16-May-2001 -- In search of the Degree Confluence 33W 80W.
On Easter Sunday Andrew Gribble and I, Tom McMurray, left Hilton Head, South Carolina in the light rain hoping to snag 33N by 80W. We left Hilton Head at 12:30PM following the Garmen eTREX GPS and a normal road atlas. The confluence was near Goose Creek, S.C. USA. When we got close using the GPS we came upon a locked closed gate with razor wire coiled up on top of a high chain link fence. We followed the road paralleling the high fence and eventually came out on a main road and the first sign we saw was NAVAL WEAPONS STATION CHARLESTON and a manned guard gate. You can guess just how far we got. A "U" turn at the gate and instructions to go to the SECURITY OFFICE, a small building across this major road (Redbank Road). Inside the Security Building and explaining the Degree Confluence Project to three different Security Personnel we were told that permission to enter the Weapons Storage Area could not be given on this day (Easter Sunday). Everyone with authority to give this kind of permission was off for the rest of the day. The last Officer we spoke to was Lt. Ralph Knight. He told us to come back during a normal working day. That is when Andrew Gribble and I kicked in Plan B: To search for confluence
34N 80W. We drove quite a bit further and did get it.
On the 7th of May 2001 back to Charleston (near the Weapons Depot) for a check-up at the Veterans Hospital for about an hour and then back to the Security Office of the Naval Weapons Station. This time loaded with lots of information about the Degree Confluence Project. Charts, aerial photos (Yes! USCG photos) topos and all the info that I sent in for the 34N 80W confluence. The photos and especially the GPS photo. Including the home page of the Project. All printed out. I spoke to Lt. Eugene B Swinton Sr. at length and he recorded all my ID information and kept the info packet I had prepared for him. I told him I would be returning on 16-May-01, a Monday, before noon to see if permission had been granted to enter the station.
Well, on the 16th I went to the Security Office about 11:15am and Officer Swinton was not on duty at that time. Explaining the Degree Conflunce Project to a nice Security Officer Ms. Marion Johnson, she took the ball and spoke to several different officers and personnel. A few of them had heard Lt. Swinton mention the project but my info packet could not be found. I had this time brought a copy of the project "Land Owner or Manager" explanation and Ms. Johnson showed it to several Officers and FAXED it somewhere and later another officer came into the front office and talked to me a short bit and he assigned an officer in plain clothes. Mr. Jerry S. Daniel, Sr. and a nice new pick-up truck to ride in and he drove the back dirt roads right to the confluence. We used the Garmin eTrex GPS to get real close. The 33N 80W confluence was only about 150 feet off this little, single lane, dirt road just inside of this high fence Got out of the air conditioned pick-up and walked the 50 feet as close as I could get and shot the photo of the GPS showing almost all zeros. N33.00.00.2 by W80.00.02.1. Was not allowed to take any more photos from inside the Weapons Station. We went to the closed gate from Easter Sunday and it was open with guard on duty. We drove out the gate and stopped and took a photo of the gate from the outside. I had promised everyone that I would not take any other photos of the inside of the Weapons Depot. Got a couple of other photos outside and a good one of Officer Marion Johnson outside of the Security Office. She was of great help as was the pick-up escort driver a Mr. Jerry S. Daniel, Sr. All in all getting the find wasn't too hard. Oh; Officer Johnson brought the home page of the Degree Project up on her computer and showed it to some of the deciding officers. I think that helped in the decision making process. For a while there I thought that I would not be able to enter the depot but with the escort driver it all went well. I do hope all the Security Personel realize just how harmless this whole Project is and how interesting and fun it for the different teams.
(No Photo of general area)