05-Feb-2014 -- Spontaneous visit to 41S 173E, and several other near-by confluence visits and incompletes.
On the morning of Wednesday, 5 February, I had a look at a map for planning our day, and noticed that our Marahau Mouteka caravan campsite was about a kilometer SE of 41S 173E. This was our 5th day of a 20-day camper-van tour around the South Island, and we had not planned on making any confluence visits. But being so close warranted at least a quick visit attempt. “I’ll be back by 10”, and I was on my way. About 25 minutes later I was walking up the path of beautiful green pasture land belonging to Ocean View Chalets. I greeted Chris and Buddy (Golden Lab), and explained my interest in a brief survey visit. Chris was aware of similar prior requests, and we went up the hill to check with Robert, her father, and, owner of the cabin accommodations overlooking Sandy Bay and Abel Tasman park-lands. Robert kindly approved my request and I was guided towards the closest access point – ~73 m SE of the confluence, which is located on a steep thickly vegetated hill side (elev. change of 33 m). The tricky part was getting past the initial blockade of blackberry brier spines, with minimal scratches and punctures. The rest of the vegetation up the hill was densely packed, but lacking spines. After 11 minutes of aggressive bush scrambling, I made it on site and zero-ed-out; I was quite elated!
I hung the GPS from a branch and took reference pics and narrated video, to distinguish the cardinal views. As it was morning, the rising sun over the bay (located 1 km to the east) made for a magnificent view and reliable reference from the hillside, even with the view largely blocked by small trees and brush. After spending 10 minutes obtaining a number of single and time averaged way-points, and reference pics, I started back down the hill; I ended up taking a slightly different route, and it took 21 minutes to get back out to the clear pasture. I picked up some more scratches and a shin bruise, but was very pleased with the successful visit. I checked-in with Robert back at the Ocean View Chalets office. He retrieved a ‘Confluence Project Letter to Landowners’ that prior visitors had left (a good reminder to carry a letter on future trips); I noted that this was one of the most beautiful and lush confluences that I had visited, as my other visits have been to deserts and arid coastal areas of Saudi Arabia.
Following a brisk walk back to Ingrid and the camper at 10 am, we packed-up and hit the road; we celebrated later in the the day after arriving to the vast beaches and windswept cliffs of Farewell Spit, at the northern tip of South Island. Our travels would take us close to 42S 174E, 45S 168E, and within ~170 m of 45S 171E -- all memorable near misses on our South Island journey.