28-Jan-2004 -- I recently read a story in the “SES Volunteer” (State Emergency Service) magazine about Confluence Hunting.
As I’m keen to learn more about map reading and using a GPS, I thought this would be an opportunity to learn.
With 236 land based locations I thought there must be one close to Mandurah (where I live). The easiest confluence to get to was 33°S 116°E, near Logue Brook Dam, approximately 13 kms north east of Harvey.
With a few days off work - in between shifts - I borrowed a Magellan GPS from my SES unit, checked out some maps then packed up a picnic basket, the wife and the parents, all the gear (including a compass) and headed towards the south west town of Harvey.
Wednesday 28th January, with a forecasted maximum temperature of 30°C, although a bit warm, was a pleasant day for a drive in the state forests.
As the day was hot, I was concerned about the possibility of coming across a snake or two as these were ideal conditions for them. With this in mind I packed a pair of work boots and a tough pair of pants.
After a pleasant drive of about 70 kilometres we pulled up along a gravel track some 150 metres south of the confluence.
As stated before, I was concerned about snakes in these conditions – I tend to be a bit paranoid about snakes. My wife was going to join me on the walk to the confluence but I decided it may be better if she stayed with the parents and the car.
The final 150 metres took longer than I expected for two reasons; one, the bush started to get quite thick (see photos), two, several paces forward, stop, look for snakes, several paces forward...
As I reached my final destination (without seeing any snakes), it took a while to pin-point the exact location but finally achieved it. I took my photos and pocketed the GPS and got out the compass. There had to be an easier way back than the path I took to get in. So 35 minutes after leaving the roadside to find my confluence I staggered out of the bush, jumped in the car and headed for a picnic spot several kilometres back down the road and celebrated.
On our way to and from the confluence we went past Logue Brook Dam and this highlighted Western Australia’s critical water shortage as the dam was very low. It was so low that from the dam wall you could see the end of the water just off in the distance where as normally the water would disappear around the bends. Although I’m sure this dam does not supply any water to the scheme water, it is indicative of many dams in the states’ south west.
We enjoyed the day out and plan to do more of these in the future – in cooler months. Maybe I can get some of our SES members involved.
Coordinator's note: Unfortunately, the GPS datum was set to one of Australia's older datum sets, AUS84, so the point recorded is over 100m away from the WGS84 confluence required by the Degree Confluence Project. Please see How to visit a confluence for the confluence visiting checklist.