We’ve written in our Blog before about our Ambassador, Jacque Comery, so we won’t rehash all the reasons why she is a modern day superwoman (although you can read more here), but we thought we would give you a little insight into her life in Antarctica.
(Jacque wearing the “Blues” rash guard)
We were fortunate to catch up with Jacque between a long winter she just spent as Station Leader of Casey Station in Antarctica (3880 kilometers due south of Perth), and her next role down that way as an operations coordinator. Not having seen much of the sun, literally, for about six months, Jacque regaled tales of her Antarctic adventures as she soaked in as much vitamin D as she could before heading back down south in a few weeks. Being surrounded by palm trees, sea birds and a warm ocean breeze ran counter to her entire experience over the past six months. She said, “There is no life in winter. Not even a bird. And the ice is blue.” Confined mostly to the “Red Shed” on Casey Station because of extreme wind and snow gusts does not match the romantic vision of Shackleton and his adventures that one might imagine. Life is grueling, both mentally and physically. Ingenuity, intuition and self motivation are key ingredients for survival, as everyone has their own tasks, yet when push comes to shove, lending a hand and problem solving is key to survival. If something breaks, it must be fixed. If someone gets blown away by a snow gust, they must be found. If the booze runs out, someone must be blamed. The internet is slow, the phone calls are expensive and the protocols, procedures and required certifications are well in line with the typical overkill of Australian bureaucracy (that’s my opinion). It takes a special sort of someone to soldier through a winter in Antarctica, and to do it with a smile on their face. In Noosa, Jacque was already shopping around for costumes to take back down for bar nights because, well, Jacque is not too cool for school, and will join in the fun when it is to be had.
(Enjoying the warm air in her short sleeve “Penguin Parade” triblend tee)
And through it all, as Station Leader, Jacque’s role was to keep a cool head. To pull the 20 or so individuals together when the going got tough, and to be the bad guy when such a dynamic warrants someone to blame. Her role, though she takes it on with gusto and eagerness, is not necessarily an enviable, but an admirable one to be sure.
And unlike her winter stint, this avid birder will return to her slice of ice to find that summer has dawned, and that the penguins, elephant seals and other creatures have returned. Hunting orcas will be in abundance, and you might as well queue the David Attenborough voiceover. And me? I am happy to live vicariously through this one, and to hear her stories of broken generators and beer brewing from the comfortable average temperature of about 70-80 degrees F, and to catch her between her pursuits for a chat, a few photos and a bourbon or two.
Surrounded by forests and greenery in her recycled/organic “Whale Shark” tee.
Beach hiking in her recycled/organic “Manta Mania” tee.
Catching a warm breeze before heading back down to Antarctica in her organic/hemp “Surf Line” v-neck