21-Mar-2008 -- Today is the first full day of our 12-day dive tour through the Solomon Islands on board the MV Bilikiki. When we arrived in the Solomons on Tuesday, I tried to hire a boat to take me 45 km to the confluence point 9°S 159°E. However, it was going to cost about $500.00 US for the 4-hour return trip. Kellie - a Manager for the Bilikiki - said we might get close during the dive trip so we might be able to get there in a “tinnie” (small outboard boat). Kellie also said we might be able to get to another confluence — 9°S 160°E in the Russell Islands.
Today we were about 4.5 km away from the confluence just before the 4th dive of the day. We were about to dive off of Mane Island at a site called Mirror Pond. Around 4:00 PM Sam the other Manager arranged for Peter Sako to drive the tinnie for my dad and myself. The three of us set off with 1 camera and 2 GPS. Peter couldn’t understand why I would want to go to a compass point in the ocean as there was nothing special there and no dive site. I sure he still thinks I am crazy but he got us there.
At about 4:47 PM on Friday March 21, 2008 Peter Sako, Terry Dunnigan, and myself - Patrick Dunnigan were the first people to visit and record a confluence site in the country of the Solomon Islands!
We got to within a few meters of 9°S 159°E. Our closet point was 158°59.987' and 9°00.042'. I took a picture of both Peter’s and my GPS. Then I took pictures North West, East, and South.
To the North there is nothing. To the west is Mborokua (Mary) Island where we dove on Saturday, March 22. To the East and South East are the Russell Islands. The closest island - Mane - is about 4.7 km E-SE.
We were in the tinnie and I tried to take the pictures of the 4 compass points as close to the true points as possible but because we were floating in the current they are a wee bit off.
Thanks to Sam from Bilikiki for arranging the tinnie and Peter Sako to drive it so we can document the first confluence in the Solomon Islands.