-- Even though I live in Gothenburg (Göteborg), since many years back, I keep
my boat in lake Vänern, at Mariestad where I grew up. This weekend, the 7th
and 8th of September 2002, I had decided that I should finally try to visit
a degree confluence.
There were more unvisited confluences in Sweden, when I first heard about
the Degree Confluence project. Even several more conveniently located
confluences in southern Sweden. By now, the only one left that seemed
resonably comfortable for me to visit was 59N 13E. This confluence is
located on open water on lake Vänern. And thus I would be able to go there
However, the confluence is on the opposite side of Vänern from Mariestad and
Vänern is not a small lake. Also, my summer vacation is already over and I
am back to work, thus I had to get up to Mariestad by car and from there by
boat to the confluence and back again in only a weekend. Well that sounds
like an adventure, right?
I worked late friday night and thus decided to wait until Saturday morning
before going up to Mariestad, it is a little bit over two hours by car. I
figured there should be enough time anyway. Well, I left for Mariestad later
than I had planned on Saturday, and with a few more delays when I got there
I did not leave the harbour until four o'clock in the afternoon.
This time of the year, the sun sets at about eight, and I knew I had about
four hours of daylight and perhaps one hour of dusk before it got dark.
Thus, I set sail knowing that I would not get to the confluence that day,
but I was hoping to reach the other side of Vänern before dark.
Initially the wind was quite good and I thought it would get even better
when I got out on open waters on the outside of the islands north-west of
Mariestad. Unfortunately, that was not the case and it actually got less
windy instead. I still had wind but not enough to get me to the other
side of Vänern before dark.
Since I did not want to try sailing in unknown waters in complete darkness,
I decided to start the engine and use both it and the sails tho get across
the lake in time. I was thus able to hold a speed of about 5.2 knots. I
could have gone a little bit faster, but I figured that would have consumed
too much fuel. It proved to be a good decision later.
Thus, I passed south of the Djurö archipelago in the middle of Vänern about
six o'clock and reached the many islands in the waters south of Värmlandsnäs
at sunset. I don't know these waters well and even though I have good
nautical charts for all of Vänern, I decided to stay there, near a small
island since it was getting dark.
The next day, on Sunday, I set sail already before sunrise. I had to use the
engine for a short distance since the wind from south (or perhaps
south-west) prevented me from sailing in the narrow passage in the
south-west direction between grounds, rocky islets and islands. The rest of
the morning though, I sailed through the inner passage through the west
coast archipelago of Värmlandsnäs. I only saw one or two other boats in the
entire morning. It's not tourist season anymore.
I got out on Bäröfjärden about 10 o'clock in the morning. Bäröfjärden is the
part of Vänern where the 59N 13E degree confluence, the goal for my journey,
is located. As I got close to the confluence i lowered the sails and started
the engine. I figured that it would be easier that way.
By slowly first finding and following the 59N latitude as closely as
possible, I managed to snap a picture of the GPS at 59 00'001N 13 00'000E
(actually, I am quite sure my GPS did show N 59 00'000 E 13 00'000 for a
split second, but I didn't snap the picture fast enough). Given that the GPS
have an accuracy of about 15 meters (according to the manual). I think I can
safely claim that I at least was within 20 meters of the confluence.
I then spent about an hour taking photos of the surroundings and making
additional tries to pass over the same spot (that, I mostly did since I saw
on the small display of the digital camera that there was a reflection in
the display of the GPS in that picture and I could not see if this fact made
the coordinates unreadable in the picture).
The confluence is located in the middle of Bäröfjärden, the closest land is
the small islet of Lakskär. According to the chart, the depth is almost 60
meters not far from the confluence. Too deep for me to drop anchor thus and
even though it was not very windy, there were some waves.
It was not easy to keep the boat on the right course, snapping pictures and
keeping track of which directions had already been photographed and which
had not (I tried to get enough pictures to get a 360 degree panoramic view,
and I actually managed to get enough). Wish I had managed to get someone to
join me on this journey, that would have helped, but no one I asked
I include four pictures. The first is the panoramic view over the area (that
picture actually consists of parts from roughly 10 different photographs).
59N13E is not located very close to land, thus the pictures shows mostly
water and distant islands and shores. I have marked significant land
features in this picture, as well as compass directions. All these are
approximative and with the exception for Lakskär, I had to use the chart to
identify the other land features.
The second is a picture of my GPS at almost exactly 59N13E, the third is a
picture of the nautical chart for the area (not actually the chart I used
when sailing but an much older one that I keep at home in Göteborg and use
when planning adventures like this one). Just so that everyone will be able
to compare the first picture with the chart. And finally a picture I took of
myself, steering my boat somewhere on Bäröfjärden, not far from the 59N13E
At noon, I had to leave the confluence in order to get home before dark
according to my plans. I took the passage through the archipelago of
Millesvik, further out than the passage I used in the morning. I mostly used
the engine now, since I was going almost directly against the wind on my
route south. I got back to the small island where I had anchored during the
night at about four o'clock.
By then I noticed that the wind had turned even further towards east. This
meant that I would not have much use of the sails during the rest of the day
either and I did not have time to go by another route than mostly against
the wind. Too bad, sailing is more fun. Anyway I got back into the harbour
of Mariestad about an hour after sunset (I had planned to be back by
sunset). As I turned the engine off I saw that I had almost no fuel left,
but I was back. I had been at 59N13E, and I had the pictures to prove it.