09-Aug-2009 -- This confluence point was visited while we were on holiday, travelling from Perth to Cairns then back to Perth via the Gulf and the Kimberley.
Four visits were planned for this trip: 12°S 143°E, 18°S 140°E, 17°S 129°E and 17°S 138°E.
This confluence point is on the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and we planned to visit it as a one-day detour while driving west from the Northern Territory's Gregory National Park towards Kununurra in Western Australia.
The plan was to drive south on Duncan Road (which, interestingly, crosses the border a couple of times on its north-south route) to a point that is approximately 5km from the confluence point, then continue on foot from there. Sarah-Jane and I did try to get closer to the confluence point by vehicle by taking some 4WD tracks that we noticed in the area, but after about an hour of trying we were unable to get closer than about 4.7km on Duncan Road.
By this time it was late afternoon and it was apparent that if I did not set out (on foot) very soon then I would be doing so in the dark. As it eventuated, my return trek to the car was made in total darkness anyway, aided solely by torch light.
It took me just over 1 hour to hike to the confluence point, pretty much following my Garmin Etrex's destination indicator arrow in a straight line, whilst trying to weave through larger clumps of spinifex, avoid bushes and negotiate the crossing of a deep but mostly dry river bed. It was hot and somewhat uncomfortable.
When I reached the point, after taking photos I applied a band aid to a blister that was developing on my toe and removed (painful) spinifex seeds from my socks and from under the tongues of my shoes. I should note that I was forced to take photos with my Nokia mobile phone because my digital camera had suddenly ended its life the day before after being dunked in the East Baines River!
The onset of darkness on my return trip was quite sudden. This was a bit of a concern as it's never a really good idea to be walking in the scrub alone in the dark in a remote with unfamiliar terrain. Although I had a LED torch on my forehead and a small torch in one hand, the going was not easy because I continually had to shift my view up and down between the GPS in my hand and the terrain ahead - only a few metres of which were visible in the circle of light provided by the torch. Eventually this started to hurt my neck! It may have been dark, but I still had to battle the tall spinifex, bushes, two small gullies and all sorts of strange noises which kept me on my toes.
I was carrying a handheld UHF radio which was on the blink, but thought I'd give it a try anyway. At 500m from the vehicle I tried to call Sarah-Jane, who was waiting for me at the vehicle in the dark, just to let her know that I was heading back and should not be too long. Although my radio transmitted ok, it turned out that she had turned off the vehicle radio thinking that mine would not be used!
At about 200m from the vehicle I (blindly) signalled forward with the torch so that she could turn on the headlights and I would see exactly where to go. For me it was a very welcome sign seeing those lights and knowing that my two hour trek through the dark - although not overly long - was over!