14-Jun-2001 -- I was grabbing a coffee at work at MIT when I bumped into my co-worker (and fellow Canadian) Steve Roach. He told me of this intriguing website he had been visiting a lot recently involving the Degree Confluence Project. I mentioned to him that my wife and I were heading to Newfoundland on vacation the following week and that perhaps we’d try to visit one of the confluences while we were there.
Anyhow, my wife, Elda, and I did indeed visit Newfoundland the following week and, after spending several days hiking in Gros Morne National Park, we drove up the northern peninsula to spend a night at a lighthouse off the northern tip of the province. Along the way, we took a detour off the main highway to try to find 51N 57W.
The road to the confluence takes you along a small peninsula protruding into the sea. Having heard of the Confluence Project only a short time prior to our trip, the only maps I was able to obtain were from MapQuest. They indicated that the confluence should be located on the shore of this peninsula only meters from the water’s edge. With GPS in hand, we parked the car in the general vicinity of the confluence and started heading for the shoreline.
In order to get from the road to the shore, we had to struggle through a narrow, but dense, stretch of forest. It was only about 15 meters across and consisted primarily of black spruce and what appeared to be the remains of a long dead moose. When we got through to the other side, we found that the area was truly beautiful: a peaceful remote stretch of rocky shoreline lined with pine trees. It was almost noon, the weather was sunny and mild and the water was remarkably calm.
We walked west along the shoreline to reach 57 degrees west longitude, but discovered that the actual confluence lay some 80 or 90 meters north of the shore, somewhere in the cold north Atlantic. Neither one of us felt like going for a refreshing dip, so we set down the GPS and set about taking our photos.
The first photo shows the view facing north into the Atlantic Ocean (actually, the Strait of Belle Isle). The second, third and fourth photos show the views facing east, south and west, respectively. The fifth photo shows the GPS reading and the sixth photo shows Elda and me standing beside the GPS (the camera is facing roughly northeast).
After returning to the car, we continued driving along this tiny remote peninsula and visited the three tiny fishing communities found along its length. Each of these quaint villages appeared frozen in time.
It was a lot of fun trying to “discover” a confluence, but ultimately, the most rewarding aspect of our efforts was that it forced us to explore a tiny corner of Newfoundland we would otherwise have overlooked.