10-Aug-2007 -- We were allowed to travel to this confluence point, only with the permission of the station manager, because of our long standing friendship. It is station policy NOT to allow people to enter this property, and it took a lot of explanation regarding this web site for permission to be granted to post this find.
Please remember the flood plains can be treacherous at any time of the year.
After waiting patiently at the Tanbar Station Homestead for 7 days for the Cooper Creek channels to drain out to a reasonable depth to negotiate, we finally set off the find the Confluence Point.
Waiting was not all that hard. We found plenty to keep us occupied. This trip we took a friend, John Crighton who is a wizz with a welder (actually he owns his own Aluminium and Steel Fabrication Business) and he also builds boats. This brings me back to the waiting time passing very quickly John took on a small project to while away the time, which turned into a solid week of welding and repairs.. The Station employs up to 15 full time staff but none are expert welders or metal fabricators so they had him rebuilding things from windmill shafts to manufacturing jack holders for the station Utes. Even the cook had him remodelling a belt buckle.
My time was spent with updating and repairing Radio and computer equipment including installing a satellite phone in one of the trucks along with the occasional trip around the station checking cattle and watering holes with the station manager. Also a daily trip to the closest water crossing to get to the confluence point, only 18ks from the homestead in a southeast direction.
Day one was, have a look at the first of three channels, and just look we did. (Day two and three much the same). Day 4 was a bit different, the manager thought we might make it through, so we had a try. The trip across the first crossing was ok but the second crossing was not so good. However, we did get through. With only 7ks to the confluence point the 3rd crossing was still about 4 feet deep,. so we turned around and travelled back to the second crossing, it was then we realised that we had made a bit of a mess and the bank was just a little steeper than the Ute liked, After a few minutes wallowing around it the mud, we bounced up the side and out. All this time thinking I was glad we did not even attempt the third channel as I knew how much my friend John wanted to be with us when we found the confluence point . We were only 5 kilometres from it as the crow flies. (unfortunately the Toyota wasn’t a crow).
Ok back to the day we found the confluence point. John and I set off very early in the morning knowing that we still might not make it, but the best chance we had was to cross the main channel about 60ks by road (station tracks) and then come back up to the point where the station manager did not cross only 5ks from the confluence point. Well, we got to the water crossing in good time but did not like the look of it (I had crossed it twice once in the dark but both times it was very dry) and I could not remember what the bottom looked like and the other thought was, that maybe the water had cut a deep rut through the middle.
After some debate we decided why not risk it. At worst we only had a couple of hours to wait and we could get some help to pull us out if we got stuck. So off we went and made the big charge into the water. My turbo troopy made it look like a Sunday drive, (according to John) so now we had only 60ks to go (not bad as when we started we were only 18ks away). Well our 60ks soon turned into 80ks then 100ks. We were out on the flood plains and the tracks were non existent, but we finally got back to the third water crossing 5ks from the confluence point. Another 20ks later and two hours driving we got there.
The trip home was fine. (except for the wild pig we nearly hit as we were about to cross the main channel) We got back to the homestead late in the afternoon. Not bad for an 18 kilometre trip.
At dinner that night we told our story, the water, the rough tracks the pig and the time taken, only to be told that if we had known how to ride a horse we could have been home for morning tea. The station manager, my wife Sonia and her father were going to ride out on horses and wait for us at the confluence point with the billy boiling just to see the look on out faces.