22-Apr-2003 -- 22-Apr-2003
We arrived in Punta Arenas on April 12th, 2003 after traveling 44 hours from Anchorage, Alaska. We had scoped out three confluences that we thought were attainable during our trip and 53S 71W seemed like a good first start.
We headed north and it appeared from the local maps that the confluence was located off the road that travels westward to the penguin colony. We headed off in search of the confluence but got no closer than about 6 miles. We figured there had to be another road that would get us closer than that so we decided to abandon the first confluence effort and continue our journey to Torres del Paine and eventually Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, Argentina.
On Aprill 22, 2003, upon returning to Punta Arenas for our flight back to Santiago, we decided to take one last stab at finding 53S 71W. We headed north from Punta Arenas and soon to our dismay noticed our batteries were fading fast. We headed back into Punta Arenas, got the necessary batteries and backup batteries and headed back out.
We were now racing the clock for our return flight. We took a random blind road towards the west and ended up running into a Chilean Military Installation. We turned around quickly and decided that route was not going to be feasible. We then headed south to the next westward pointing road. This time we ended up at a dead end near what appeared to be an informal landfill. There were some very confused looking locales. Or were we the confused ones? We then headed back out to the main road went north past the Punta Arenas Airport and then took our final westward road. The gravel road circumnavigated the airport and took us on a winding trek but we were confident, or foolish, in our belief that this was it.
We kept heading west and eventually came to within 0.12 miles of the confluence. We parked our trusty Volkswagen Gol (note no "f"), hopped a barbed wire fence and headed into a small ravine, crossed a small stream and we were there. It took a few minutes to pinpoint the confluence, but that we did. The confluence lies at the base of a craggily tree covered in moss.