07-Jul-2005 -- We were exploring the physical and cultural geography of New Zealand with a focus on geotechnologies--GPS and GIS. A confluence visit seemed like the perfect complement to this two-week adventure. We were en route to participate in a GIS institute at Queenstown, four days hence. Six USA geography educators, science educators, and GIS professionals from Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Maine were being guided by Peter and Paul Arthur through the country. Peter and Paul, whom we dubbed the "Geo-Apostles," were the most excellent guides one could wish for, and readily assented to the trek. Indeed, they were involved with geography education and computer science themselves, respectively, and I had visited 41 South 175 East with Peter back in 2003.
7 July 2005 saw us leave Wellington and the North Island on the ferry, crossing the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. We rented a van and visited some wonderful coastal terrain and a salt mining operation before nearing Kekerengu. It was a full day and I was a bit apprehensive that night would fall, this being winter in the Southern Hemisphere, before reaching the confluence. We reached Kekerengu, drove west 1 kilometer on Kekerengu Road, and parked near the river. We were collecting water samples to measure water quality and then map the patterns as part of our work in New Zealand, and this provided another opportunity. Peter and I took off at a beeline to the north upon exiting the vehicle. This entailed crossing a few ditches, and by the time we reached the confluence, I was quite wet past my knees. The others, wisely, walked down the road and took a drier route.
We reached the confluence with 30 minutes to dusk. As I had experienced in 2003, my northern hemisphere brain required a bit of adjustment to adequately perform the confluence dance to zero out the unit. The confluence lies on level ground, on a field that had probably been grazed in the past, but quite boggy and marshy. About 30 meters east of the confluence is a tangle of a dead tree that provided some wonderful photographs. We saw no animals but quite a bit of water. The skies were quite clear and the temperature stood at 15 C (59 F). The confluence lies about 80 meters south of the nearest home in a lovely valley. The terrain here is hilly, quite near the coast. After we had been there about 20 minutes, the homeowner appeared to the north. After we explained to her our mission, she said that "others had been there as well," and left us to our own devices.
This was the first confluence visit for several people in the group, and we spent about 30 minutes at the site. I had been to 42 North several times in North America, but never to 42 South. We realized that we needed to cross a few ditches to get back out, and it would be wise to do so before dark. This snapped us out of our confluence reverie, but not without appreciating the moment and the fact that geography brings people together!