Friday, November 03, 2006


I got to do something very fun today. I
conducted a Crew Tour for the flight crew
from the SAFAIR plane that landed at McMurdo.
SAFAIR is a South African company that flies
charter flights for the Italian Antarctic
Program since the Italians don't have any
planes capable of making the trip down here.
They fly a L-100 Hercules that is configured
a little differently than the US Program's
Hercs. Frequently, our department gives crew
tours to the pilots and ground crews when they
land. The only problem is, I work nights and
most of the tours take place during the day.
This time, the plane came in during the
evening and I got to conduct the tour.

I had over two hours so we got to go to a lot
of places. First I took them to the store in
B-155. Every crew tour, long or short, goes
to the store. Souveniers must be purchased
for the folks back home and these folks were
no exception. Next came a trip to Scott's Hut
at Hut Point. They really enjoyed the historic
aspect and took lots of photos. I had a nice
conversation with a couple of the guys and they
loved America. One had taken a six week camper
trip from New York to California in an RV and
the other had been to Pittsburgh and Miami.
Pittsburgh??? I then took them to the McMurdo
Sign for more photo ops. The sun was in a
horrible spot, but I got a decent group shot
nonetheless. Lastly I drove part of the way
up Ob Hill where they got a good view of town
and the Ice Runway.

They had fun like everyone else, but a couple of
the guys seemed to have this fascination for lifting
large chunks of snow up above their heads. Maybe
they don't get a lot of snow in South Africa???
Overall, they were really nice guys. I expected
them to be able to speak English, and they did.
However, their English had a much different "accent"
than I expected. Instead of a British touch like
Australians or New Zealanders, it sounded like a
cross between English and Dutch (they speak Afrikaans...
kind of a Dutch offshoot)

The plane was impressive also. It's painted all white
and was very camoflaged against the white snow. I got
some good photos after I left them at the plane and they
were all very appreciative, shaking my hand and thanking
me for the tour profusely. Nice guys those South Africans.

1 comment:

Lori Murray said...

It sounds like you're having lots of fun in you new job. Good!