07-Sep-2005 -- I initially heard of the Degree Confluence Project through an article about confluences in the Western 4WDriver magazine. At that time a group of us (eight adults and four children in five 4WD vehicles) were in the planning stages of organizing a 4WD trip on the Connie Sue Highway (track) which is situated in the Great Victorian Desert W.A. I thought our trip would be an ideal opportunity to try and claim a confluence that nobody had visited before.
Upon checking out the map there were two potential confluences close to the track and the Degree Confluence website also confirmed that nobody had visited either of them. I then explained to Chris (our trip organizer) about the confluence project and suggested that we could attempt both of them if we had time. He was keen to give it a go so the confluences were put on the list of ‘what to do and see while on the trip’ and a plan to visit both confluences was then submitted on the website.
We started our trip from the southern end of the Connie Sue and it took about a day and a half to reach the first confluence area 28º South, 126º East. As it was mid afternoon, we decided to set up camp and check out the closest access point from the track. The GPS read that this would be 3.32km but as the countryside towards the confluence was thick with spinifex and bush it would probably turn out to be about a half day walk there and back. It was decided that we would not attempt this one but would try for the next one instead.
Another day of driving up the track found us at the second confluence area. This confluence is situated in the aboriginal reserve and permission had already been sought when we had applied for the permit to travel through the reserve. There was also a possibility that an aboriginal guide would take us to this confluence if he was in the area but when Aaron called him up on the radio there was no answer. We then made camp in Waterfall Gorge and about mid afternoon seven of our group (one adult and the kids stayed at camp) drove down Parallel Road No.2 (a fun drive) to the closest access point from the road.
We arrived at this point to find it was only 2.4km directly south to confluence 27º South, 126º East. The landscape was flat with small amounts of spinifex, small bushes, dead wood and a few trees and areas of clear land. With the land being easy to walk and using the GPS compass heading directly south, it didn’t take long for us to reach within a few metres of the confluence. It took us a few minutes to gain a fix of all zeros with the two GPS’s we had and as the sun was low (now late afternoon) the reflection on the GPS screens was making it difficult to get a suitable photo. (The confluence spot actually turned out to be a little prickly bush). After taking photos (lots of the GPS screens) we headed back to the vehicles to reach them by dark.