Eureka! The amphibious EDM 

This adventure (or disadventure) happened to Bud Moon and myself. One of our survey control points had been situated on a very small island, Ile Vache in Anse Royale on the south east coast of Mahé. To get there with our equipment (Tellurometer Remote station and theodolite) we had to ‘hire’ a native pirogue (dug-out canoe) together with a crew of two locals. The short journey across to the island was uneventful and we got our observations done without any problem, if you ignore the fact that the island was literally crawling with large lizards and thousands of millipedes up to about 18 inches long. They caused more a sense of repulsion than of real disturbance but we were glad to leave once our work was finished. We loaded all the equipment into the pirogue, with one of the locals in the bow with his paddle and Bud and myself amidships with the equipment. 

The second local, instead of getting into the stern and pushing off with his paddle, decided to emulate James Bond by pushing the boat off into the water and then jumping in. He hit the side of the pirogue instead of the bottom and finished in the water with the boat rocking wildly from side to side. The rest of us stayed in quite miraculously and the only thing to go overboard was …... the Tellurometer! When I realised what had happened, my heart jumped into my mouth and the blood rushed to my head. They say that a drowning man sees all his past life flash across his inner eye in the space of a moment. I don’t know about that but I do know that when a surveyor’s Tellurometer is drowning, it’s his immediate future that flashes across his inner eye. 

How do I explain to Captain Mills that the Remote instrument has been taken by King Neptune? Will I be shot at dawn or be given the chance of a Court Martial? How will the party now be able to complete the work without the Remote end of the instrument? Well, fate for once (and I must admit, not for the only time in my Army career) was kind to me. Fortunately the Tellurometer had a carrying case which, although not hermetic, contained sufficient air to enable it to float and support the weight of the instrument, with the lid sufficiently above the waves to avoid any water getting inside. It had assumed an upright position after it fell into the water so we quickly paddled after it as it bobbed merrily along on the current and pulled it on board. We also reluctantly allowed the local paddler, culprit of our disadventure, to regain his place and the trip was brought to a successful conclusion. Obviously Captain Mills was NOT informed of that part of the exercise. 


With thanks to Trevor "Bill" Powell  for this contribution
 Any comments  to