Thursday, July 30, 2009

Velodrome

So what have we been doing?
Well we went to a Geocache event, this entailed finding the location, as it happened it was on an island, so Mrs Geocacher had to row us about 200 meters, as Mr Geocacher has never rowed a boat.
We met up with fellow cachers, grilled sausages, and swapped stories. A few of us took one of the boats to a near by island where there was a cache hidden. All in all it was a good time. Mrs Geocacher had the good fortune when it came time for us to leave that she did not have to row us back, as some others were leaving at the same time, so we let them do the honours.

On one of our latest cache hunts we were led to a Velodrome, had it not been for Geocaching we would never have known this place was even near to Tampere.

The Velodrome (No I said Velodrome Not Thunderdome, you wont find Tina Turner or Mel Gibson here)

Quiet high and steep banking

The things Mr Geocacher goes through in pursuit of the hunt (nope no Tina Turner or Mel Gibson under here either)

Not the kind of sign you expect to find in the woods

There has been much more going on, but nothing much to really report here.
We have a weekend of caching planned soon, so with any luck there should be plenty more to write about after that.
Of course you can always come back and see what else we have been doing in the meantime.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Saturday and Sunday

We did not get away to an early start, this was due to Mrs Geocacher attending a bloggers meeting.
When she was finished at the meet we decided to drive and visit her Mummy, and of course do a couple of caches on the way.
Well we went to the first location and quickly found the cache, just as we were about to leave a car stopped in front of us, I turned to Mrs Geocacher and said "I know what they are here for, the same thing as us", her reply was "how can you be so sure?", the answer was easy "the two very large navigators on the dashboard of the car are a bit of a give away don't you think?". well sure enough they were there for the same thing, so we had a short chat with them and continued on our way.
Next stop was to a cache we had tried to find on our last visit to this area, back at mid-summer, well once again we failed to find this cache, not because we are looking in the wrong location, but because it was NATSBOG (Not Able To Search Because Of Geomuggles), the cache is right by a big lake, and being a nice afternoon someone had docked their boat right by the location of the cache and were sunning themselves, so once again we will have to return to this cache to search it another day.
By the time we arrived at Geocaching Mummy's, Geocaching Mummy had already been to sauna, and it had almost gone out (this being a wood burning sauna) so there was Mr geocacher in front of the sauna stove blowing on a tiny little ember like crazy to get it hot enough to catch the logs alight and warm the sauna again for us, the ember grew in size and then flames started to lick the logs, yes success the sauna was alive once more, leaving it to warm we went and had some food and followed that by visiting the now re-warmed sauna.
After sauna we set up our mobile command center and Mrs Geocacher logged the finds for that day, the cache had also given up it's treasure of a TB (Travel Bug), we had exchanged one TB we had with us for this new TB.

The rest of the evening was spent with Geocaching Mummy, who was eager to show us her new hobby, collecting pin badges, before retiring for the night.

The following day we continued our hunt, taking Geocaching Mummy, who likes to join us when we visit with her (thus becoming a part-time member of our team).
All three of us set out in the car, we had chosen to return to yet another failed find in the area, this time better equipped for the terrain, this was a multi-cache, we had worked out all the previous parts and only had the final cache left to find, well this time we struck gold, and after some hunting and a lot of tripping and falling we found the cache.

The view from the parking area (I missed the picture of Mrs Geocacher and Geocaching Mummy picking and eating wild berries as soon as they emerged from the car)

Upon opening the cache we was greeted with the treasure, a geocoin and other exchangable's, among these was (believe it or not) a pin badge, so Geocaching Mummy got her own piece of treasure from this cache.

Geocaching Mummy with her own treasure from the cache

So we exchanged some other treasure for the pin badge and also exchanged a TB for the Geocoin.

Mrs Geocacher with the TB we exchanged for the Geocoin

This being done it was off to the next location. A really beautiful spot way out in the countryside.

Old mill (well it is, what do you want? long titles on everything?)

Even the birds have apartment buildings around here

Well we found the cache here, and yes another surprise the was a TB here as well.

I never knew the Simpson's were such football fans

So we exchanged TB's and later found that this new TB is trying to get to Plymouth in England, well we are hoping to go there ourselves soon, so we are really pleased with this find.
We stayed here a short time, looking around the museum and drinking coffee, before leaving back to Geocaching Mummy's.
After we dropped her off and had something to eat we left for our own home, and more caching on route.

Our first stop was to a recent addition to the caching pages, and as luck would have it almost right on the doorstep of Geocaching Mummy, and as a bonus it's a nano-cache.

Our first nano-cache

This is the first nano-cache find, although we have found other small caches these have been in the group of micro-caches.
Moving on from there, we journeyed onwards to the next location, arriving there to find what appeared to be a lizard guarding the area.

Beware! Guard Lizard

Although upon closer inspection it was found to be fake.
Continuing our journey we passed some more interesting views and sights,

Abandoned Farmhouse

including this old abandoned farmhouse.
Our last cache of the weekend was a four part multi-cache.
Well we completed the first two parts, but was unable to locate the third part, thankfully for us there were some other clues to the fourth and final location, so armed with this information we were able to complete the hunt and find the cache.

