26-Apr-2004 -- Compared to our confluence hike in the mountains (43N 002W) a few days earlier, the confluence at 43N 004W in the Embalse del Ebro was a day at the beach. Really.
We arrived at the lake in the late morning and fussed around a bit trying to find the closest access point. Once again we appreciated the information of the unsuccessful attempt. Knowing the exact confluence lay in the water, we had originally planned to rent a kayak or small boat. But I kept thinking…. if it really is only a very short distance offshore as Sr. Hermosilla said, why couldn’t we just …….well, swim or something??? The ‘or something’ turned out to be an inflatable raft.
Bill and I parked the car a quarter mile from the confluence and then walked thru a cow pasture to the closest approach on land, .17 miles. We took turns inflating our raft the old-fashioned way (hot air); if the water had been slightly warmer, we would have paddled out together. But although the air was mild, the mountain lake water was glacial. We decided that I would go alone, with Bill remaining on shore as my lifeguard. I hopped on the raft, tucked the camera (secured in a plastic bag) under my chin, and - using the GPS to steer – paddled out into the lake. Ten minutes out, ten minutes fooling around trying to get pictures without splashing too much, and ten minutes back --- all on a warm and crystal clear day. An added bonus was the spectacular view north towards the Picos de Europa. The sunshine washed out the eastern view of the town of Arija across the lake. South was across a broad expanse of lake to a rather featureless coast; West was to the closest approach of land.
Notice the elevation on the GPS in picture 5 – this point is actually HIGHER above sea level than the mountainous 43N2W. If the Ebro had not been dammed, we might still be picking our way thru brambles and sheep droppings!