03-Aug-2002 -- Accuracy: 4 m
Altitude: 516 m (GPS)
We learnt about the Confluence Project at a GPS software website and thought right away that that would be a great extra excuse to hit the road at weekends. The hardest part was to convince our girlfriends that confluence hunting could be fun. It took us some doing, but we succeeded!
Because we live in the region of Campinas, in the State of São Paulo, we chose the 48W 23S confluence, in Conchas, to start our careers as confluence hunters. This confluence is located 48,167 Km, straight line, from my room in the city of Piracicaba (47,606W 22,763S).
Merzel drove his car with the GPS on the dashboard. The GPS was connected to our laptop computer, which had been downloaded with satellite images from the EMBRAPA’s website, so that we could visually track our course with the help of a GPS software.
We left Piracicaba around 10:00 a.m. heading to the rural communities of Pau Queimado and Anhumas. From Anhumas on, the road was unpaved.
Contrasting with the typical sugarcane-plantation-dominated landscapes of central São Paulo, the countryside between Piracicaba and Conchas is pretty, composed mainly by small cattle farms and forest covered hills. Somewhere along the way, we crossed the boundary between the River Piracicaba and River Tietê basins and, few kilometers before the confluence, we crossed the bridge over Rio Tietê. This latter river played a major role in the past exploration of western Brazil, serving as a “road” for those brave explorers who left the coast in search of gold and precious stones in the wild west. Today, GPS-equipped modern explorers cross the Tietê in search of the 48W 23S confluence.
Shortly after crossing the Tietê, we lost the track for a while (for trusting in traffic signs on the roadside instead of GPS readings). Back to the track, and on a paved road again, we found ourselves going straight to the city of Conchas, as the GPS showed that we were rapidly driving right to the confluence point: 1000m, 500m, 100m, 50m, 35m...And the arrow on the GPS display suddenly turned 180 degrees. We had just passed it!
There it was. Only 35 meters from the road, on a hilly pasture land. The barbed-wire fence separating the confluence from us was not that inviting, so we drove a little farther, to the farm’s main house, where we asked Mr. Clovis, the manager, the authorization to enter his lands and take pictures. He didn’t understand much when we talked about satellites, GPS, latitude and longitude, but the bottom-line is that he let us in. And we made it, as shown in the pictures. It was 12:30 a.m. The 48W 23S confluence was ours!
That was quite easy and fun. Maybe beginners good luck, but...
The thing is, we just can’t wait for our next confluence!