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the Degree Confluence Project
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France : Basse-Normandie

31.7 km (19.7 miles) N of Cap de la Hague (Cape), Basse-Normandie, France
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 50°S 178°E

Accuracy: 6 m (19 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: GPS #3: Alderney #4: Les Casquets, - offlying rocks West of Alderney #5: the confluence area on the sea chart #6: the confluence area on the radar #7: passing the "Kondor"

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  50°N 2°W (secondary) 

#1: Cap de La Hague and parts of Cherbourg seen from the confluence

(visited by Captain Peter and Valentyn Smirnov)

09-May-2003 -- Since I first learned of the Confluence Project in mid 2001 I have certainly passed the English Channel (La Manche) more than 20 times. But either it happened in the night, or the visibility has been always too restricted to make some photos of 50N 2W.

Today, however, the visibility was excellent, and when the island of Alderney, a British possession off the coast of France, with its offlying rocks in the West, - Les Casquets came into sight already on a distance of 35 nautical miles (65 km), we knew that 50N 2W could be bagged easily today.

Through all the English Channel, from the Île d'Ouessant off Northwestern France up to the Dover Strait (Pas de Calais) the ships' traffic, similar as on a highway route ashore, is divided according a so called "traffic separation scheme" (T.S.S.). The Northeastbound traffic flows along the French coast, the Soutwestbound one along the Coast of England. Especially since the recent tanker incident of the "Prestige" off the coast of Northwestern Spain the Western European countries are very concerned to avoid a similar desaster and are strictly enforcing that ships do follow the traffic separation lanes. All traffic is radar-controlled from various stations ashore and a reporting system via VHF is established.

The confluence lies East of the "OFF CASQUETS T.S.S.", exactly on the track to the Dover Strait, and so our visit to it could be effected without any unlawful deviation.

It can be well observed, how the traffic separation scheme through the English Channel does work, when you have a look on the confluence area as it is seen on our radar. We are in the centre of the screen. Alderney can be seen in direction 220° (SW), Cherbourg on the Cotentin Peninsula lies to the SE in direction 150°, the yellow spots are other ships, and the light green trails are their "history".

The Northwesternmost tip of the Cotentin Peninsula is called Cap de La Hague.

Of course not all ships are passing at the same speed. Overtaking in quite close distances is common and frequent. Just during our visit we overtook another ship, the "Kondor".

For ships' enthusiasts:
This is a typical so called "Handysize Bulker". A "Bulker", or bulk carrier, is designed to carry goods in large quantities, as coal, ore, fertilizer and all kind of grain. A "HANDYSIZE" is mostly equipped with its own cargo gear (cranes or derricks) and can carry about 30,000 tons of cargo. They usually have a length of about 180 metres (590 ft). The next larger class, the "PANAMAX-Bulker", is mostly gearless and its size is specially adapted to the dimension of the Panama Canal locks. The length is about 220 m (720 ft) and the beam exactly 30,3 m (100 ft). A "Panamax can carry up to 70,000 tons of cargo. The largest bulk carriers are the "CAPESIZERS". They can no longer transit the Panama Canal, but have to pass around Cape Hoorn. They are built for the transport for extremely huge quantities of cargoes (up to 350,000 tons), and have a lenght of up to almost 400 m (1,300 ft).


 All pictures
#1: Cap de La Hague and parts of Cherbourg seen from the confluence
#2: GPS
#3: Alderney
#4: Les Casquets, - offlying rocks West of Alderney
#5: the confluence area on the sea chart
#6: the confluence area on the radar
#7: passing the "Kondor"
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In the sea, but with a view of land.