Team Whistling Ducks and Buff-necked Ibis With Cashew Visit the Confluence of 9S 44W.
Aaron Lobao, Paul Nery, Fernando and Roberto Gayoso, Roberto Miranda and Leonidas Filho left Teresina (PI), 8 o'clock am the day January 13, 2011 heading to the confluence 9S 44W, in Santa Luz, State of Piaui, about 650 km away from Teresina by road.
The expedition had been planned days ahead. The logistics, which included two pickups, three motor bikes and a quad, with Thermos bottles, drinking water, ice and food, tents for camping and other utensils necessary for the expedition, had all been checked.
Our first stop was at Sr. Sales's Bar in Água Branca (PI), famous for its traditional pastry. Around noon we stopped for lunch at the Hotel Parnaíba in Floriano (PI). Then we left for the city of Cristino Castro (PI), where we stayed the night at the Gurgueia Park Hotel, known throughout the region for the geyser-fed swimming pool. The next morning we drove through the towns of Jerumenia (PI), Bertolinia (PI), Manoel Emidio (PI) Colony Gurgueia (PI) and the Violet Geyser, another favorite site. Now we were getting closer to the goal.
We continued toward the confluence, heading to the town of Santa Luz (PI) and then, guided by GPS, by a primitive road, we drove on to Chale, a village settled by INTERPI, a state agency responsible for land reform. In this part of the journey we passed through valleys and mountains with steep cliffs of rare beauty.
When we were near Chale, about 25 kilometers distant from Santa Luz, we left Leonidas and Roberto Miranda with the trucks to prepare lunch, while we mounted the quad and bikes for the final approach to the confluence.
Immediately we entered a valley, clearly delineated by rock formations on the sides, with lush vegetation interspersed with old plantings made by the owners of the place. Soon, only 400 meters from the confluence, we were greeted by the singing of two macaws flying over the site. So near but so far. The vegetation was absurdly thick. From there we walked for two hours, clearing a path with a machete.
Exhausted by the combination of heat and underbrush, we began to realize that the confluence was beyond anyone's reach: In fact, it is located part way up a steep cliff and therefore unreachable. Given the rules of the Web site, we had no choice but to register a visit to the point 8º 59' 58,0"S 44º 00' 00,1"W, only 63 meters from the exact point, as a rule contained in the Web site confluence.org, item Information - Success vs. Incomplete.
It is noteworthy that in the region there is little water. Catchment basins for collecting water are very deep and the terrain is sandy, which prevents water storage on the surface. And because of this, structures must be made of rough wood without using any mortar or clay (see photo). Also, due to the lack of water, farmers can work only part of a week, only as long as the small deposits of water last.
Having made the photos and met the requirements for registering the visit, we returned to meet with the rest of the team, had lunch and headed back to the Gurgea Park Hotel, arriving as night fell. We spent the evening resting in the swimming pool supplied with crystal clear water from the geyser. Also, part of the team as a contributor Mike Stricklin, enthusiast and foreign affairs adviser. Until next time.