04-Apr-2004 -- My son Brendan and I left our home town of Santa Rosa (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon and headed east, having set a waypoint in the GPS at 28ºS 054ºW. It was a beautiful day, about 25ºC with blue skies and sunshine.
We knew from our map that this Confluence Point was near the village of Esquina Arauja. To reach it, we passed the town of Três de Maio, where we turned south towards Independência. Passing Independência, we watched the GPS carefully, as the CP was east of the road some 10 km. but we didn't know how to get there.
Once it was abeam, we found a dirt road which took us off into the lush farmland of this region. Rolling fields with no end, at this time of year all covered with ripe soya ready for harvest. We followed the GPS, seeking out smaller and smaller dirt roads among the fields as we got closer.
We were lucky, and finally were within 1 km. of the CP as we turned into a track across a huge field which had just been harvested. This meant that we could drive across the field to get to the CP.
But as we lined up on the bearing, we saw that there was a patch of original forest straight ahead. I reckoned we would reach the CP before we reached the trees, and I was right. The CP was 1 metre before the trees!
We took a photo of the GPS, and then used it to locate North, and took photos of the four cardinal points. South was looking into the forest, so it is a mass of green.
This region is typical of the soya producing areas of southern Brazil, which are producing more and more soya due to improved methods and varieties, and have helped to turn Brazil into the largest exporter of soya products in the world since 2003.
But around 28ºS 054ºW, the Creator was particularly generous and sculpted the land into gently rolling hills of fertile red laterite soil, perfect for mechanised agricultural production.
As we headed for home, there were many farmers harvesting their soya, often with four or five combine harvesters in the field. The soya this year has been affected by severe drought, and yields have plummeted. But at 28ºS 054ºW, the farmers have been lucky. There was more rain than in the surrounding countryside, and yield is almost normal at around 3000 kgs. per hectare.