10-Jun-2004 -- We were travelling from Swan Hill to stay a night at an uncle's vineyard at Welshman's Reef, near the Cairn Curran Reservoir. The route basically travels southwards along the Loddon Valley Highway. We had visited the confluence at 36°S 144°E earlier this afternoon and decided to attempt this confluence, the "next one south", at 37°S 144°E.
At this latitude, the distance between lines of latitude is just under 111km. Of course, we couldn't travel in a direct line and the road distance was around 125km and we had about an hour an a half of sunlight left in the day. It was going to be close to see if we could locate, reach and photograph this confluence before sunset.
We left the Loddon Valley Highway at Serpentine and headed through Bridgewater, Newbridge and Baringhup. Any other day this would have been a lovely late afternoon drive through leafy, country Victoria. But today we were on a mission and we were quickly running out of daylight.
Armed with the GPS, a laptop computer and a copy of the Natmap 1:250,000 mosaic map of Australia we ducked and weaved our way through some back roads, past the Cairn Curran Reservoir towards our target. Admittedly, this wasn't the best planned confluence visit in the world, but we were keen to get there today.
We arrived at the 37°S line of latitude and surveyed the situation. The confluence point was about 300 metres away and we had less than 10 minutes of sun left.
The confluence point is in a green sheep paddock. There is a dry creek bed nearby which we quickly crossed. As we neared the confluence point we realised that it would be near, or in, a water storage dam we could see. We counted down the distance as we walked up the lip of the dam and then, bingo! We hit all zeros. The confluence was right on the lip of the dam.
Our first photo was taken to the west, so we could capture the lovely sunset. I was feeling a bit rushed at this point and my photo doesn't really do it justice. We then followed up with the other photos and returned to the car. After giving ourselves a quick pat on the back we drove the last few kilometres to the vineyard and began our celebrations in ernest. All in all it was a good day - 2 successful confluence visits and some wine to finish with!
When I got home, I looked up the DCP website and obviously found that we were not the first visitors here. The first visit here was in March 2001 when this region was gripped by drought. The drought has now broken and a sense of greeness has returned to the land.
Simon & Rod Chapple