Aurora Restoration


Stockton, California 2015. I found my self sat on a dock in the middle of nowhere waiting to board the MV Aurora. The water was still and the sun letting me know she is alive. Sitting there looking up it was obvious why there were three young innovators and entrepreneurs pitching for help at an Ephemerisle Arts Festival Salon. It took place at the Red Victorian Hotel on Haight Street. Now a co-living/co-work/hostel community house it attracts the free thinkers questioning alternative methods of living, thought process and progression as a collective race. At the end of the pitch I was engaged and wanted to put some of my time to good use. My hands hadn’t been dirty in a while as I had spent most of my time on the streets of San Francisco working on street photography, now it was time to be covered in rust crystals and black widow cobwebs.


The first ship allowed to be built in West Germany after WWI, It had Hybrid engines. One of which had actually been stolen over the years. There were parts of the floor missing and parts were the ceiling was falling through. You could see the rust fall off the walls is something knocked against it. The amount of electric cable, engineers and mechanics needed to volunteer their time was in much need and it was clear this was going to be a long project. After changing hands over the years without up keep and proper care it was make or brake time for the Aurora, braking was not an option anymore. 

We were on a timescale just to make at least part of it presentable to pitch for funding and help in anyway. I spent the good part of the day in the main ball room and its lower storage rooms pilled with chairs upon chairs and personal possessions of it’s current owner. As dawn came we sat up on the deck watching the sun set, covered in dust and calling a day. that night it was time to explore. Armed with only a head torch we explored the rusty darkness.



For the record I opted not to sleep in my window less cabin that night as the black widows were already occupying it, i’d leave them to the lighting show in the distance. It was before I lived in a jungle so I still suffered from a slight case of arachnophobia. It was either the potential murder cabin or the couch. Of course the couch as I dozed while watching Blade Runner on repeat until the sun came up. there was also no murder cabin, just the rust we hope from the room making it’s way in between the mattresses.

I give thanks to Sean, Alexander, Munjal and of course Christopher for the opportunity and experience, i’m truly blessed. 


You can find more information about the MV Aurora here

Information on the restoration project and it’s progress here

Emphemerisle Arts festival here

The Red Vic San Francisco here

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