A few Samos caches

29 05 2015

We left unnecessarily early for Arlanda in my opinion but did so to keep peace in the house. I was able to catch up on my interrupted sleep on the three and a half hour flight. Our hotel was 1600 m from the airport terminal but I didn’t think I would live to enjoy the vacation if I suggested that we walked so we took a taxi and arrived at the hotel within 5 minutes.

We were staying in Pythagorion where there was only one cache aars3 within walking distance and that was at the Monastery of Spillianis that lies a couple of kilometers from our hotel (Fitp Bay Resort) and just a few hundred meters from the Tunnel of Eupalinos – a feat of engineering from 600 BC. It’s a kilometer long tunnel hewn in the hill from both ends that met in the middle using the primitive measuring methods of the day. Pretty genial technique to get it to connect. Read more here.

As I quickly mentioned in my last post the tunnel was closed for maintenance but nothing was posted anywhere in internet that I could find to inform about the closure.

BILDER

Samos aiport and our hotel just to the left of the pond.

Samos aiport and our hotel just to the left of the pond.

The wee underground chapel

The wee underground chapel

Tiny chapel in the cave under the monastery

Tiny chapel in the cave under the monastery

View over Pythagorion

View over Pythagorion

Poppies outside the Monastery of Spillianis

Poppies outside the Monastery of Spillianis

"aars3" at the Monastery of Spillianis

“aars3″ at the Monastery of Spillianis

I had rented a small car for a couple of days with pick up at the airport. We walked there from our hotel as it was so close (no taxi this time) and headed off to the western part of the island passing through small villages such as Ireon and the nearby temple of Hera, Mili, Pyrgos and Ormos.

The village of Ormos on the south 8coast

The village of Ormos on the south coast

There we had a well earned morning coffee after an hour of driving :-) From there it was a climb of a couple of hundred meters on winding roads through Marathokampas, Kastania and Leka and a similiar elevation drop down to Karlovassi.

Forsythia on the hills near Kastania

Forsythia on the hills near Kastania

We made a short detour to Potami to hunt for a cache of the same name.

The view from the cache 'Potami'

The view from the cache Potami

A Greek salad for lunch

A Greek salad for lunch

My partner wanted to do some shopping in Karlovassi which is the second largest town on Samos but all the shops have siesta between 14:00 and 18:00 so I was luckily spared that task.

We took the main road back towards Pythagorion making a detour when we reached Chora to head north to Mytilini and our second cache of the day – Windmills of Mitilinii. This was a short multi where information on the windmills but no exact coordinates could be read off a map. They were not visible when I started walking up the path on the hill that I hoped they were on and only appear when I reached the summit as they were hidden away on the other side of the hill. The cache was found after a careful search. I didn’t feel like getting the walls falling on my head. They looked a little unstable.

BILDER

Two of the remaining windmill ruins at Mytilinii

Two of the remaining windmill ruins at Mytilinii

An unusal black flower inside the abandoned windmill at Mytinilinii

An unusal black flower inside the abandoned windmill at Mytinilinii

One of the windmills of Mytilinii

One of the windmills of Mytilinii

Our next day’s drive took us to Samos and there I couldn’t avoid spending a couple of hours in the shops. From there we drove on to Kokkari where we stopped for coffee.

The little village of Kokkari on the north coast

The little village of Kokkari on the north coast

Salvation came in the form of The forgotten Mining Cave which was found at the splendid little village of Ampelos. We had earlier driven up to another mountain village, Manolates. Our rental car struggled up the hills in first and second gear and on a couple of occasions felt as though it wouldn’t make it.

The forgotten Mining Cave was up a six hundred meter track from the village. I am used to tramping up and down hills in New Zealand in sandals so I had no problems but my partner had to stop before arriving at the cave and waterfall as the track became too difficult. Walking up a stream with a rope as support isn’t her idea of fun. I had seen pictures from the mine and have no problems with being underground but the water filled hole hallway in was a little hazard that I circumvented with care. I had failed to notify my partner that I was going into an adit as I would probably have got a red card! The cache was quickly located but my attempt to take a photo wasn’t too successful. I have rotated the photo to get the water back on a level keel.

The waterfall was pleasant but not spectacular. I really enjoyed the experience though as there was a little challenge involved. The challenge was too much for some earlier geocaching visitors who didn’t venture far enough into the mine to reach the cache but logged it as a find anyway. In my world a cache is not found if there is no signature in the log. Just think of all the effort I could save on the T5 caches though. “Know the cache is up that tree/cliff so I will log a find”. Hmmm.

