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.

Shipwrecked in Antarctica

Outside my window, the wind is pumping 130kmp/h, then I hear the loud scream of the SAR Alarm. I grab my survival bag and head to the mess, the primary muster point. That is where I am informed that the Aurora Australis, Australia’s Ice-Breaker has broken its moorings and run aground in Horseshoe Harbour. This is going to be a long day.

The local time is 9:15am (3:15pm AEDT) on Wednesday the 24th February 2016. Mother nature is showing us how much power an Antarctic blizzard has, sustained winds of 130kmp/h and zero visibility. You can hear the wind hitting the “Red Shed” (Living Quarters) the windows, they are pure white, you can’t see a thing out there. We all gather and our Station Leader Jen Wressel informs us that the “AA” has broken its moorings and run aground on West Arm. “The ship remains watertight, with no damage to the hull of the vessel”

The Aurora Australis departed Hobart on the 11th of January 2016 carrying 66 expeditioners and has been conducting marine science around the Kerguelen Plateau Region in the Southern Indian Ocean before arriving at Mawson Research Station on the 20th of February 2016 to conduct the Mawson Re-Supply.

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Aurora Australis on the Rocks

After the briefing the Field Training Officer who is also the Emergency Response Team Leader calls the ERT which I am a part of, to meet up stairs. We gather and discuss the options. We know that we can’t go out there now it is too dangerous, we also know that the crew on board are safe and that the ship remains water tight. So we gather all our ERT equipment and return in an hour. This goes on for a while, the weather is atrocious, and stays this way for 2 days.

The next day I managed to get the first image of the ship. It really looked battered, there were huge pieces of ice, frozen on the bright red iron, you could only just make out the tiny AA 2, the Aurora Australis’s little tug boat moored to the side of ship. It was strange to see the ship there. We new where it was, but the last time I had seen it, it was moored in the middle of the harbour.

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Aurora Australis Icebreaker

Blizzard conditions remained for 2 days, the crew on station were doing well, our concerns lay with those on the ship. We have been working hard and by this time we had laid plans for the crew aboard the AA to transfer to Mawson, when the weather conditions allowed. We have now been informed that there is a breach in the hull. It is only minor and in a section of the hull that normally holds ballast water. “This breach has occurred in an area of the ship that poses no risk to the stability of the vessel or of fuel leaking into the environment”.

The following day the weather lifted and we initiated our plans to transfer all expeditions from the AA to set foot on Antarctica. This was a real relief for the current team at Mawson and I am certain for the crew that have been aboard the AA since it left Hobart 7 weeks ago. We welcomed the AA crew to Mawson and escorted the new Mawson-ites up from the wharf to the warmth of the Red Shed.

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Aurora Australis Mawson

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Aurora Australis A ground at Mawson

On the 27th of February the ships crew managed to re-float the AA at 7:20pm AEDT (1;20pm Mawson time) using the ships ballast and work boats. The crew aboard the AA conducted a full assessment of the ships damage, whilst the AA stayed with in the vicinity of Mawson Station. This took 4 days to complete and on the 2 March the AA sailed, on its way to Fremantle in Western Australia.

The marine science expeditioners aboard the AA and the previous wintering crew remained at Mawson until the 2nd of March. They were transferred to Casey Station via the Japanese Ice-Breaker The Shirase, and onward to Hobart Australia on the 14th of March via a C-17A Globemaster III, operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The Shirase is operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (Japanese Navy) for the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE)

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The AA Shipwrecked

It was an incredible experience, super challenging for everyone involved on so many levels. Mawson is designed to house 40 Expeditioners, during the grounding there were 80 people on station. This stressed the very small water producing capabilities meaning the entire station was on strict water restrictions. One, three minute shower every three days. The waste water treatment plant was well over capacity, however “Team Plumb” did an incredible job at keeping everything working well. There are only 42 rooms on station, which meant many people needed to share the very small rooms, some slept in the library and some in the “Dog Room”. There were many little things that popped up as well, we didn’t have enough chairs in the Mess for everyone to sit down for dinner, we needed to get more coffee mugs, plates, cutlery and glasses from “The Green Store” and the very small dish washer, well that was pretty much going all the time. Even with all this extra stress on the station, everyone got along great. It was great to have the scientist on station. In my field I tend to talk to other tradies, Electricians, Plumbers, Mechanics and Carpenters, so having someone from a field so far away from what I do was super interesting. I spent a lot of the time asking questions about their research and about their time at sea. I also found a new light on my trade. I don’t tend to see what I do interesting, the things that I do everyday for work are just work, however these were interesting to them. It was a mutual cross skilled interest in someone else’s life, something I really valued and something you just don’t get anywhere else other than here in Antarctica.

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Mawson and The AA

After this huge start to our season, the Mawson Wintering crew, the 69th ANARE had settled into station life and had built a community we are all proud to be a part of. This does happen usually but the challenging start, I felt helped it along. I look forward to what this season brings and I invite you to join me on this adventure. It will be a long year down here, there will be ups and downs, there will be incredible challenges and lifetime friendships. This is going to be one adventure I will never forget.

Thank you for stopping by Tatteredpassport, if you have liked this post, please SHARE with your family and friends. You can FOLLOW Tatteredpassport on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and BEME, or simply by clicking on the FOLLOW BUTTON at the bottom of your page.

One Life, One Search,
Peace Out,
Shane.

