03-Oct-2013 -- The planning for visiting 66N 66W started in 2006, two years before my 66th birthday. This Confluence is located near the Inuit village of Pangnirtung on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. I had visited Pangnirtung a number of times to go backpacking and hiking in the fiord inside Auyuittuq National Park and its proximity to 66N 66W did not go unnoticed.
This Confluence is located on the waters of Cumberland Sound, with land in view in three directions, so it qualifies as a confluence under the rules. It is also a Primary Confluence under the high latitude rules. In the winter it can be accessed by snowmobile or dog sled team and in the mid summer and early fall, it can be reached by boat when the sea ice has broken up.
Out of curiosity, I checked to see if 66N 66E in Russia had been visited before, and it had not, but a nearby Confluence had been visited by Ivanov Andrey. I made contact with him after determining that in late September, there was a short common daylight window despite the 132 degree difference in longitude. I suggested that we do a simultaneous visit to these two confluences. 66N 66E is on the bank of a river upstream from where Ivan lives and reachable by boat. He agreed and we set the plan in motion.
To add to the fun, I carried a satellite tracking system that allowed my position to be viewed via the Internet on a map in real time. He carried a portable Inmarsat satellite Internet terminal and a laptop so he could watch my progress and we also had satellite telephones for voice communications.
Ivan’s team arrived at his Confluence the day before and set up camp on the bank of the river at exactly 66N 66E. As I approached the western “66” confluence on my 66th birthday in 2008, we were in voice communications and he was watching our progress on his laptop. But the wind came up, and rough seas required us to abort the boat trip. In addition, water breaking over the bow was freezing on the windshield. Possibly the first attempt to reach two Confluences at once was thwarted. A lot of technology was in play, but Mother Nature had other ideas; I did not make the Confluence on my birthday despite all of the planning.
In the fall of 2013, I visited Pangnirtung with my wife, Sheryl, and decided to try again to visit 66N 66W. Captain Peter Kilabuk took us to the Confluence in a sturdy aluminum boat along with three local high school students. The seas were rather calm and we easily reached the Confluence in good weather. The required pictures were taken and we returned to the dock in Pangnirtung. The students were informed about the Degree Confluence Project and now have the challenge to visit other nearby unclaimed Confluences via snowmobile when conditions permit. They have many to chose from.