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The Kombi and Venus Bay

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Pelicans In Venus Bay

You can help us support headspace, simply share this video or you can donate straight to headspace via our everyday hero page!

If you are having a tough time give headspace a call on:
1800 650 890
or jump on their website: http://headspace.org.au/

Go check out The Sangaman and say G’Day from Shane:
https://www.facebook.com/funindabun

Thank you for visiting TatteredPassport, If you have enjoyed this post please LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE with your friends. I love hearing about all your amazing adventures and stories, so please feel free to comment below.
You can also follow TatteredPassport on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and now Snapchat and BEME
BEME: @TatteredPassport
Snapchat @TatteredPassport

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Exploring an Abandoned Antarctic Station: Wilks Station

Today a few of us are lucky enough to head “Off Station” on what we call a Jolly, (recreation tie off station). We jump in the IRB’s and head across the bay to the abandoned Wilks Station. Wilks was originally established by the U.S. on the on the 29th of January 1957 then handed over to Australia on the 7th of February 1959. Australia used the station until 1969 when the new Casey Station was occupied.

Wilks Station

Public Transport Antarctica style.

Once at Wilks we make the walk through the ruins of this unique part of Australia’s Antarctic heritage. You can see so many buildings completely buried in ice and snow, with just their roofs peaking through the surface. It was amazing to think that there used to be a complete working station here, now hidden below years of snow. We make it the hut that will be our home for the night, the famous Wilks Hilton. Its an old Transmitter hut and now acts as one of the favourite recreation huts for expeditioner’s from Casey. The hut oozes character and charm of yesteryear. We settle in and head out to explore the station.

Wilks Hilton

The lads at the Wilks Hilton

Wilks Station, Tattered Passport,

Abandoned Buildings

I could easily spends days walking around these old remains, it was just incredible to see parts of buildings that used to house expeditions back in the early days of Antarctic Research. It gave me a little insight into what it might have been like here back in the 60’s. Now days we have WiFi, phones, Radio comms back to Australia, ducted heating, we even have a spa. These expeditions back in the 60’s were made of much tougher fibre then any of us.

Wilks Station.

Supplies from a lifetime ago.

Wilks Station

Old Machinery left Behind

After many hours of exploring and deep discussions with my mates about how it might have been like to be here we sit down to watch the sunset over Casey. I had another Antarctic moment on that rocky outcrop. I am sitting here at an Abandoned Research Station in Antarctica, watching the sunset. How did I get here? How did a this bloke from the Girrawheen end up working as an Electrician in Antarctica?

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have enjoyed this post please hit the Like button, you can follow my adventures by simply clicking on the Follow button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Wilks Station

The Sunset i have ever seen.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

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Two Days In The Kombi

My NOT so little project is starting to take shape now. I’ve had this bus for a few years now and have always been tinkering with her. Lately I have stepped it up a notch in hoping that I will take her on one BIG adventure soon.

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Two Days in The Kombi

Lately I have had her engine repaired, she now has a new cam, her carbies have been re-built, I have had some pretty sick White Wall Tyres put on her and now have painted the rims black. Inside I have been hard at work putting some recycled cupboards in, my wife Kristy has made up some of the coolest curtains and the other week I have had a new Pop-Top fitted. We have also given the inside a coat of paint.

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have liked this post I would love to have you subscribe to my blog. Simply click on the “Follow” button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane

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Antarctica: Casey Station, Re-Supply 2014

The yearly Casey Re-Supply is the most chaotic and busy time at the Australian Antarctic Program’s Casey Station. We have a week to completely re-stock the station with Fuel, food, parts needed for repairs and to send any scientific research projects back to Australia as well as receiving anything to do with this years projects. It is the only time in the summer season that the crew work 24hrs a day. Everyone is working super hard and doing tasks outside of their usual role on station. I am an electrician and I was driving the big old Mack Truck.

Thank you for watching TatteredPassport, If you have enjoyed this movie please LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and SHARE with your friends. I love hearing about all your amazing adventures and stories, so please feel free to comment below. You can follow Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and simply by clicking on the Follow button at the bottom of your screen.

Survival Training: Antarctica.

The time has come, I am both excited and a little nervous about the next two days. Every expeditioner needs to complete and show their competence in all aspects of survival training. This includes everything from organising your expedition paper work through to plotting your course using maps and compasses.

Tattered Passport, Antarctica

Survival Training: Casey Station

As our training day approaches we are informed by the Meteorology team that the weather is turning bad and a blizzard is possible. We carry on planning our training day and decide as a group to go a head. I must admit I am a little nervous about spending 24hrs out in this weather, but at the same time I am well aware how much of a unique experience this will be. Everyone down there needs to complete survival training, but so far everyone has had perfect weather.

Tattered Passport, Antarctica

Survival Training, Antarctica.

Tattered Passport: Antarctica

Survival Training, Antarctica: Feeling The Chill

We have completed all our paper work, collected all our gear and we are ready to head out. We make our very first call in to Casey Communications, explain our intentions and off we head towards Shirley Island. We need to follow the approved walking route which winds its way through a rocky valley. We have a few marked GPS Way points on our maps, which we use to navigate ourselves through this area. I soon realised that this was going to be a challenge. We constantly refer to our maps and compasses, but it so windy. Every time I remove my map from my jacket it almost blows away.

