21-Sep-2013 -- After a spontaneous decision to visit 45 N 123 W on my 45th birthday, I set a goal of visiting 49 N 123 W on my 49th birthday. Growing up in Washington state and making visits to Vancouver BC, I was well aware of the significance of the 49th parallel as the treaty border between the US and Canada. I also had always been fascinated by the pene-exclave of Point Roberts, so once I learned that there was a confluence point in Boundary Bay just off Point Roberts, I *had* to visit it.
I was not able to even attempt a visit on my 49th birthday, being unable to line up a boat for transport. Although an experienced small-craft operator, I couldn't find anyone to borrow/rent from, and late in the season could not find any fishing charters to hire.
As a fallback plan, I reset the goal as the summer solstice during my 49th year. Borrow/rent again proved futile, but I did find a great charter operation, Outer Island Expeditions, willing to work with my crazy request. Plan was to meet the charter boat at Semiahmoo, cruise west to the CP, and celebrate. The day of June 20, 2013 (solstice occurred on the 20th in Pacific Time Zone) arrived rainy and blustery. After consulting with Bo at Outer Island, we agreed to upgrade to a larger boat to better handle the anticipated rough conditions. Spray and swells began as soon as we left Semiahmoo. Our course was exactly perpindicular to the 6 foot swells, so the rolling with pretty intense. Our captain tried every trick to get us there, but after taking multiple waves over the bow, tacking, and cutting speed to almost nothing, he remained concerned about rolling the boat. As he put it, "No one else is out today. If we roll, the Coast Guard will retrieve our bodies." We turned around, exhilerated by the ride but utterly humbled in the CP attempt.
Plan C was to just get there anytime in my 49th year. Bo at Outer Island was in, offering a discount on the second attempt since the first was unsuccessful. Plan this time was to depart from Outer Island's base in Eastsound on Orcas Island, so that if there was again weather, we would be going with the waves instead of perpendicular. Originally scheduled date was 22-Sept, but a few days before with gale force winds predicted we moved it to 21-Sept. Two friends from the Solstice attempt plus one additional and I arrived to find that Bo had put us in his biggest boat, M/V Triton, with fully enclosed cabin that would easily carry 20 people. He wasn't going to take any chances of not completing it either!
A 50 minute cruise from Eastsound to the CP was smooth and gorgeous. GPS screen shot shows all zeros for 49 and 0.998 for seconds. A great day on the water, and confluence success after almost a full year of trying!