14-Apr-2001 -- Bob Jordan claimed that this confluence was destined to be his. Since he grew up on the same side of the divide as the confluence I guess I will have to concede prior claim. I was first drawn to it by its description "N of Te Rehunga". I was born on the other side of the divide and spent my childhood years at Te Rehunga, 24.5km due south of this confluence. Having achieved 36S174E I was casting around for the next conquest and this seemed the logical one so I was somewhat chagrined to find Bob had beaten me to it. I crossed it off the list at this point.
Shortly after, a trip to the UK was confirmed. As we plan to stay a number of years the idea of achieving confluences on both sides of the world appealed. Could I be the first in the world to hold a GPS at an antipodean pair? Sure the early polar explorers achieved an antipodean pair when they conquered both poles, but the poles are far too obvious as opposites and besides, they did not have a GPS and a digital camera to prove the point!
In the absence of topographical maps of Spain, I was restricted to the home atlas and some National Geographic maps. It was abundantly clear that the pair to my confluence point was in the Straits of Gibraltar so I was going to need another New Zealand starting point. Which pair to pick? I worked my way south down New Zealand, away from home and conversely north up Spain from the southern coast. Finally I decided on 40S176E - 40N4W as a likely pair. This decision was aided by the desire to visit my "home" confluence, the fact that some very good friends, Bob and Prue Wakelin, have a farm about 15km from the confluence and that the Spanish location is only 50km outside of Madrid.
40S176E was back on the list.
The long Easter break was a great opportunity to make the trip. 40S176E is 363km from home which, by the time we had travelled a few back-country roads on our way there, became a 550km journey. We arrived at the Wakelin’s on Friday afternoon as the weather closed in. That night there was a fierce electrical storm and more rain than the total fallen so far this year. (The rain gauge had to be emptied twice.) The prospects for a successful confluence visit were not looking good.
Saturday dawned overcast and the Ruahine Ranges were shrouded in mist. Although rain looked likely all day it did not eventuate so the expedition was mounted mid-afternoon. After reading Bob Jordan’s description of his approach we decided to take the easy route. Given the amount of rain the previous day, who knew what the state of the river would be like? Having a local farmer on the team was a great help. Our Bob knew someone who knew who lived at the end of Pettigrew Road, a Mr Rick Pettigrew. We phoned and obtained permission to walk across his farm. The road ended 700m from the confluence and the farm tracks were in such excellent condition that we could have driven to within 200m but we elected to take the 30 minute stroll over the pastures instead.
The confluence was located, the photos taken, the rain held off and we returned dry and satisfied. Next stop, Spain: 40N4W.