08-Dec-2002 -- An attempt with some effort to go to the first confluence point in Venezuela. This point is difficult to reach like most of them in this country, not accessible on passable roads. The available maps are very inaccurate and we hoped to find some hidden paths still to be discovered.
We started our first attempt along the eastern side of the river CARONI. An excellent tarred road led us from SAN FELIX to the south, direct to the confluence point. The road suddenly ended for us at a guarded gate of the state energy group CVG EDELCA [pic3 (1)]. This is the access [8° 9.1992'N, 62°46.1856'W] to the new dam CARUACHI.
Back to the last intersection and we continued in direction the SOUTH. For the time being we not enter the old road to the village CARUACHI, we looked for an entrance closer to the 8th degree (latitude). We found an appropriate way which seemed promising to us first. But briefly this turned off, however, towards the southwest, away from the confluence. The quality of the road also got more critical for our car. A talk with a farmer [pic4] yielded that [pic2 (3)] this way won't lead us to the CARONI. We concluded this approach [7° 54.9216'N, 61° 47.7810'W], too.
It was told to us that we could cross the CARONI in GURI. The road went on towards the southwest. But this route also ended at a guarded gate of the state energy group CVG EDELCA [pic3 (4)]. This is the access to the world-famous GURI dam and [7° 48.0804'N, 62° 58.2690'W] and a continuation of the journey was refused by the guards.
Still pending was the old road to the village CARUACHI. The increasing level of the artificial lake, however, stopped us [8° 7.0632'N, 62° 50.9484'W] very soon - WARNING: 'NIVEL DE AGUA EN ASCENSO' [pic4]. This was the end of our trials from the eastern side of the CARONI. The smallest distance to the point ever reached was ~19 km.
The next day we went down the western side of the river CARONI in direction to GURI. At kilometer 70 we turned off in the direction to the beaches of the river CARONI well known from earlier days. The warning signpost, also here already says: 'NIVEL DE AGUA EN ASCENSO'. After a short moment of frustration [pic2 (5)], the unforgettable shore countryside of the wild, marvelous river is lost forever, sunken on behalf of technical progress (?). The small waterfalls, islands and sandy beaches have disappeared, replaced by a smooth expanse of water [pic5] covered with wreckages. We permitted us a short swimming excursion to enjoy the refreshing, warm water [8° 6.8304'N, 62° 54.5916'W]. At the way back we went to the former shore village, which has almost disappeared in the lake [pic6].
Finally we drove to the well-known elephant mountain (Piedra de Elefante) [8° 5.1096'N, 63° 0.2184'W]. From there we had a wonderful view of the marvelous riverside of the CARONI [pic7]. On the other side of the river, about 10km to south the area of the confluence may be seen.
Our next attempt will show, whether the confluence point is already flooded then. Probably a boat is required to reach to the vicinity. February/March 2003 will be the next opportunity.