04-Mar-2006 -- A friend in South Africa told me about the degree confluence project. I am in the Republic of Georgia (Eastern Europe) on a business assignment. I visited the degree confluence website and noticed that only one point in Georgia received a visit. I have been in the Guria area previously for business purposes and noticed the degree confluence point 42:42 in this area has not been visited. Maps of Georgia are not freely available and if maps are found they are mostly in Russian language. The main routes in Georgia are marked in Georgian and English but on the less travelled routes the route marks are still in Georgian and Russian. Outside of the capital Tbilisi very few people speak English. I found a map of the confluence point on Map Quest. All of a sudden the possibility of a visit became a reality.
After quite a bit of planning and waiting for spring to arrive we left for Kutaisi on 3 March 06 planning to visit the confluence point on 4 March 06. During the night of 3-4 March a severe storm passed over the area. My hopes of a successful visit diminished. On Saturday morning with rainy weather in the Kutaisi area, we decided to still attempt to go to the point. The GPS direct distance was approximately 60km. I thought that the road distance may be in the order of 75km. We travelled to Samtredia and turned away from the main route towards Chokhatauri and Ozurgeti. What an adventure! We had to cross a mountain pass on a terrible road and new snowfall from the previous evening. It was a great relief to discover that the Guria area had sunshine and no snow once we crossed the pass. The final distance was slightly more than 100km with nearly 3 hours of travelling.
In Ozurgeti my Georgian teammate made enquiries about the road to the village Dzhumati. Close to the last river crossing we took the wrong turn and ended up in mud crossing a small side river, luckily without problems. The next obstacle proved to be problematic. We could see from the GPS that the point is less that 2km ahead of us but… the main river is between us and the point!! The entire area was soaking wet from the previous days rain. Great risk exists that we would get stuck. Luckily we managed to turn around without incident and backtracked our route. After some more enquiries we manage to locate a bridge to cross the main river. Approaching the point we realised that the point was inside a small village in the garden of one of the houses. We approached the occupants and explained to them the degree confluence project. They were extremely suspicious about our activities, watching our every move closely. They however soon lost interest in our activities leaving us to locate the point within the GPS accuracy in a very soggy garden.