Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category


Monday, December 3rd, 2007


Flying my glider in the mountains near Cape Town…bliss

It is just past midnight on the day beforeâ?¦ or, I suppose, just become the day ofâ?¦ our departure.  I’d like to say that my bags are all packed and the last of my belongings remaining behind safely boxed, but the truth is more revealing.  The contents of my last duffel bag and my climbing pack lie strewn across my bed â?? a useful packing tactic.  No sleep until the last item is stowed.

What delays me?  Well, I could claim the last pile of paperwork to be dealt with is my sticking place, or blame the chaos of my computer backups, but the real answer is more simple and less pragmaticâ?¦ nostalgia.Throughout the last few days Iâ??ve been struck by a deep sense of loss.  The coming deprivation of the ice sharpens my focus on all the simple things I love.  Pointless dinner conversation with family becomes precious; a phone call from a friend is more heartfelt than ever before; the simple act of riding my bike across town along familiar streets becomes and odyssey of beautiful avenues, striking views and carving turns.  Iâ??m filled with a longing to go fly, to swim in the sea, to walk again on the beach.  Every day-to-day activity of normal life is delineated in startling clarity, and I realise the privilege of the life Iâ??ve lead here:  Cape Town truly is an incredible place.  Each green leaf, mountain slope and fynbos vlakte is resplendent in my eyes that will soon see nothing but shades of white.  I can only imagine the sense of isolation there, if the mere thought of it conjures up such strong feelings now.The frenetic preparation of the last few months has left precious little time for contemplation.  Emotion has taken a back seat to efficiency.  Now, on the very eve, I cannot escape the growing sense of finality.   Fortunately, it is balanced by a sense of purpose; there is no sliver of doubt that I am embarking on the right course.  The words of a teacher come back to me (little does he know I have remembered them fondly; nay, used them often over the years):â??If it were easy, it wouldnâ??t be funâ?

Sunset on the landing field

SANAE 47 visits SAAF 22 Squadron

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

During our team training we had the opportunity to visit the South African Air Force’s 22 Squadron, at Ysterplaat AFB in Cape Town.  Below is a photo of the team with some of the Ysterplaat personnel, including the chaplain who will be accompanying the summer expedition.

Team Photo with Oryx

(SANAE 47 Overwintering Team in bold)  Cockpit, left to right:  Daleen Koch (International Polar Yeat Scientist), Santjie du Toit (Meteorologist).  Standing, left to right:  Anton van Zyl (Mechanical Engineer), Richard Duncan (Diesel Mechanic), Neels Fourie (Diesel Mechanic), Gerhard Laubscher (Communications/Electronic Engineer), Kobus de Lange (SAAF Chaplain), Morgan O’Kennedy (Cosmic Ray Scientist), Melanie Smit (SAAF Chaplain), Francois Visser (SAAF Oryx Pilot).  Crouching, left to right:  Saziso Nginda (Electrical Engineer), Llewellyn Kriedemann (HF Radar Scientist), Ross Hofmeyr (Leader/Doctor)