OCEAN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

p.68, Ben Oostdam's Autobiography

Monday, August 17, 1964: Woke up with coasts showing on both sides: Possession Island and Main.
Pondered whether to go on with marriage or not? We sailed to Elizabeth Bay and landed at what looked
like a scene of "On the Beach": a veritable ghost town. There were a few Ovambos, but no Dr. Guest.
Later back offshore it was rather rough and while George and I were busy pulling in a core I saw
something flashing by: apparently the old cook had been bending down to get some potatoes from the
outside box and somehow stumbled and fell overboard. I saw his head popping up above the surface,
with blood streaming over his face, but while I hesitated, Rolly Thompson had already undressed and
dove overboard to save him! We pulled both of them aboard, I dressed Jimmy's wound -
a gash in the forehead caused by the ship's screw - while we sailed back to Elizabeth Bay where
we borrowed a landrover to drive him to Luderitz.

We took him to the hospital where a lovely nurse took over and we paid a visit to our agent, Heinz Friedrich and his wife Kate. We tried in vain to radio CDM and Rockeater, then went to the restaurant and joined DuPreez, DuToit and Dr.Neetland. I found out that Luderitz boasted a million pounds (Sterling) fishmeal industry with a Dutch boss, named Dijkstra. We talked till midnight and Rolly expressed his aversion to marriage. Because of his heroic and unhesitating life-saving action, he was the hero of the day - as he well deserved to be!
Luderitz
(photo credit: Mark van Aardt)

August 18: Spent the whole morning with Katz and Coetzee trying to radio Rockeater. The MDC people picked up Jimmy Breeze from the hospital to be flown back to Capetown. Although there was a storm-warning, we took off at 13:30 heading south into a rough sea to join Rockeater. We had our first radio-contact at 16:00, but only rendez-voused in the lee of Possession Island at 18:00, by which time several of us were thoroughly soaked and seasick. Captain Cook was in the dumps because of all the noise and the entire crew tried to dissuade me from getting married. I felt like the proverbial Kozak Commander Stenka Razin ! At 20:30 we were all back in shape to watch a movie, but went back to sleep aboard Klipbok afterwards.
August 19: Rockeater took off early but proved to have anchored in a spot too deep to test sediment thickness. Around noon, we were put ashore to wait for Eric Stephansen, Bout and Dohne. We went on to Oranjemund and on the way, in Chamais, admired the French Benoto drillrig, and also noted that "my" SPC (Suction Pipe Carriage) was still at work. They also had some trouble with teenage workers who had overturned a truck. Dinner and pleasant evening spent with the Stephansens till midnight when I was put up in the Guesthouse.
August 20 Had some geopolitical discussions with Ken Biesheuvel and Charles Stocken, chiefly about who should have the monopoly on study of gullies. Also talked with Venske and Fry and bought some semi-precious stones.
August 21, Friday: Flew from Oranjemund to Capetown, meeting briefly in the Security Lobby with Messrs Sam Collins and McConaghee. Picked up by Abrahams, debriefing at office, then reunion with happy Mercia at Mrs. van Zijl's

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