08-Apr-2004 -- Time to turn our attention to the second Confluence visit of the day and our main intended target. I have been corresponding with Joseph Kerski since February 2004 when we realised that we had some visits in common - 52N 0W and 37N 122W - small planet indeed.
Joseph was going to be in the UK for a conference and did I fancy having a go at a water based Confluence? I am on a personal mission to get all of the UK points and already have all of the land based points in England & Wales and have started on Scotland. This would complete 51N from 1E through to 4W giving me a line of 6 in a row - how could I refuse?
Obviously we would need a boat - only problem is I live 140 miles from the area. Thinking cap on....I have done some work with the BBC on Confluence Points - radio interviews with BBC World Service, Radio Northampton, Radio Tyne and Radio Scotland. A half-hour chat show with BBC Radio 4 and a 5 minute video record of a visit with BBC Online.
A quick call to BBC South East - who rang someone at BBC Radio Kent - who gave me the name of a local journalist - who put me in touch with the skipper of our transport - the Sarah Louisa (Pic 6). It was arranged initially we would meet at 11.45am, then changed to 8am.
I collected Joseph from his hotel just after 6am (which meant leaving the house at 3.25am), walking back to the car we got a call, could we postpone to 11.25am, of course we could. Having a void of several hours to fill I wondered if Joseph wanted to visit another point on the Prime Meridian (51N 0W), silly question, so we did.
Arriving back at Folkestone at 11.45 (heavy traffic so a bit late), I rang Dave Turner (skipper) who talked us in, he was "parked" opposite The Mariner Pub, which can be seen here (Pic 7) as we set off on our adventure.
A fairly stout wind was blowing and it felt very cold, well it did to a landlubber like me anyway. It was about 10 miles to our destination and we covered it in just over an hour. We were hoping to get fairly close to the CP and we had agreed beforehand that anything within 50m we would settle for. Pic 2 is looking at the CP from a few hundred metres away.
We hadn't allowed for the skill and seamanship pride of our Captain, juggling the throttles and gauging the wind and the tides he got us spot on (Pic 5), not once but several times. The boat has a DPGS unit and the picture shows an altitude of 0.0005 metres and an accuracy of just 2m. Amazing skill.
I took the locating shots, Pic 3 is SW towards Dungeness and the nuclear power station, Pic 4 is NW towards New Romney, Pic 1 is NE towards Hythe. There is no SE shot as the nearest land is France over 20 miles away and not visible.
After about 15 minutes in the vicinity of the CP we headed back, Pic 8 is Folkestone and the chalk cliffs to the North and Pic 9 is a closer view of the chalk cliffs.
By this time we were rather hungry and found a "chippy" where we bought some Fish & Chips (French Fries for our American viewers), eaten with lots of salt and vinegar as we walked along the sea-front.
All in all and excellent day out which sees me to my 50th visit. Joseph is in Derby for a conference next year....hmmmm...54N may be getting a visit!