the Degree Confluence Project


4.0 km (2.5 miles) WNW of Grozeşti, Iaşi, Romania
Approx. altitude: 25 m (82 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 47°S 152°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Dawn looking thrilled at 4:30 am! #3: All zeros!! #4: Muddy frog & snail infested river #5: Robert and I with the Head of Border Police #6: The incriminating "Google Earth" satelite photo #7: The more friendly (and oldest) of the farmers looking bewildered #8: Finally... a very chuffed looking me!!!

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  47°N 28°E (visit #2)  

#1: The spot

(visited by Phil Sharpe and Dawn Sharpe)

24-Aug-2005 --

1st attempt 23/08/05 Tues 04:30am

He shoots, he scores Phil Sharpe goes international! Charity work for Telecoms Eastern European Challenge took us to the far NE of Romania to a small town called Huşi, south of the city Iaşi. On the drive from Iaşi to Huşi we passed less than 4 miles from the point. Getting this CP was an epic and took two attempts. From where we were staying the CP was only 22.9 miles North. Before I went to Romania I did a little research and I got a print out of a satellite photo of the area from 'Google Earth'. I also had a map of Romania. This spot is very close to the Moldova border in a field outside a very poor village called Grozeşti.

For the 1st Attempt we left very early using the children's homes minibus and also took along one of the other charity volunteers Robert. It took 40 mins to drive as far as we could off the main road and along a dirt track. With only 1.29 miles to go I parked the minibus left Dawn and Robert in it (Dawn was half asleep!!) and went off down the track. After wading through a river (full of Frogs and snails) I got to the exact spot, went to take the photo and the camera wouldn't work!! I had got it slightly wet crossing the river... I was gutted!

2nd Attempt 24/08/05 Weds 17:00pm

After being persuaded by the other volunteers back at the charity care home, the next day I decided to try again. This time Dawn was still painting so only Robert came with me. We parked the minibus in the same spot and I set off down the track. It had rained over night so the track was now very muddy and slippery. I was wearing women's flip-flops too this time, kindly donated by one of the volunteers so I wouldn't get my trainers dirty! It took me twice as long to get to the spot slip-sliding my way but this time after crossing the small river and big ditch (both teaming with frogs and snails)I managed to get the pictures successfully.

It was on the way back when the drama started! I was trotting back across the fields when I met a farmer who didn't understand a word of English and seemed very bemused by me but he seemed friendly enough and after a quick hello I moved on.

Then I met another farmer who was a less friendly. Understandably, he was cautious about who I was and what I was doing there. I tried to explain, show him my passport, etc. but he just tried to take everything I showed him off me and with his stick threatened me for money and was getting very angry. I tried to ring the lady who works at the home as she speaks Romanian but I couldn't get through.

Things were getting very heated and by now the first farmer and another had come over. The main farmer was not up for talking at all and motioned for me to kneel down and was barking orders at the other farmer who then sheepishly came around the back of me uncoiling his rope. As you can imagine I was getting VERY VERY worried! I knew that I wasn't going to get him to understand what I was doing there; the main farmer was only interested in what he could take from me and had no intension of going to the police with me (which I had gestured to him and he knew damn well what I meant) so I went for him knocking him off his feet and made a run for it.

This was incredibly difficult wearing women's flip flops on the muddy track; it was like one of those nightmares where you can't get away... (although now in hindsight probably looked more like a Benny Hill Sketch!) Eventually, I got back onto the main path shouting frantically at Robert to start the van. I jumped in and he got us moving trying not to run over the chickens on the way. After a few minutes we stopped and I took over the driving again.

I was just starting to explain what had happened to Robert who now was also concerned when we reached a roadblock of three Frontier Police cars were waiting for us. The Police were very serious and simply asked us to follow them to the police station. To make matters worse at this point the minibus was full of beer that we had brought for everyone in the morning to take back to England, although the police seemed more concerned in what we were doing there with a "satellite photo and a high quality camera".

When we arrived at the police station, the police Chief came to speak to us. Fortunately, his English was quite good, however, it is very difficult to explain the hobby of Confluencing, and why we had a digital camera and satellite photograph near the Moldova border! Eventually, after some discussion and a number of phone calls, the police chief said, he believed our story, and would let us go. It was after this that the police started to become much more friendly and said, they had never met anyone from England before. I cheekily asked for their photos at the end and as you can see they said yes, and we had a great moment of Anglo-Romanian bonding! Everything worked out well in the end but it definitely gave me a few grey hairs!

Achieving this Confluence proved to be a real epic and after everything I went through to get it you can imagine how infuriated I was to get back home and find out that I had been beaten to it by a couple of days. In the entire history of confluencing nobody had been to this spot and then two people visit it in the same week within two days of each other... and they say, confluencing is geeky... no way... It's a high-octane dog-eat-dog world out there!!!

 All pictures
#1: The spot
#2: Dawn looking thrilled at 4:30 am!
#3: All zeros!!
#4: Muddy frog & snail infested river
#5: Robert and I with the Head of Border Police
#6: The incriminating "Google Earth" satelite photo
#7: The more friendly (and oldest) of the farmers looking bewildered
#8: Finally... a very chuffed looking me!!!
ALL: All pictures on one page