We spent a two-week-holiday in Scotland this May. To get there, we took the DFDS Seaways ferry from IJmuiden (Netherlands) to Newcastle.
In preparing the journey, I noticed that the ferry trip would bring us quite close to 55 N 1 W. Most probably, the ferry would not pass straight through the confluence point; but I thought we might as well try to establish how close exactly “quite close” is, and whether any land is visible from the confluence.
We borded the ‘Duke of Scandiniavia’ at Felison Terminal in IJmuiden near Amsterdam around 3:30 pm on May 13th, and were ready to depart at 6 pm CEST. We were to arrive at Royal Quays in Newcastle at 9:30 am GMT on May 14th.
After having settled down in our cabin, I was very pleased to notice that my newly acquired GPS could receive satellite signals in the cabin, as long as I kept it close to the window.
The next morning, I woke up at 6:45 am, switched on the GPS (with the confluence point already entered), took a quick shower, and then watched my GPS counting down the distance. Matthias was standing by with his photo equipment ready.
When we were still more than 15 km from the confluence, Matthias announced ‘land ahead!’ His eyes are sharper than mine, so at first I couldn’t make out any land, but shortly afterwards, land was clearly visible even for those a bit short-sighted.
Unfortunately, but predictably, the ship’s course now deviated more and more from the direction the GPS was indicating, until the arrow on the display pointed to the right at a 90 degree angle.
We saw an aircraft carrier going approximately in the direction of 55 N 1 W. So maybe Her Majesty´s Royal Navy conquered the confluence for Britannia without even being aware of it? In any case, they came closer to the confluence than we did.
At 7:35 am, we came as close as 9.64 km, with the accuracy somewhere in between 22 and 36 meters. Now it was Matthias´s turn to document the visit (well, attempt, as it is). He photographed the GPS, we grabbed our equipment, and rushed to the upper deck for the other photos. As you can see in the photos, we had a clear view of the British coast with the town of Sunderland to the southwest, and South Shields and Tynemouth flanking the River Tyne estuary in a west-northwesterly direction.
Although the confluence is a few kilometers farther away from the coast, you should still be able to see the land from there. However, I am not quite sure if the land will be visible from a low point of view, like a yacht. The ferry´s upper deck was at a height of about 13 meters above sea level, according to the GPS. Maybe you should just travel with DFDS Seaways, and talk the captain into deviating from his normal route (I didn’t try to). Or join the Royal Navy! .
On the way back from Newcastle to IJmuiden on May 28th , the captain kept closer to the British coast in order to avoid the rough weather in the open sea. Therefore, this time we didn’t come any closer than 13.8 km.
Kornelia Berg (First Navigator).
Matthias Berg (Chief Photographer).
Benno (Navigation Officer).