13-Apr-2006 -- We were planning to travel along the Oodnadatta tack between Marree and Oodnadatta on our way to Dalhousie Springs for an attempted crossing of the Simpson Desert and a visit to Poeppel Corner (another confluence at 26S 138E).
A visit to this confluence required a 100km side trip, but it looked like the confluence was near to a track so we thought it would be worthwhile.
To get to the confluence we turned south off the Oodnadatta Track at Curdimurka, near the south end of Lake Eyre, about 100 kms west of Maree. About 25km down this track we found our first waypoint - the homestead at Stuart Creek Station. We stopped here to request permission to travel further and also to check condition of track.
At Stuart Creek we met Robert "Bobby" Hunter, the Station Manager. Before we could even finish our initial "Hello" he had asked us inside for a cup of tea. We thought it a good omen to meet someone so friendly. Once inside we explained to Bobby what the Degree Confluence Project was and that there was a confluence nearby on his station.
Bobby told us about his interest in maps and was curious enough about what we were doing to ask to come along with us as a guide. His company was appreciated, as there were quite a few tracks criss-crossing the property. The track quality was highly variable (from rough with gibber, to very rough with sandy corrugations). Bobby told us about the history of the property and the region and pointed out some local landmarks which made the journey to the confluence more interesting.
According to our map (250K Natmap), the confluence was very close to a track near a landmark known as "Donald Dam" which is 30km or so south of the station. Our map didn't show the track going past Donald Dam but it does and links up with the main Borefield Road track to Roxby Downs. On reflection, it probably would have been easier to get to the confluence from the Borefield Road, but adventures aren't always about taking the easiest route.
Donald Dam is a small but unremarkable water hole. There was a big dust storm near here at Christmas time (if I can get a copy of a photo from Bobby I'll post it here).
The confluence is about 100m from the track in a sandy desert area between dunes with small scubby salt bush being the only vegetation around. I think Bobby must have though I was quite mad wandering around with my GPS looking for something in the middle of nowhere. But if he thought we were going to find a landmark at the confluence, he hid his disappointment well.
On our trip back to the station from the confluence we managed to puncture a tyre in the sharp gibber. It was our 2nd flat tyre in as many days. 30 minutes later we were on our way again and we said farewell (and much thanks) to Bobby at the Station before continuing with our trek along the Oodnadatta track.