My thoughts as I entered Shackleton’s Nimrod hut22nd May, 2016
Soon as I entered the hut I was smiling. This feels like a small country hall. It also felt inviting and uplifting. The huge coal range at the other end of the hut made a statement of warmth, even though it was bloody cold. It felt like home. Im thinking now, it wouldn’t surprise me if Shackleton being the clever man he was, planned for the big Mrs Sam coal range to be placed right there. Well when you think about it, soon as the men entered the door they would see this magnificent looking beast which would have immediately radiated warmth.
Lots of light coming through the generous windows. Whats the other word I’m looking for, oh yes cozy. I am imagining how the explorers must have felt with the brutal winter storms this must have felt like paradise. During the summer months it must have felt like a beach house with the deep blue of Mc Murdo Sound a few hundred meters from the entrance. The Adelie penguin colony, well thats another story. I could live here, yes this place feels simply nice.
Cape Royd’s the friendly Cape.14th May, 2016
With the camp set up and Nichy brewing up it was time to take in the panorama of the famous Cape Royd’s. Wow! Complete contrast to Cape Even’s which was quiet beyond belief. Here at Cape Royds I’m looking out to the deep blue water of Mc Murdo Sound. Unlike Cape Even’s the sea ice is breaking out.
The Adelie Penguin colony is situated just in front of the hut so we had the pleasure of listening to the chitter chatter of thousands of Adelie Penguins. So there is a lot going on here at Cape Royd’s. It feels good really good. Is this how Shackleton felt, I reckon so. Im looking down at the hut some 400 meters away. By now I’m chomping at the bit to get down there. However Nichy is preparing lunch first. Yes indeed some food first as I know this is going to be a long day and night. I can’t wait!
Camping- Cape Royd’s style.8th May, 2016
After arriving at Cape Royd’s the first priority was to set up camp. Nichy had this sorted in no time at all while I was busy carting the gear down from the heli pad. The camp site was about 400 meters away from the hut. The bay behind the tent is Backdoor Bay which was used by Shackleton’s ship “Nimrod” to unload provisions for the expedition.
Video – Studio update.6th May, 2016
Helicopter and Cape Royd’s30th April, 2016
After the visit to Scott’s Terra Nova hut at Cape Even’s we made our way back to Scott Base. By this time I was feeling quite jaded after working around the clock gathering as much photographic material as possible. Immediately after arriving back at Scott Base the thoughts of a break were quickly short lived. A meeting with logistics staff confirmed that we were heading to Cape Royd’s the following day. Fatigued no more as adrenalin kicks in and preparations for the trip are quickly underway.
Shackleton’s Nimrod hut is situated at Cape Royd’s which is a volcanic out crop from Mount Erebus and only 11 km North of Cape Even’s where Scott’s Hut is situated. However because of the Mc Murdo Sound sea ice breaking up, the only way to reach the hut is by helicopter. Nichy Brown is traveling with me as support and guide. Amazing person. Super experienced and already has every thing under control for our trip tomorrow.
The flight to Cape Royd’s was in near perfect visibility. Flying over Cape Even’s and Cape Royd’s certainly put everything into geographical perspective. I will never forget flying over both Capes.
Beautiful texture15th April, 2016
I like to photograph close focus and here are a few more examples. I also like to capture the texture. I must have taken around two thousand photographs but here a few more that caught my eye.
Treasure Trove17th March, 2016
Scotts hut is an absolute treasure trove of objects and personal items that very quickly became the focus of my paintings. So many potential painting subjects. Oh boy where to start ! Im thinking “Take it easy Sean, you have one shot at this so get on with your plan instead of racing around like a chook with its head chopped off”.
So, after the emotions settled down, the plan was to gradually work around the hut one area at a time and then focus in on the potential subjects. This was going to be challenging. Its dark, cold and very eerie. As I set about my work the detail of individual items began to emerge. This is when you have to keep your emotions in check as its about as close as you can possibly be to these remarkable men.
The old leather boots with creases and folds in the leather. So personal like a second skin. Who did they belong to? Tin mugs, Toothbrushes, sewing kits.
What really got hold of me was the chain hanging up that was used to tether the dogs. It felt very sad. They are our loyal companions and this simple chain reminded me they were here to serve their masters once again in the the most hostile place on Earth.
My thoughts as I entered Scott’s Terra Nova hut9th January, 2016
Some parts of the building were very dark and then there were pockets of light where the bright sunshine was streaming through the small windows which high lighted certain parts of the hut. There was no colour. Very subdued. The scene was sad and oppressive. The silence, yes the silence just the sound of the odd Skua which is not exactly the most elegent bird call. Almost Crow like. The absolute quiet. It’s cold.
Running through my head are the stories of hardship and death. You get the scene. Then I begin to focus on the thousands of artifacts that will become my focus of attention. The sadness within this place is everywhere. They ( the men) were here, definitely here. Its strange, I don’t think so much about Scott but “Birdie” Bowers enters my head again. I think its because he was a strong character and quite recognisable with his big nose. As though he is still here, because the hut is like a time capsule. Maybe he has gone for a walk. He has gone, but his spirit is still here close by.
Once I got to know the hut I felt better. Scott was here for a reason, not only to reach the South Pole. The way the hut was set up allowed for numerous scientific research projects and other projects for the good of exploration and research. It seemed every square inch of the hut had a purpose.
Arriving at Scotts Terra Nova hut31st December, 2015
I finally made it. Im here at last. As the we approached Cape Evans, I couldn’t see the hut as it seemed to blend in against the black volcanic rock. Then there she was. Dwarfed by the mighty Mt Erebus.
My first impression was that the hut didn’t belong here in a odd sought of way. I think it was because there is absolutely nothing here, no hint of civilization at all and one simply doesn’t expect to see any hint of civilisation. Then I see the hut, looking forlorn and lonely, but at the same time a powerful monument that represents the spirit of adventure and the men of men who sacrificed so much to lay the foundation for science and exploration in this continent as we know it today.
The trip across Mc Murdo Sound sea ice to Cape Evans30th December, 2015
With the Antarctic field training now complete it was time to think about visiting the historic huts. The weather forecast looks brilliant so tomorrow is the day we head out to Scotts Terra Nova hut which is situated 35 km North of Scott Base at Cape Evans.
The mode of transport will be by Hagglunds. The two hour trip from Scott Base to Cape Evans takes us across the sea ice in Mc Murdo Sound. Get this, the sea ice is only 2 meters thick and is still safe to travel over in the Hagglund’s when only 600mm thick. Cape Evans is one of the many spurs of land that protrude out from Mt Erebus.