The mine and waterfall are six hundred meters from here somewhere

The mine and waterfall are six hundred meters from here somewhere

Waterfall at the village of Ampelos

Waterfall at the village of Ampelos

Abandoned mine at Ampelos. A deep water filled hole to the left with the adit continuing on ahead.

Abandoned mine at Ampelos. A deep water filled hole to the left with the adit continuing on ahead.

Note the rope to help you walk up the stream... er path

Note the rope to help you walk up the stream… er path

After our couple of days driving round the small island we spent the remaining days in and around Pythagorion enjoying the sun and relaxing in the small cafes and on the beach.

Non-caching related activities

Non-caching related activities

Evening in the harbour at Pythagrion

Evening in the harbour at Pythagrion

One thing that struck me during our stay was the huge palette of colours that we were surrounded with, some of which are recreated in the photos in this posting.





Eupalinos tunnel

20 05 2015

This was a disappointment. There was no information online to say the tunnel was closed for repairs. 

  





New adventure

18 05 2015

After the trip to Rasbo I have just picked up caches on a casual basis including those on the mini trail JPT consisting of 23 caches just north of Sandviken and a few in a mini mystery circle just to the west of Sandviken with the name Dra åt korken where there are 18 caches and probably more to come. Most have been found at lunch times or directly after work.

But now it’s time for a break. Many of you will recognise the flag!

The flag of Greece

The flag of Greece

Apart from a brief transit visit in Athens in 1984 when Swissair stopped enroute from Zurich to Mumbai I haven’t visited Greece. After perusing travel catalogues covering charter trips to just about all of the 100 and something islands the choice landed on Samos. I don’t remember all the criteria but I think a good hotel, a nearby airport and some places of interest gave us the result. I intend to visit the Tunnel of Eupalinos which is a fascinating feat of engineering.

Oh, and a cache or two.

When I downloaded the pocket query today I found that there are eighteen caches on the island. I only need one to get a smiley for Greece. :-)

Samos with it's eighteen caches

Samos with it’s eighteen caches

More to follow. Now I have to pack and make sure to set my alarm clock for the unearthly hour of 2 am.





The Rasbo Circle

6 05 2015

I’m not sure when the idea turned up but an agreement was formed with a little group of geocachers to make a day trip to Uppsala with one goal in mind. Have FUN. Well actually it was also to Find 50 Mystery caches in a day. So who was this little group and which mysts are we talking about?

On a few previous occasions Ironhawk67, MadChicken and Slas together with me, ds8300, have made geocaching day trips to Uppsala, Sundsvall and other places in Sweden not too far away from our home base in Gävle. By taking the first initial of our geocaching nicknames in alphabetic order we were able to form “Team DIMS”. Maybe not the most flattering of names for the team but our combined brain power and strength is legend on the geocaching scene. Ahem.

So, a couple of weeks before the trip there was a lot of mental activity in four corners of Gävle and it was only when a couple of days remained that we started to share hints if they were needed. We try to solve our “own” mysts as far as possible which I think is fair. I know there are many geocachers who hang along with others who have solved the problems so that they can sign the log and get a smiley. We are all different in how we value our game.

After a couple of days of rain the sun broke out and we had great weather all day on your trip. We left Gävle at 8 am and arrived at The Rasbo Circle (Rasbo Ringen) which is a series of about 50 mysts to the North East of Uppsala.

This is what we started off the day with. Just a few finds in the centre of the Rasbo area.

This is what we started off the day with. Just a few finds in the centre of the Rasbo area.

As you can see there are a few smilies in the centre of the circle and these are caches that Team DIMS found on an earlier trip to the area. We reached the first cache Mikael just after 9 am. Our intention was to follow the circle in an anticlockwise direction and thus end up at Challenge – 50 Mystery på ett dygn. By 10 am we were at Staves på Kreta and were up to 21 finds which meant an average drive and find time of three minutes per cache. Nice going!

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen. Quite a few were located "above snow level"

A find on Rasbo Ringen. Quite a few were located “above snow level”

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

We continued along in this manner for another hour and decided that we needed to have a “fika”. We found a suitable place to park near Den gömda koordinaten by which time it was 11:08. Perfect.

Yes, we are still friends. This was the only seat we could find.

Yes, we are still friends. This was the only seat we could find.