Tattered Passport, Antarctica

Radioing In

We reach the sea ice and call Casey Communications. To walk on ice we need know how thick it is and the only way to do that is to drill the ice. So we grab our Sea Ice Drill and set it all up. We learn a bit about sea ice, how to tell if it is good ice, how thick it is and how saturated it is. As we finish drilling we are visited by group inquisitive Adelie Penguins. It was incredible, they came right up to us and spent a good 10 minutes just chilling and checking us out, until they get bored and return to their colony.

Tattered Passport, Antarctica.

Adelie Penguins, Shirley Island, Antarctica

As we reach Shirley Island we have another training drill. We set up a survival shelter called a Mega Bivvy. A bivvy is a bag that you can use in a survival situation. They are way to escape from the wind, they are super light and easy to set up even in strong winds. We all jump in the Mega Bivvy and call in to Casey Communications. We watch and listen to the weather getting worse and decide its time to head to our next location, The Wharf. Here we will learn how to use the camp stoves and how to set up our personal bivvy bags and where we’ll be spending the night.

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport, if you have liked this post please Like, Share and Follow. You can follow Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and simply by clicking on the follow button at the bottom of your screen.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement.

I leave the chaos that is Kathmandu, jump on a plane and head to the most incredible place, Pokhara. I had heard about a very special settlement just a 30min drive from the town centre so we decided to grab a cab and head out see what it was all about.

Tattered Passport Pokhara

A gift from the Dalai Lama

We arrive at the Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement and were greeted by a beautiful gateway and a very unique script written on it. Through out my time in Tibet we had not seen any reference to his holiness the Dalai Lama. This left a huge gap through out Tibet, as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism the Dalai Lama is held in the highest of regard, however it is illegal to even talk about him in Tibet. So it was so beautiful to see his name right there in big letters, inviting you into the settlement. “Given by his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama”, I new instantly this was a special place.

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

Tashi Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

om mani padme hum

I dropped a “tashi Delek” and was instantly welcomed with open arms into their settlement. We were shown around by a beautiful Tibetan lady. Then I was invited into the Butter Lamp, prayer room and shown how to pray. This was a magical moment for me, I was able to give something back to these beautiful people, I purchased a butter lamp, said a prayer and was blessed.

Tattered Passport, Pokhara

Prayers and Butter Lamps

There are estimated 13000 Tibetan People living in exile in Nepal according to the The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). I am unsure of the number at this settlement. The people living at the settlement are kind of stuck between to worlds, it is very difficult for them. I do not pretend to understand how it all works for them, but from what I gather is that they are not allowed to work in Nepal. The only way that they can earn money is by selling some souvenirs. They have a small gift shop which sells hand made crafts, and as you walk out from the settlement you pass through a make shift market. Here you will find some amazing jewellery I am a big fan of beaded bracelets and necklaces and I was in heaven here. They are all hand made and you purchase them from the person who made them. In attempt to spread my money around I tried my hardest to by something small from all the stalls. 

https://youtu.be/7XB8nN0pR7g

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have liked this post please Like, Share and Follow. Simple click on the follow button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Have you visited Pokhara, Nepal? What did you think about the Tibetan refugee settlement?

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Inside Tibet: The Friendship Highway. Daily Vlog: 45

We continue our journey along the interestingly named Friendship Highway which is a 800 kilometre Highway stretching from the Capital of Tibet, Lhasa to the Tibetan (Chinese)/ Nepalese Border at the China-Nepal Friendship Bridge between Zhangmu and Kodari.

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Being on the Friendship Highway made me think. On this journey through Tibet I have made some life long friends, I have shared some incredible moments with these fellow travellers, I have left my family and friends back home and around the world to follow my dream and see Tibet for myself. I have rode the roller-coaster of emotions and have learnt so much about myself. Is that was this Friendship Highway was designed to do? Make you contemplate life, or is it Propaganda? A way for the Chinese Government to gloss over how they are treating the Tibetans, in an attempt to make it all seem ok?

Tattered Passport Tibet

Friendship Highway

As we approached the border I was lost with in my own thoughts. Soon I would be able to Skype home and speak to my wife, soon I would be free from the restraints that China has locked Tibet down with, soon I will be in Nepal, but am I ready for that? Am I ready to leave Tibet?

I soon realise that there is a fairly good chance that I will not return to Tibet. This could be my last time that I see this country, a country that has had such an impact on me, so much that I cant even place words in any form that would describe it. So what do I do?

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Our bus reaches the end of the road, we can go no further, I can see the bridge, I can see the customs gates and all the Chinese Military holding some serious fire power. I am instructed to put away the camera, even though I would really like to show you the border I comply, these machine guns and the tension is a little intense. Our guide is stopped as we walk up to the gate and not allowed to go any further. We all say our good-byes and hope that our guide is safe.

As we crossed the Friendship Bridge I look down and see a line of bricks, symbolising the border. On the Tibetan side a Chinese Officer stands still, machine gun in hand, ready for action, a last reminder of Tibet, on the Nepalese side an officer leans against the handrail, smiling, welcoming us back into Nepal. I stop for a moment, still in Tibet, one last moment in this country. I quickly get told to move on by the machine gun holding officer, and into Nepal I enter.

https://youtu.be/AXL5C4aWmF0

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport. If you have liked this post please Like, Share and Follow. Simply click on the follow button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.