01-Dec-2005 -- We'd spent two weeks driving and trekking around Mauritania, all the time keeping an eye out for possible confluence points. We'd come close to 20N 13W but had come up against large dunes and cliffs only about 6000 metres short of the confluence point. We'd given up hope and forgotten about the whole idea.
We were driving to the coast, miles from the nearest road, between the villages of Bennichab and Iwik. We were much further south than we had expected by the time we set up camp in the desert and it was only when we were trying to find out where we were that we saw we were only a short distance away from an unvisited confluence point. The terrain was flat, scrub desert, so, due to our accidental good fortune, we were optimistic we'd be able to reach it in the morning.
We were travelling in a convoy of three jeeps and foolishly had the GPS in the last vehicle. We'd tried to explain to the Mauritanian drivers what we were trying to do but they seemed both confused and suspicious about exactly what we were up to.
Jez, Paul, David and Annette dived off the route in the last jeep and headed towards the confluence point. Barry and Jim followed in the second jeep once they'd noticed the sudden detour. Nicola and Harvey in the leading jeep unfortunately didn't notice otherwise our team would have been complete.
We drove approximately six kilometres from our intended route across flat desert before reaching the edge of a saltpan. The drivers would go no further in case the vehicles got stuck so we walked the final two hundred metres to the confluence point over the corrugated surface of the saltpan. The exact location was slightly more desolate than the surrounding desert but, even by Mauritanian standards, we'd found about as bleak and barren a confluence point as one could imagine.