We noted that this was our 41st find in two hours so we were still averaging a find every three minutes. Of course, having a twenty minute coffee break killed our average find rate after that. Most of the caches were micros or small but we did find a couple of interesting constructions. You can see a couple in the photos.

A somewhat different find on Rasbo Ringen.

A somewhat different find on Rasbo Ringen.

What have you got there Peter?

What have you got there Peter?

When we got to the top of the circle we made a detour down into the centre to grab some of the caches that had been released during an event in Rasbo 2012. Here we found a large traditional cache that needs maintenance.

A large cache in need of maintenance

A large cache in need of maintenance

A find in the center of Rasbo Ringen.

A find in the center of Rasbo Ringen.

It would be good to keep this one alive as large tradtional caches are not so common. Additionally, we found a fun multi close by and a couple of other traditionals and a field puzzle.

Our trip continued back out to the periphery of the circle and on to the final cache which was the challenge cache. There were a couple of DNF’s (Did Not Find) on the lower stretch of the circle due to road widening activities that had wiped out the caches and a third DNF as none of us were able to find the final X in the myst Var är X:en

This is what the map looked like at the end of the day.

This is what the map looked like at the end of the day.

Once we had finished the circle, 4 hours 45 minutes later, we headed into Uppsala for food and a quick stop to grab a couple of caches with many favourite points, namely Kvarngärdets Värmeverk and The Monark´s Right Hand. The former had 46 FP’s and the latter 400 FP’s! It’s tempting to post a spoiler picture but I won’t as it’s a really fun cache and a little lateral thinking is needed.

There are many caches in Uppsala but we decided to pay a visit to Gamla Uppsala. My last visit was in 2003 when I found 3 Kings Tombs. A couple in the team had never visited Gamla Uppsala before so they got the chance for some cultural exchange. We were disappointed that Ledtråd 4 had been temporarily disabled due to the nearby May 1st bonfire and couldn’t find the cache despite following the line generated by finding the other three clues.

Burial mounds and 10th century church at Gamla Uppsala

Burial mounds and 10th century church at Gamla Uppsala

Unusual flowers on the burial mounds at  Gamla Uppsala

Unusual flowers on the burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala

I collected a few TB’s and a geocoin during the day that I dropped off at the event Travel Bug Event held on May 5 in Gävle. Olleoljud and Dreamdharma were collecting TB’s to take with them to Italy on May 8.





Bletchley Park

27 04 2015

My trip to England was a busy one. I arrived late on Saturday evening so not a lot was done that evening, then Sunday was spent at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford with my brothers and nephews, after all, it was a “boy’s day out”. Monday was spent with team zelger caching in the area around Wokingham, Berkshire. See post JJEF circuits

Tuesday was a day split between visiting Bletchley Park, just outside Milton Keynes and a stroll around the nearby Caldecotte Lake to find a series of letterbox-hybrid caches. Bletchley Park houses the museum portraying the code-breaking activites performed there from the second world war to sometime during or after the cold war and the National Museum of Computing. As it was the need to break codes/ciphers that sparked off the quest by Alan Turing to build a complex electro-mechanical computing machine to handle vast numbers of ciphers – the Bombe. It can be considered to be the underlying platform for the development of the first computer in the world – Colossus by Tommy Flowers working for the General Post Office (GPO). Of course, there are many others claiming to have invented the first computer so I won’t push the point.

There was a multicache on the Bletchley Park site, (Station X)but as a cipher had to be cracked to get the information about where the cache was it was more like a mystery cache.

Station - X located in the grounds of Bletchley Park

Station – X located in the grounds of Bletchley Park

The tours were interesting and the guide who showed us round NMoC was very knowledgable and a great presenter.

An Enigma machine

An Enigma machine

Code or cipher breaking the hard way

Code or cipher breaking the hard way

A reproduction of the "Bombe" used to crack the Enigma cipher during WWII

A reproduction of the “Bombe” used to crack the Enigma cipher during WWII

Details of the lubrication system in the electromechanical "Bombe"

Details of the lubrication system in the electromechanical “Bombe”

Tunny machine - one of the early cacluating machines

Tunny machine – one of the early cacluating machines

"Colossus" - the first computer

“Colossus” – the first computer

Nontheless it was good, when the tour finished to get out into the wonderful spring weather and stroll around Caldecotte Lake which was the home to eleven letterbox hybrid caches. Most of them were just film canisters containing a stamp and a log sheet. After finding all the caches I have now found 36 letterbox-hybrids and zelger have found twenty three.

