the Degree Confluence Project


5.3 km (3.3 miles) SW of Rud, Värmland, Sweden
Approx. altitude: 43 m (141 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 59°S 167°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: My GPS when I am almost exactly at the confluence #3: Part of a nautical chart for the area, the confluence is marked with a red ring #4: This is me, Jörgen Granstam, in my boat near 59N13E

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  59°N 13°E (visit #1)  

#1: A panoramic view from the area at 59N13E

(visited by Jörgen Granstam)

08-Sep-2002 -- Even though I live in Gothenburg (Göteborg), since many years back, I keep my boat in lake Vänern, at Mariestad where I grew up. This weekend, the 7th and 8th of September 2002, I had decided that I should finally try to visit a degree confluence.

There were more unvisited confluences in Sweden, when I first heard about the Degree Confluence project. Even several more conveniently located confluences in southern Sweden. By now, the only one left that seemed resonably comfortable for me to visit was 59N 13E. This confluence is located on open water on lake Vänern. And thus I would be able to go there by boat.

However, the confluence is on the opposite side of Vänern from Mariestad and Vänern is not a small lake. Also, my summer vacation is already over and I am back to work, thus I had to get up to Mariestad by car and from there by boat to the confluence and back again in only a weekend. Well that sounds like an adventure, right?

I worked late friday night and thus decided to wait until Saturday morning before going up to Mariestad, it is a little bit over two hours by car. I figured there should be enough time anyway. Well, I left for Mariestad later than I had planned on Saturday, and with a few more delays when I got there I did not leave the harbour until four o'clock in the afternoon.

This time of the year, the sun sets at about eight, and I knew I had about four hours of daylight and perhaps one hour of dusk before it got dark. Thus, I set sail knowing that I would not get to the confluence that day, but I was hoping to reach the other side of Vänern before dark.

Initially the wind was quite good and I thought it would get even better when I got out on open waters on the outside of the islands north-west of Mariestad. Unfortunately, that was not the case and it actually got less windy instead. I still had wind but not enough to get me to the other side of Vänern before dark.

Since I did not want to try sailing in unknown waters in complete darkness, I decided to start the engine and use both it and the sails tho get across the lake in time. I was thus able to hold a speed of about 5.2 knots. I could have gone a little bit faster, but I figured that would have consumed too much fuel. It proved to be a good decision later.

Thus, I passed south of the Djurö archipelago in the middle of Vänern about six o'clock and reached the many islands in the waters south of Värmlandsnäs at sunset. I don't know these waters well and even though I have good nautical charts for all of Vänern, I decided to stay there, near a small island since it was getting dark.

The next day, on Sunday, I set sail already before sunrise. I had to use the engine for a short distance since the wind from south (or perhaps south-west) prevented me from sailing in the narrow passage in the south-west direction between grounds, rocky islets and islands. The rest of the morning though, I sailed through the inner passage through the west coast archipelago of Värmlandsnäs. I only saw one or two other boats in the entire morning. It's not tourist season anymore.

I got out on Bäröfjärden about 10 o'clock in the morning. Bäröfjärden is the part of Vänern where the 59N 13E degree confluence, the goal for my journey, is located. As I got close to the confluence i lowered the sails and started the engine. I figured that it would be easier that way.

By slowly first finding and following the 59N latitude as closely as possible, I managed to snap a picture of the GPS at 59 00'001N 13 00'000E (actually, I am quite sure my GPS did show N 59 00'000 E 13 00'000 for a split second, but I didn't snap the picture fast enough). Given that the GPS have an accuracy of about 15 meters (according to the manual). I think I can safely claim that I at least was within 20 meters of the confluence.

I then spent about an hour taking photos of the surroundings and making additional tries to pass over the same spot (that, I mostly did since I saw on the small display of the digital camera that there was a reflection in the display of the GPS in that picture and I could not see if this fact made the coordinates unreadable in the picture).

The confluence is located in the middle of Bäröfjärden, the closest land is the small islet of Lakskär. According to the chart, the depth is almost 60 meters not far from the confluence. Too deep for me to drop anchor thus and even though it was not very windy, there were some waves.

It was not easy to keep the boat on the right course, snapping pictures and keeping track of which directions had already been photographed and which had not (I tried to get enough pictures to get a 360 degree panoramic view, and I actually managed to get enough). Wish I had managed to get someone to join me on this journey, that would have helped, but no one I asked volonteered.

I include four pictures. The first is the panoramic view over the area (that picture actually consists of parts from roughly 10 different photographs). 59N13E is not located very close to land, thus the pictures shows mostly water and distant islands and shores. I have marked significant land features in this picture, as well as compass directions. All these are approximative and with the exception for Lakskär, I had to use the chart to identify the other land features.

The second is a picture of my GPS at almost exactly 59N13E, the third is a picture of the nautical chart for the area (not actually the chart I used when sailing but an much older one that I keep at home in Göteborg and use when planning adventures like this one). Just so that everyone will be able to compare the first picture with the chart. And finally a picture I took of myself, steering my boat somewhere on Bäröfjärden, not far from the 59N13E confluence.

At noon, I had to leave the confluence in order to get home before dark according to my plans. I took the passage through the archipelago of Millesvik, further out than the passage I used in the morning. I mostly used the engine now, since I was going almost directly against the wind on my route south. I got back to the small island where I had anchored during the night at about four o'clock.

By then I noticed that the wind had turned even further towards east. This meant that I would not have much use of the sails during the rest of the day either and I did not have time to go by another route than mostly against the wind. Too bad, sailing is more fun. Anyway I got back into the harbour of Mariestad about an hour after sunset (I had planned to be back by sunset). As I turned the engine off I saw that I had almost no fuel left, but I was back. I had been at 59N13E, and I had the pictures to prove it.

 All pictures
#1: A panoramic view from the area at 59N13E
#2: My GPS when I am almost exactly at the confluence
#3: Part of a nautical chart for the area, the confluence is marked with a red ring
#4: This is me, Jörgen Granstam, in my boat near 59N13E
ALL: All pictures on one page
In the large lake Vänern, about 2.7 km from land.