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.

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

The day I start my biggest adventure ever.

Today is the day, the day I start on my biggest adventure ever. Today I leave for Antarctica. After a few delays we all meet at the bus stop in front of the motel that I have called home for the last week. Its a cold wet Hobart morning, the sun still yet to rise, the fog still yet to clear and the feeling of excitement is thick in the air. The bus arrives we chuck all our gear in the luggage compartment and the adventure begins.

We arrive at the Hobart Airport, its a small airport that pretty much only caters for domestic flights, except for the little terminal that is hidden away in the corner, the “Saffire Lounge”. The Saffire Lounge is the rarely used Hobart International Airport which each year says fare well to all the Antarctic Expeditioners. I enter the small terminal and feel a wash of pride flow through me. I am one of a very small selected group of people who are lucky enough to see this very unique terminal and all that it represents.

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Antarctic Pancake Ice

The flight was not your average international flight, the A319 is a very unique aircraft. The middle seats have been removed to carry luggage, however in this instance the large space allowed the expeditioners the perfect place to mingle. We all hung out in this space, drinking coffee, eating muffins, chatting and of cause taking plenty of photo’s. We were also allowed to walk straight into the cockpit and chat to the pilots. This was a very unique experience. From the cockpit you got the best uninterrupted view of the large expanse of pancake sea ice and huge ice bergs.

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AAD A319

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The AAD A319 at the Pegasus

Once we closed in on Pegasus airstrip, the huge glacial runway at McMurdo the US station inside the Antarctic circle, I started to realise how lucky I was to have been selected for the Australian Antarctic Program. Then I stepped onto the ice and it hit me, A huge smile crept onto my face which 2 months in still has not left. It was bitterly cold, -17c but I did not care. I was here, I was in Antarctica. I quickly snapped a bunch of rushed pics as were getting guided over to “Ivan The Terra Bus”, the single most epic vehicle I have ever seen.

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The most epic vehicle anywhere

After a very bumpy ride we arrived at McMurdo. McMurdo is huge, and I mean huge, I had been told that it was big, but I guess I had no real idea what to expect, but this was not it. My first Antarctic experience was of this massive city, with 1100 people living and working there. I could see massive accommodation buildings, heaps and heaps of vehicles, there was a fire station equipped with a full size american fire truck and I had heard rumours of 3 bars. Was this really the Antarctica that I had expected???

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Chief Gareth and Sparkie Nessy at the famous McMurdo Station sign

Thank you for stopping by Tattered Passport, if you have liked this post please Like and feel free to share. You can also follow by simply clicking on the “FOLLOW” button on the bottom of your screen. I will be posting regular updates from my time in antarctica so stay in touch. You can also find Tattered Passport on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

One Life, One Search.
Peace Out.
Shane.

(PS: I have been filming heaps, including our trip from Hobart to McMurdo, However due to the limited bandwidth we have I can not upload to YouTube. I will upload all my YouTube content as soon as I return to Australian around late feb early March 2015)