20-Oct-2002 -- I went to Malaga, Spain on Business, and had Sunday free before work started. I decided to try for this confluence, just off the coast of Portugal. I drove my Turbo Diesel Opal Vectra the 250 miles to Portugal, and started hunting around for the spot.
As it turns out, the nearest beach to the confluence is located sort of behind the Faro International airport. If you follow the signs to the airport, and head right at the last round-about before the airport, you end up on a road that winds around the runway and leads to the beach. The beach it self is on a long, skinny spit of land seperated from the mainland by a long skinny bay. The road becomes a one-lane bridge out over this bay, and ends in a parking lot.
After I parked the car, I got out the GPS and walked down to the beach. The beach right in front of the parking lot was more or less the closest land to the confluence. The distance was 0.6 miles, about three times what I had estimated from maps.
I had brought (from Seattle) an inflatable raft, collapsible oars, a life vest, a backpack, and extra large zip-lock bags for my GPS and Camera. I inflated the raft, and walked back to the beach. There was a slight wind blowing down the beach, so I walked half a mile upwind, thinking that that I wouldn't have to fight the wind to get to the confluence. I tripple-ziplocked my equipment, put it in my backpack, and waded out in to the ocean with my raft under one arm.
There were some real waves, so I spent some time swimming through them while holding on to the raft. Once the waves were breaking behind me, I climbed in to the raft, unstowed the oars, and starting rowing hard. At first the waves continued to push me back towards the shore, but after about 5 minutes I seemed to be past them. I put down the oars and got the GPS out of the backpack and ziplock bags.
The GPS indicated that I was traveling 2.6 miles an hour, at about a 45degree angle down and away from the beach. The wind had changed, and was now pushing me out to sea. This was in the direction of the confluence, but I didn't think I'd be able to get back to land if I went all the way out. I turned the raft around, and spent the next 20 minutes or so rowing as hard as I could back to the beach, fighting against the wind. Finally, The waves started to catch me, and push me back to the beach, but I kept rowing.
As I got close to the beach, an unusually large wave flipped my raft end-over-end and smashed me in to the beach. The impact somehow cracked my GPS case and tore its ziplock bag, flooding the GPS with saltwater (I had brought a backup GPS, but this was still pretty annoying). I pulled all my equipment out of the water, and walked back to the car.
There were a variety of motorboats in marinas in the bay. Future confluence hunters might consider hiring some sort of motorized craft. It would make this confluence a snap. Human Powered Confluence hunters should proceed with caution. The wind changes suddenly here, and it would be easy to get pushed out to sea.