38N 141E and the confluence project

March 14, 2007

Rik and Leanne posted about the confluence project which sounds kind of interesting.

They paddled about 20km, 5 hours, out to the middle of the East China Sea on February 13th 2007 and got their confluence 32N 130E, upped on the confluence.org site (with a dedication to Andrew McAuley). Congratulations guys.


“In Japan, all the land-based confluences have already been recorded (although the site accepts repeat visits), but most of the ones that lay in the sea within sight of land have not (get’em, kayakers!).”

So with that prodding here are the confluences near me, the red ones (on land) have been done as have all the ones within reasonable distance to the south.


The nearest is 38N 141E only 9km from Land, within reach and not yet done.



The other option, if I do paddle to Sado ga shima, is to do a detour to 38N 139E on the way, that would be a nice double although would significantly lengthen the crossing.



The problem with both of these locations however is that they are close to or (in the case of Niigata) in the middle of busy shipping routes: Sendai harbour and Niigata harbours respectively.

Of the others 39N 142E is 14km out into an exposed ocean where sight of land is not guaranteed, 39N 139E is 62km (way too far) but 40N142E is just 5km out, doable and near(ish) to the new, highly anticipated Aomori Museum of Art by Aoki Jun (an architect I admire greatly) that I want to visit before leaving Japan.

I also need a GPS!

By the way Rik and Leanne are totally hard core: they left at 2:40am paddled 4oklicks in rising winds, missed squid boats by 50m, got back at noon then taught English, their day job, in the afternoon. Respect.


2 Responses to “38N 141E and the confluence project”

  1. rick Says:

    hi kieran,

    thanks for the compliments on our little expedition. yeah our work was a tad more challenging than usual that afternoon.
    we’re also going to do the one to the south which will be more challenging. good luck with your own confluence bagging! be careful though venturing out on the open sea, give yourself a huge safety margin at least at first. our first few kayak adventures were a bit too adventurous, in retrospect i would have been much more cautious. we lived on a good dose of fool’s luck more than once. with increased handling skills (esp. bracing and rolling) and experience judging weather conditions and forecasts, these kinds of hazards become manageable. freight ships and fishing boats also pose serious hazards; make sure you develop excellent spatial perception to be able to judge exactly where they are going and to know instantly what is best to do if they unexpectedly turn in your direction at close range. looking at your blog you seem to be progressing cautiously and thoughtfully, and that is the most important thing. we’re happy to know there is someone out there in japan, gaijin or otherwise, who is thinking along similar lines as us. keep up the good work.

    you asked us about our maps…it’s a bit of a long story but we make most of them ourselves from a large collection of data and software we had accumulated and/or built up over the years. mapmaking is a bit of a hobby with me and i dare say i consider myself an expert equal to just about any professional cartographer out there. so thanks for your compliments on that too, because more time went into them than most people would suspect. anyway here are a few useful things to get you started too.

    you should get a program called Kashmir which is a japanese free software to display 3-dimensional data. both a japanese and english edition exist; the japanese one newer and better, but you may want to start with the english to learn how to work it, as it is quite cryptic and complicated even so, though at the same time pretty versatile. to go with this you need the mesh elevation data available from the japanese geographical institute (kokudo-chiriin). they sell compiled cd’s of this stuff but it is also available freely though not conveniently on the internet (it is split up by municipality). i can get this data to you as i have already built the software to pull it off the internet wholesale. anyways with this software you can generate the cool-looking 3-d views as well as the relief maps you often see on our site. another pretty cool thing this software can do is overlay images onto the terrain, for a pretty realistic view, if you use aerial or satellite photos. one that came out well can be seen on the Aug.’06 issue on our blog, of Cape Bou. it actually looks much better in full resolution though. you can also use Kashmir to generate views of the land as seen from say, a mountaintop or on approach of an island; labels of mountain names etc. pop up aiding in identification. this is actually what the program was originally built for, for hikers to know what they are looking at.

    another good free sofware is the GPS Trackmaker (free from their respective site). this allows you to make digital maps by drawing or copying lines from properly aligned digital or scanned images. i use it mainly for drafting digital maps to use with our GPS units, but it also comes handy for making presentable maplets for display since you can conveniently draw or copy in digital roads, labels, etc, on top of a raster image (for example a relief map from Kashmir; the latter sofware is not very good for drawing lines). Again to become proficient with Trackmaker you need to play with it for a while. when you get your GPS, this program will be the best one to interface the unit with your computer, to archive/upload digital data.

    as for the background images, there are plenty available from the internet, including aerial photos, satellite images, google earth (this is overall the best), etc. some require special alignment, for which i have built software, but a rough alignment by hand often just about does the trick.

    when we get really fancy we throw all this stuff into adobe and draft it all up appropriately. but that’s rarely done for the blog.

    you also mentioned you need to buy a GPS unit. i would highly recommend what we have, namely the american edition of the Garmin Legend C. they are about 350 bucks in the states. the same bloody thing, though japanized, will cost you nearly a grand in this country. anyways these are good units overall, and i have the capability for making digital maps from scrach for these, a process i could guide you through as well. (of course you can also buy maps, but they are rather expensive and not nearly as accurate as ones you can make from your own data compilation.) you will also need a waterproof case for your unit, because it is NOT waterproof as advertised. i don’t know how you could go about obtaining an american unit; we did it by having a friend get them for us and picked them up while on vacation in Mexico.

    if that is too expensive, the cheapest unit which only show latitude/longitude and distance/direction to a chosen point, can also be used well for navigation. for a couple hundred bucks more, though, it is nice to see youself cruising over a background color map while you are paddling.

    anyways this is getting long enough, though it’s just scratching the surface so if you have any questions, please ask. we can establish communication over email if you like; if you can see the address i had to put in above, send mail over there if you like (it’s a junk address we use for the purpose, but i will write you back).


  2. […] There is never just one reason June 2nd, 2007 I failed today. I was aiming to reach the confluence point 38N 141E that I blogged about in March […]

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