04-Oct-2008 – As a small warm up for my first real confluence conquest which was planned for Sunday the 05th of October (see my next visit to 48°N 53°E), I decided to test my map material and electronic gadgets on the 47°N 52°E confluence.
Together with Adam Walker, a friend of mine who also stays in Atyrau, we decided to head for this confluence right at the beginning of October, while the weather was still pleasant and the land was still dry. Soon, after the first rains of fall, it would be a lot harder to reach any points towards the Caspian see without getting wet.
This confluence has been visited in the past, but because it was only about 17km from my base location Atyrau, it made a good opportunity for a bike ride. Besides that, the previous visit of this point was done in 14-Oct-2002, so we decided that it would make a nice comparison after all these years.
So as planned, we left Atyrau at 10:00 on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. After getting used to the setup of the GPS, we made it out of town and we were on our way over the steppe trails. Leaving the pollution behind, it was a pleasure to ride into the silent and vast countryside with only the noise of the wind and clean air around us.
On the last leg of the route, we had to leave the trails and make our way straight through the country side. Luckily we found ourselves here in the dry period at the end of summer, because this would not have been a pleasant ride if all this turned into water and mud… which it will surely do in a few weeks!
Reaching the confluence, we found what we already suspected; lots of nothing. North, East, South and West all looked pretty much the same, with the only difference that we could see the smoky sky over Atyrau towards the N-NW. We took our pictures, recorded the relevant data and made our way back to town.
One thing that is probably worth noting is the extremely low level of this confluence. At first I thought my Garmin GPSMap60CS was displaying a wrong reading, but Adam carried his Garmin Forerunner, which was showing the exact same altitude of 31 meters below sea level! With the extremely open terrain, clear sky, and loads of satellites our GPS’s locked onto, the reading seems reliable.
CP visit details:
- Distance to a track: 2.16 km
- Time at the CP: 12:31
- Measured height: –31 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Topography: the general area is flat
- Vegetation: short vegetation, specific to the salty soil in the area
- Weather: sunny, 21°C (felt temperature)