15-Mar-2002 -- I just found out about this project when I stumbled upon the web site a couple weeks ago. I told everyone who would listen about it, the responsing ranging from, "That's nice," to "You really need to get a job/girlfriend/life."
So, I set out to visit my first confluence solo. Most of the points in the northeastern US have been visited, plus I'm always looking for an excuse to go kayaking, so I set my sights on 41N 72W, in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the south fork of Long Island. The last remaining confluence in New York.
The trip began with a few days in NYC to see family and friends and some excellent jazz at the Village Vanguard. On the afternoon of March 14, I loaded up with H+H bagels for fuel and hit the Long Island Expressway, soon trading the buzz of Brooklyn for the farmland of eastern Long Island. I arrived at the entrance to Hither Hills State Park around 4:30 PM. The confluence is directly offshore from this park, about 1.1K. This seemed pretty lucky, as for miles around on either side luxury homes with private roads provide the only beach access.
I walked on a path through the dunes onto a long stretch of beautiful beach as the sun was sinking low. Conditions were fairly ideal for March, but I needed some time to assemble my folding kayak, so I decided to put off the attempt until morning.
I drove drown the road a bit and pulled out on a bluff above the sea, and slept in the back of my truck, the tailgate open to the sound of crashing waves.
Up before dawn, I returned to the site I'd scouted the night before, assembled my boat, and carried it down to the beach. There were some sizable waves breaking, but almost no wind, and temperatures in the 40's F. The water was colder than that, so I wore a drysuit, neoprene gloves, and booties. Timing my launch between big waves, I paddled out through the surf zone and into the relatively calm stretch of water leading to the confluence. It was wonderful to be on the ocean with no one around for miles, just a few gulls feeding nearby. The movement of the kayak kept the GPS from settling exactly at zero, so I circled around for a bit within 20M of the confluence and took some photos. Moments later a fog bank rolled in and completely obscured the view of shore. Visibility soon was reduced to 35M, but I didn't need the GPS to guide me to shore, just the ominous boom of crashing waves. Before I knew it, one such wave plucked me out of the fog, flipped my boat, and rolled me under water for a bit. I swam to shore to reunite with boat and dog, just as the sun broke through the fog, bathing the beach in a warm early morning glow.