After Heuningspruit we found ourselves camped near Bultfontein. This was almost certainly taken with my Tamron 500mm mirror lens as my records show the next longest lens I owned at the time was a 300mm. I’ve written the date on the slide as July 1988 – mid-winter 24 years ago, in other words. This would have been a cold, crisp, cloud-free morning. Low temperatures around the freezing point (mid-30s fahrenheit, 2~3C) are typical at this time of year, so there would likely have been a light frost on the ground.
It was at this camp that I recall one of the newbies coming into my office and asking what a ‘swan neck’ was. I told him it was the part of the (Seismic) vibrator truck where the front was connected to the back, then asked him why. “Because”, he told me, “They’re saying on the radio that they’ve broken one!”
This was unheard of. A MkIV IVI Birdwagen with a broken swan neck? Unfortunately it was true, and our mechanics had the unenviable task of repairing it in the field, without the luxury of a fabrication shop! With the aid of some rented cranes, some assistance from mechanical supervisors from the UK and supervisors and specially made parts from the US, they were successful in closing the gap, welding it shut then welding extra plates in place (which the later did on the other five vehicles) but it was truly a masterful feat of work by the mechanical team.