Caldecotte Lake

Caldecotte Lake

A notebook full of letterbox-hybrid stamps with half of team zelger looking on

A notebook full of letterbox-hybrid stamps with half of team zelger looking on

Smileys around Caldecotte Lake

Smileys around Caldecotte Lake

We were done caching around 6 pm and decided that we would eat on the way back to Wokingham at a pub located on the Grand Union Canal called The Three Locks. Before we ate we found our last cache of the day which was a nearby earthcache, making it my 112th earthcache find.

The Three Locks where we ate an excellent dinner

The Three Locks where we ate an excellent dinner





JJEF circuits

24 04 2015

Spring is here and a visit to England was on the cards. I was last there in April 2014 and discovered a number of highly creative caches close to where my brother lives in Berkshire, a county lying to the west of London. So once again team “zelger”, (my brother and his wife) and I went out into the nearby countryside to pick up som more JJEF caches.

We started off mid-morning on a bright and sunny day by following the small circuit trail Shurlock Stroll, where zelger had already visited the five caches in the series. They had a good chuckle watching me struggle with the first cache. When they did it there was no water in the stream. I had to hang over the water and not fall in. Three of the remaining caches had been “reboxed” so it was a new experience for them to find the caches again after their initial finds last year.

We took a clockwise walk around Shurlock Stroll starting at the question mark

We took a clockwise walk around Shurlock Stroll starting at the question mark

Part of the path with flowering hawthorn all over the place

Part of the path with flowering hawthorn all over the place

Wild primroses

Wild primroses

We decided to eat lunch before going on to Hogoak Lane and this where England beats Sweden every time. We ate a simple yet tasty lunch together with a glass of real ale sitting in the garden of the pub situated in Shurlock Row.

Lunch. I had eaten half before I decided to take the photo

Lunch. I had eaten half before I decided to take the photo

The pub in Shurlock Row

The pub in Shurlock Row

The caches on Hogoak Lane are spread over a walk of two or three kilomters of lovely undulating fields and woodland surroundings with good views of the countryside.

We made an anti-clockwise circuit of Hogoak Lane

We made an anti-clockwise circuit of Hogoak Lane

The woods were full of bluebells

The woods were full of bluebells


In addition to the caches on Hogoak Lane there were a few other caches by JJEF and other cachers on our route. Without identifying them individually here are a couple of examples.

A box with a fun locking solution

A box with a fun locking solution

Solve the code and open the lock

Solve the code and open the lock

You hid it where?

You hid it where?

Natural camoflague

Natural camoflague

I will replicate a couple of the boxes and place them on my Hemlingby Trail series but probably not using wood as it tends to swell and distort when exposed to weather over a long period. I have started to use marine plywood but have heard that there is some man-made decking material that is a better alternative.

The day after our stroll half of team zelger and I paid a trip to Bletchley Park, on which the film “The Imitation Game” was based.





How long to publish a cache?

14 04 2015

In order to celebrate having been a geocacher for ten years in 2013 I decided to publish two Challenge caches: “1 line D/T challenge ” and “3 line D/T challenge”. I had seen similar caches in New Zealand but nothing like them here.

However, due to the feedback from the Swedish reviewers which I guess was based on revised rules/guidelines from geocaching.com, I had to really water down the requirements and the cache that was published is in my own opinion rather trivial. In it’s original form it was much more of a challenge and worth finding. This is my cache and this is the original. See the difference!

Anyway, I placed two physical caches, one of which just sat there waiting for me to do something with it. The date it was placed you may ask? 2013-04-06! In other words over two years ago. There are’t a lot of interesting things to see at the spot it was hidden, just like so many other caches, so I guess that’s no big deal, but I wanted it to be different.

The cache, a bird box, now contains clues to three mystery caches and a fourth one will come later. Again, you won’t be enthralled, by where the caches are placed, but hopefully you will have fun finding them and if I may add, a little frustrated at times on the journey there. ;-) It only took me slightly more that two years to get them placed but I doubt if it will take that long before they are found.

This is the view you will get from the cache. You will walk this path a few times. :-)

This is the view you will get from the cache. You will walk this path a few times. :-)

I was on my way to the cache and was complaining to myself about dog owners that didn't clean up after their dogs, when the "poo" jumped away.

I was on my way to the cache and was complaining to myself about dog owners that didn’t clean up after their dogs, when the “poo” jumped away.








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