page 16 - December, 1963, Ben Oostdam's Autobiography

December 15 , Sunday: Played squash and taught swimming in the morning.

After noon, we tried to swim at the beach but the surf was too rough, so instead we went to the Orange River mouth (right). Most of the time the river can be crossed using the baymouth bar, which is only breached by floods.
That evening we attended a cold picnic.

December 16, Monday: Francois departed as early as 05:00, leaving me "in charge" of the beach project until "next year" (month) when Erik Stephansen was due to arrive. A hearty Christmas atmosphere kept developing in the CDM compound, but I did make a trip to Uubvlei, which was deserted except for some ostriches. Taught Joe swimming and had a pleasant dinner with Denise. After that, I made up the work-program(me).
December 17: Asked Paddy to prepare a base-map, talked with Walker about the Cat-crane, was invited for Christmas party by Dr. Johnson, with or without partner. Lectured Guest and Wright on SCUBA, experimented with Venske and a Mr. Dijkhouse of American Cyanamid, whose own AM9 did not work but who "saved face" using McConaghees' . . .Gave Cat crane design to Mr. Leaman who had been tortured by the Japanese in WW2. Since the anchor of the SPC did not work, we couldn't do much, so instead, I went to the swimming pool which was crowded. Letter from Cynthia about Rose. Took Denise to the movies but was distressed to find out that she had already accepted a New Year's eve party invitation from another geologist.
December 18: Ordered larger wheels for the SPC and an additional surf-crawler, and found that anchor had been repaired. Went to Uubvlei via HMS, and tried to use both pumps after pushing the SPC throught the surf. Problems starting the new pump. Asked Noll for more help and arranged visit to the bridge caissons. After lunch, we set up Mac's fieldplant, but once we had jetted in the caisson he could not keep up with the processing of the plantfeed we pumped out. Drove back at 17:00, did swimming lessons and had dinner with Joe and Jim the Anglo geologists. Played 4 games of squash with Paddy, lost half. Then went back to office till 22:45 for correspondence, reports, etc.

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