Over lunch a few months ago the Confluence Project was mentioned and a suggestion was made that we visit an unclaimed point on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. Living and working at a mine site located on the South West coast of Sumbawa, gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the S9 E117 confluence point.
The team for our first attempt on the 22nd September comprised of Pat, Patty & John Hickey, Eugenio Gatto, Andries Smalberger and Marty Hand. We set off at 4am for the 40km off road drive due East of our township along the South coast of Sumbawa to the start point of the hike up the Tatar River. (S9.04168 E116.96635) Team photos complete we set out on foot at 6am unsure of what the day would entail.
The plan was to walk up the Tatar River to a point as close to the confluence as possible then head though what we thought would be dense jungle to the confluence. Two hours into the hike we had our first casualty with a hiking boot failure and three of the team members decided to turn around. At the three hour mark a fourth team member succumbing to the heat, humidity and difficult terrain, decided to turn back leaving only Andries and Marty continued on. Half an hour further they arrived at a bend in the river, that they figured this was the location to leave the river bed.
With very high river banks surrounding them, they had a difficult climb up the side of a spectacular waterfall to get out of the river bed and trekked up a small rivulet on a fairly straight line to the confluence. Marty’s previously trusty Garmin Vista GPS was having difficulty getting a GPS fix under the heavy rain forest canopy. They both had confluence fever by this stage and eventually after much frustration made it to just within 90m of the confluence point. They wanted to move closer to the point but it could have taken hours with the Vista GPS and they still had a long hike back to the car. Marty and Andries agreed that this was close enough, took the required photo’s to claim the point and headed back.
At the car park we celebrated the successful visit with the rest of the team and a cold beer or two. On the drive back to town Marty had the nagging feeling that the job was not done. By the next morning plans were already started for the next attempt and orders were places for new Garmin GPS’s with the extra sensitive antennas. Within 80m was good but if you are going to do something you may as well do it right. We wanted to sit right on the confluence.
Second Attempt – Successful.
With the wet season fast approaching the window to capture this confluence point was quickly fading. 11th November was the day for our second visit. Most of the original team members could not make it so the new team only comprised of Eugenio Gatto, Michael Clarkson and Marty Hand.
Armed with 2 new Garmin GPS60CSX we set off from home at 4am. At 6am we commenced our hike up the Tatar River. Covering already familiar ground we took full advantage of some local hunter tracks through the jungle. These tracks made easier walking compared with walking on the river bed.
We arrived at the base of the waterfall around 9am. After some refreshments at the base of the waterfall we left the river bed at an elevation of 83m and trekked over 1km to an elevation of 327m. The heat, humidity, jungle growth and the slippery conditions made the climb to the confluence hard and slow work, but with the new GPS’s we knew exactly which direction to head. We arrived at the confluence around 10am and found a huge tree virtually right on the confluence point.
After a quick celebration and the photos taken we headed straight back to the riverbed and trekked back to the car. After a few cold beers and some lunch we headed back to town tired from the 21km (8 hours) hike but pleased that we successfully bagged the S9 E117 confluence point.