Doc’s Dozen (plus a couple more) with Ducky (aka by his Mum as Shaun), Projects Plumber, Co-fire Chief, Co-proprietor of the Duck Cox Barber Shop
Is this your first trip to Antarctica Ducky? What brings you here?
Yes, first trip south and was lucky enough to get a winter at Davis. Well, I had a TAFE teacher when I was an apprentice that had been here and I always thought that it would be pretty amazing to do and I completely forgot about it until last year — by chance I saw the applications open and thought why not try, you never know.
Ducky what is it like being a plumber here?
It’s pretty fun, I must say I enjoy the variety of work that we do here. There’s things that you wouldn’t encounter back in the real world like repairing leaking site service pipes in −30ºC.
Doc: You can keep that job all for yourself there Ducky.
If not a plumber what job would you do?
Well I've always dreamt of being a career fire fighter. I think they are some of the bravest people in the world. But if not, possibly be a butcher running my own little shop.
Doc: Well you are a fire chief here so you are half way there. It is tough training though I hear, you know, having to deal with difficult and demanding medical people sometimes.
Best gig as a plumber Ducky?
Um, well back home it would be the variety of people you meet and wide range of different jobs, oh and of course getting to work outside! Down here it would have to be field hut maintenance!
Ducky, I have to admit that I sometimes forget what your real name is. How long have you been Ducky and how did it come about?
Ha ha! I knew this question would pop up somewhere. I've been known as Ducky since I was about 15 and I rarely get called Shaun, and if I do I automatically think I’m in trouble. Unfortunately I cannot remember the origins, but I’m sure a few of my mates back home would be happy to make up a story for you.
Best experience in Antarctica?
Ah, a tough one. I have two. The first, I was lucky enough to go on a five day walk around the Vestfolds with two other expeditioners in the summer. The views between Platcha hut and Trajer Ridge were extraordinary. The other was another lucky moment in which I was part of a flight to do some hut maintenance and cargo retrieval from Beaver Lake which is in the deep field. We flew in the Basler and saw the amazing coastline of Antarctica and the Amery Ice Shelf.
What do you love about Antarctica now that you are here?
The scenery, landscape, wildlife, the unpredictable weather and the feeling you get knowing you’re one of the lucky few who get to enjoy this incredible place.
Doc: Yes Ducky, we are very lucky indeed.
Who inspires you?
My Mum. She made a lot of sacrifices raising us and made me the man I am today. I’ll never really know how to make it up to her, but one day I will.
Ducky, what have you learned living in our little community here at Davis?
Patience, the walls are thin and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Doc: Everyone says that you have to be patient here. Are we waiting for the bus or something?
If you were a car, what do you think you would be?
Um, something with a siren, I guess maybe an ice-cream truck. You can hear it from miles away and you’re never really sure how close or if it’s coming your way.
Doc: Fantastic! And of course everyone loves to run out and pick their favourite flavour.
What is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?
Anything! I've famously arrived at Davis with three t-shirts and a pair of pants, and had to get a lot shipped on V3. But I think the thing that’s come most handy is my Leatherman.
Doc: Yes the Leathermans are very popular and thank goodness for Brendan’s underwear Emporium for the little necessities of life.
If you could be someone else, who would it be?
I’m not really sure on a single particular person, but it would be fun to be a famous extra, like one of those guys you always seeing in shows or things like that but has no lines and people don’t know your name but they refer to you as that guy that’s in everything.
Doc: Ducky with your encyclopaedic knowledge of movies, I am sure there is not an actor in Hollywood that you could not name.
I think it is fair to say that you have been the face of ‘This week at Davis’ over the season. Has it led to any media offers or fan attention?
Haha! Oh yes, I’m ready to quit the plumbing gig and join show business. Not really. I think it’s a game of who you know when it comes to station news and of course, giving the people what they want, ha ha!
What is in store when you return to home?
Hopefully not repairing things at my house. Catching up with friends and family. I've missed a couple weddings and my sister had a little girl who I've never met, so making up for some lost time I guess.
Doc: Ducky, it has been a pleasure to peep inside your world. Thank you for your insights. I am also very happy to be able to offer you a free, no-expense-spared salon visit to Wallace, Wallace and Wallace where we can look after that little duck tail with the care and expertise it deserves.