31-Oct-2004 -- On Sunday, October 31, 2004 I finally got to collect a confluence that I had been plotting to get for quite a while, 14S 76W.
I had some extra motivation to get this confluence and raise my total visits to three. I had told Richard Hasler about this site on a visit to the South of Peru, and he very quickly popped off three visits, to 15S 71W, 16S 71W and 17S 72W. I tell a lot of people about the site, and maybe 1 in 10 are interested. Richard was definitely in the 1 part. Competition is a great motivator.
This confluence, 14S 76W, is situated almost exactly equidistant between the cities of Paracas and Ica in Peru. Well Paracas is more of a village than a city, but close enough. Ok, Ica is not too big either, about 120,000. I had looked at the area before and saw that the confluence is located in the desert South East of Paracas, some 9 kms off the Pan American highway. I had driven by the spot with my GPS a few times and saw a large sand dune in the distance toward the confluence point.
On a previous visit to the area, I had taken a dune buggy ride from a commercial outfit that operates out of local hotels. The ride turned out to be a lot of fun and I when I found this site, I determined to unite the dune buggy ride and confluence hunt into a really nice adventure. If you happen to be in the area, you can contact the owner, Mario, at www.sandtours.com. The site was in Spanish as I wrote this.
When I went to spend a weekend in Paracas to fly over the Nazca lines, I also planned the assault on the confluence. I found the owner of the dune buggy outfit, Mario, and explained the whole story to him. In Spanish, of course. He listened with increasing interest, and told me that this was a great idea. He was planning a long dune buggy ride from Ica to the border with Chile, about 1000 kms of desert all the way, and he was looking for something to do during the trip. I showed him some confluences that he could hunt on the way down. With a bit of luck he will be a future contributor to this site.
We arranged to go out the next morning, Sunday, October 31. At 7:30 AM Mario and I left the hotel in his dune buggy, and went South along the Pan American for about 30 kms as that is far quicker than traveling in the desert. At the nearest approach, we turned right toward the point. The going was fast for a while as we crossed hard packed sand and gravel. When we got to the dune that I had seen in the distance, it turned out to be quite high and made up of very soft, moving sand. Our closest approach was about 1.5 kms from the point. We had to make 4 different attacks as the dune was quite steep and we spun out in the soft sand. We finally got past the dune by going about 4 kms to the North and crossing at a low point. Then we went back South to the spot indicated by the GPS.
We found the confluence between two large dune systems in another zone of hard packed sand and gravel. It is in the dark area roughly in the center of the panoramic shot of the site.
I took the required shots, then we each took a celebratory photo of the other near the buggy. There was too much blowing sand to put the camera down for a team photo. Quick congratulations were exchanged, and then we hopped back on the buggy for the ride back. This was quicker as we knew exactly where to go to cross the dune. We hightailed it back to the highway and then the hotel. Total time was 3 hours for my third successful confluence hunt. This was my first totally unvisited site.