When a family trip to the Galapagos Islands 600 miles west of continental Ecuador was confirmed in November 2009, I looked to see if there were any confluences that might be obtainable on the trip. Much to my surprise, there were no complete confluences in the Galapagos Islands of the 7 available. But all of them were on the water, which turns out to be a good thing due to very limited accessibility due to the protected status of the islands as well as very difficult mountainous terrain such as 5,000 foot high volcanoes.
The small cruise ship that we were on (Galapagos Explorer II) visited about 6 separate islands throughout the archipelago and required considerable cruising, mostly at night to reposition for the next day’s island visit via Zodiac boats. It seemed less than probable that I could convince the captain to alter course to a confluence, stop within 100 meters for pictures, and continue on our way, especially in daylight. All the confluences for the islands have land within visual range, but the ocean air can be less than perfectly clear, eliminating the “longer” range islands.
A check of the itinerary showed that we ended the trip in St. Christobal Island and that the flight out didn’t leave until 1 PM. One of the nature guides arranged for the charter of a small boat for the trip to the nearest confluence which was 90W, 1S, just south of Santa Fe Island, a three hour round trip. My cousin in law, Fred Telischi and his daughter Emma agreed to accompany me, since they had heard me talk about possible confluence visits for years and wanted to be part of the team for my first actual visit.
The boat picked us up at daybreak for the trip to the watery confluence. Seas were rough and we were limited to about 14 knots. Soon Santa Fe Island became visible out of the mist. My Garmin Etrex was programmed to the confluence, but a heavy current and strong wind required some considerable adjustments to our course. As we approached the confluence, some delicate maneuvering was required to overcome the current and winds to converge on the confluence. We got within 27 meters using WGS 84 as the coordinate reference. Photographing the GPS was not easy in the pitching and rolling boat, but finally Fred and I got a clear and accurate shot. Immediately, I took the required pictures with the North view clearly showing the eastern end of Santa Fe Island.
After an failed confluence attempt a year ago in the Canadian Arctic that was thwarted by high seas, it was very satisfying to have successfully made my first visit, especially in the southern hemisphere and in the Pacific Ocean, both a long way from home.