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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Washington

1.7 miles (2.7 km) E of Maple Beach, Whatcom, WA, USA
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 49°S 57°E

Accuracy: 35 m (114 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: My kayak on the beach, ready to go #3: Stopping for a rest, looking at the weather #4: Can't see shore 'cause of the waves

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  49°N 123°W (visit #2)  

#1: Looking back at Tsawassen/Point Roberts from the Confluence

(visited by Tim Dinsdale)

27-Aug-2001 -- I decided to make my first confluence visit close to home. This one is easily visible, but not so easy to reach.

I started by renting an ocean Kayak from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I also purchased a cute little Garmin Etrex GPS at the same place. I forgot to bring my roof racks, so I slid the kayak into the back of the truck. I drove down to Tsawassen, on the Canadian side of the border, to a public beach about 1.5k from the border, where I figured I could launch my kayak. No problems there, although the kayak was a bit heavy to carry the 300m from the parking lot to the beach (Picture 2). I hopped in and started paddling towards the middle of the bay. After paddling for about 15 minutes, I stopped to take a bearing and realized 3 things: 1. it was getting windy, and the waves were picking up; 2. I forgot to put my rudder down, and had trouble controlling the boat; 3. I didn't really know how to use the GPS. I paddled into shore, through ever-increasing waves (up to 1m at this point), and landed near where the previous visitor had taken his picture. (Picture 3) I spent a few minutes getting acquainted with my new little toy (the GPS) and put the rudder down, and off I went. I followed the compass arrow and the display that told me I had about 2.6km to paddle. The wind and waves picked up even more, and I paddled harder and harder. I learned a fair bit about how to control a kayak in big water - mostly by almost flipping. The GPS got a good test of its alleged waterproofness (it passed), as spray kept coming over the deck and covering me. I zigged, and zagged, and took quick peeks at the heading and distance to keep me in the right direction. I could only look quickly, because if I stopped paddling for more than about 10 seconds, the waves would push me broadside, and then try to capsize me. I got to a point where the display said "25m", and decided that that was it, and snapped a few photos (Picture 1, 4). I'm not sure how the photos will turn out - I was using a non-waterproof disposable camera, which looked a bit worse for wear by the end of the trip.

From the confluence, my starting point was straight downwind, which was a bit of a blessing. I made excellent time getting back, and even managed to surf some of the 2m waves on the way back in.

Advice for anyone doing this, or a similar, confluence again:

  1. learn to kayak
  2. learn to use a GPS
  3. try on a calm day
  4. use a 2 person kayak - 1 engine, 1 navigator


 All pictures
#1: Looking back at Tsawassen/Point Roberts from the Confluence
#2: My kayak on the beach, ready to go
#3: Stopping for a rest, looking at the weather
#4: Can't see shore 'cause of the waves
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In Boundary Bay, the borderline with Canada is passing 760 ft north of the Confluence.