05-Jul-2004 -- I went to China on the support crew for Slovenian marathon swimmer, Martin Strel in his attempt to swim the Yangtze River. As such, it wasn't supposed to be a pleasure trip, nor was I on my own schedule. I knew I'd not likely have an opportunity for a confluence.
On 5 July, 2004, our expedition entered the Three Gorges, a very popular area for tourists. I was riding in the raft which stays close to Martin as he swims. In Wu Gorge, I noticed that our position was nearing N31° E110°. Checking the map on my GPS, I saw the river passed within a couple kilometers of the point. While I knew I wouldn't be able to get close enough for a successful visit, I planned to take photos as Martin swam in order to record an attempt.
As I readied my camera and GPS to document my closest approach, I received a phone call from our advance team. He reported bad weather ahead and suggested we find shelter. We got off the raft and boarded the China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) boat which was accompanying us, and we motored downstream through very rough water to a dock roughly 400 meters away. We waited on the dock under a roof for the wind and rain to pass, and the whitecaps on the river to subside.
By an amazing stroke of luck (from the perspective of a confluence hunter), this weather-related delay as we sat on the shore allowed me my closest approach to the confluence, which lies about 2 kilometers off the right bank (downstream) of the Yangtze River in Wu Gorge. Our wait gave me time to fully document my attempt.
From the river in the direction of the confluence, the terrain is very steep and mountainous with heavy vegetation. A few hundred meters up the bank sits a small cluster of houses. Some men worked near the river to build a retaining wall. Begun in 2003, this area is being flooded and signs posted in the area indicate the future water level.
To get to the confluence from here would be very difficult, but probably not impossible. Like most places I've seen in China, I expect there are many foot trails going up the mountain and probably near the confluence. Local knowledge would be extremely valuable.
If I'd had more time, I would have gone for it. Instead, after the wind blew past we got back on the raft and continued down the river.
The above narrative was written soon after the attempt. When I returned home to the United States several weeks later, I was happy to learn that this confluence had been successfully visited-- by Tarq Parsons and his friends. I was pleased to note that our stories complemented each other quite well.