ANTARCTICA: Vlog# 1, Frozen World

G’Day, For those of you who are new here, Welcome. My name is Shane, I am an Electrician and I will be spending and entire year working in Antarctica. That does sound crazy and I guess it kind of is, but this challenge is life changing.

I have been asked a number of times now, what is it that I do in Antarctica? So I thought a great way to actually show you all is to vlog it. So this is the first episode of ANTARCTICA: Vlogs by Tatteredpassport.

As you know I am an Electrician here at Mawson Station Antarctica. Mawson is located in Australia’s Antarctic Territory in Eastern Antarctica at (67, 36S, 62, 52E). Over winter there are only 14 people on station, two electricians, two plumbers, two mechanics, one carpenter, one BOM observer, one BOM Technician, one Field Training Officer, One Doctor, One Comms Operator, One Chef, and one Station Leader. We are some of the most isolated people on the planet right now. This itself brings some very unique challenges you would not experience working any where else. Which over the course of the year, I hope to show you.

This vlog is pretty much my usual day on station. I was on call as Electrician meaning I attend any alarms that come through the paging system, I was also on Power House Observations, which has me check the power house at 0800 and 2000, (8am- 8pm). I am also the Hydroponics Master and was on Hydro Obs this week, so you get to see our hydroponics room, where we are growing some fresh vegetables

I hope you enjoy the vlog and a little bit of a tour and insight of life in Antarctica. If you have any questions please ask, I hope to do an Antarctica Q&A soon.

Thank you for stopping by Tatteredpassport, if you have enjoyed this post please share, you can also follow by simply clicking on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your screen. You can also find Tatteredpassport on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and BEME.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Flying south for the winter

Story and photographs by Shane Ness

Antarctica’s wild nature captures the world’s imagination. This white continent caught me and now I get to join a very unique club, for those few people who have wintered over in Antarctica.

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The AAD’s A319 at Wilkins Aerodrome

Australia has been a part of the Antarctic story for 100 years. Sir Douglas Mawson infamous expeditions in the 1930’s have led the way for decades of Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) expeditioners to work in this icy, remote, extreme and beautiful continent at the bottom of the world.

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Whoop Whoop Hercules

I remember the start of my Antarctic story. I was an apprentice electrician in the 2000’s. I heard that electricians could work in Antarctica, but I felt it was out of reach for your average bloke. Little did I know that 10 years later I would be writing this story from Mawson Station Antarctica, preparing to winter over.

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Vesfold Hills Davis

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Welcome To Davis

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Davis Street Sign

Why Antarctica? I get asked this all the time. For me it is a part of the adventure, I thrive on challenging myself. The Antarctic adventure is not just bout exploring far off lands, it is about the challenges of working in such an extreme environment. The challenges of living in a small community for 12 months and the challenges of being away from my loved ones. This is going to be my biggest challenge ever.

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Davis From The Air

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Ice Berge moving

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Pan Cake Ice

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Rumdoodle from the air

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Twin Otter @ Rumdoodle

Thank you for visiting tatteredpassport, if you have liked this post please share with your friends. You can also follow me by clicking on the “FOLLOW” button or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and BEME.

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Kombi’s in Adelaide. The Ethical Road Trip

The Kombi Crew have not been able to use the sliding door of our Kombi for a week now. We have been climbing through the front door. Its been a little awkward, specially now that there are 3 of us living in the van. However we are approaching a major city and a local VW shop believes he may have the parts to repair the hinge.

South Australia and Adelaide has completely blown we me away, the city centre has some amazing buildings and is right next to the lush green rolling hills.

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Playing with shining things

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Reeds at Sunset

On The Ethical Road Trip, we are supporting Headspace  and the work that they do in Youth Mental Health. You can support headspace by simply sharing this post or by donating via our Everyday hero page.

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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.

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

 
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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:
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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.
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One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Great Australian Bight Road Trip. 2015

After 3 days of “Travelling In A fried Out Kombi” we cross the border into South Australia. We are instantly rewarded with a spectacular site, The Great Australian Bight. It is so refreshing to see the ocean again after spending the last 3 days sweating it out in a Kombi in the desert.

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Taking it all in.

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Shane at The Bight

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The Great Australian Bight

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Streaky Bay Caravan Park.

As we pull into Ceduna, we spot a great place to have some lunch and figure out where to buy some parts for the Kombi. We have been having a few dramas with the Kombi’s second battery, and need a new one. We find a auto store and a carpark to do the repairs. A new battery, some hose clamps, some repairs to the radio and we are off again. Tonight we camp at the incredibly beautiful Streaky Bay Caravan Park. We usually try and stay away from paid campsites, but there is nothing around here. We take the opportunity to have a shower and even do a load of washing.

You can help us support headspace, simply share this post with your friends 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. 

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 find TatteredPassport on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and now you can follow us on:
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Snapchat @TatteredPassport

One Life, One Search,

Peace Out,

Shane.

Best Beaches In The World.

We stop at one of my favourite beach side towns in the world, Esperance, Western Australia. Esperance has some of the whitest beaches, the bluest water and such a chilled out beach side town vibe.

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Kombi in Esperance

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The Best Beach in the World?

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Beach! Do I need to say anymore?

You can help us raise awareness and much needed funds for headspace, by sharing this post or by donating via our Every Day Hero Page.

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.

You can also follow Tattered Passport on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and BEME.