One of the churches we visited during this cache hunt

A close up of the interesting stone work on this church

We had tried to do this cache once before, and had got as far as hunting the first part, when the heavens opened and down came the rain like there was no tomorrow, needless to say we headed straight back to the car and went home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Updates

Well I had intended to update the blog on Monday, then again today, but it seems life had different plans for me.
First of all we got a notification of a part of a geo-puzzle we are following, so of course we had to go and do that, so there went Monday, then Tuesday (today) my PC decided that it was going to play up and I had to spend the evening fixing and
updating that.
So I am only going to post a short update for now.
Lets go back (way back, no further back than that)
lets go back to last Friday, as I had said we were getting ready for the weekend, well we found ourselves with some extra time, so we thought we would go and start our caching weekend, and visit a cache we had previously been too and been unlucky.
This time we were certain we knew exactly where the cache was, but alas we were wrong.
Although we was in the correct location and did eventu
aly find the cache.

No this is not some horrible lake monster, just Mr Geocacher on the hunt

So then we moved two other caches, where at one we was lucky and found a travel bug that we were totally unaware was there, also at this location Mr Geocacher decided to place his very wet and now useless socks in the waste bin, we were however successful at all three caches and started our weekend off well, returning home in time for our Friday evening sauna.

The sign says it all

Now for those of you who might not know about the great Finnish past time of sauna (pronounced sow (as in cow)-nah not saw-nah), this is where you strip off naked, and go to sit in a small room lined with wood.

The entrance to the sauna

Inside there is a stove with warm coals (the stove is heated by wood or like in our building electricity, and these days you can get the really fake infrared, there is also a smoke sauna, but this is a totally different experience, and one Mr Geocacher has yet to try).
You sit in this small room that is heated between 70 and 100 degrees C, and from time to time you throw water onto the warm coals, YES even in the electric sauna (I know, I know these Finns are crazy, but you just have to do it, it is great), although not in the fake infrared ones, now some Finns will slap themselves on the back with birch twigs, this we have both done of course (although not together), and find this is not for us.

The Hot room, notice the wooden benches where you can either sit or lay down and gently boil yourself

Now assuming you are boiled enough you are then supposed to run naked from the sauna and jump into the lake, this we do on occasion when we visit geocaching mummy (more about her in a later post), we just normally shower and go back to the apartment to enjoy our after sauna beer and cider.
This done we then eagerly awaited Saturday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In the meantime

Well not much to post about at the moment.
I thought I would give you an insight into what goes on when we are not outside searching the caches.
At these times you can find us in front of our PCs, we are either chatting with our friends online or updating our blogs, (Mrs Geocacher has a very active blog, that she writes in both Finnish and English), doing another of our hobbies (will talk more about this another time), and of course working out what Geocaches we are going to go and look for on our next safari.
So how do we choose them?
Well we have a few options here, location, distance, maybe part of a series we currently following, or just random.
With location it might be the case that we are already going somewhere for a visit, so we will look at what caches are available in that area, and make our list from that.
Depending how much time we have before normal life kicks in again determines the distance choices, the more time we have the greater the distance we are able to cover, we are trying to keep a few local caches in hand for when the winter arrives (a damn cold time here in Finland, so we don't intend to go very far unless it is to a warmer climate or the place has a sauna).
Some caches have multiple parts (a multi-cache), whilst others maybe a series (railway stations for example), and then some Geocoins may have a series as well, we are currently doing one Geocoin puzzle series, and one Multicache.
Also at these times I am loading more Caches into the navigator, so that we are able to cache on the go, they are setup in alerts, so as we drive along the navigator will alert us if there is a cache near by, just like they do with speed camera's, then we are able to decide if we wish to stop and have a hunt.
Lastly we try and work out some of the clue caches, these caches have no coordinate locations on the web pages, you are given clues and have to work out the coordinates from those. They can be extremely hard.

With that all said it is now time to go and get ready for the weekend, and with luck plenty more to write about and for you to read, come back soon and find out whats been going on.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Navigators

I thought I would talk a little about Navigators.
To go Geocaching you do not need a high range top of the line model, most models will do, of course some are better than others.
But at the end of the day price is an issue for most of us.
You can go with just your mobile phone, Trimble make a really good software for today's mobile phones, you do however need a phone with a built in GPS, or one with bluetooth and a small cheap bluetooth adaptor GPS.
Some handheld Navigators come with cache coordinates already inside (the most I have seen advertised is with 250,000 caches pre-installed).
Whilst other units are able to download direct from the internet, but at the end of the day all will allow you to input them manually, although time consuming, the reward of a fun time is worth the time.
So to sum up, when it comes to the cost of this hobby, it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want, there is a way to do this for every pocket.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Encounters with mother Nature and other scenic things

What have I got for you today?

Well we have not been out for a couple of days, work and real life coming into play, so I thought I would show you some more of the sights we have encountered on our travels so far.

This first set is of some interesting signs...I will of course translate them for those of you that do not understand Finnish.

What? "oh how dull" I hear you cry, "we can see signs anywhere".
Well maybe you can, but some of these signs are quiet old, and others are just unexpected, I will try and explain in the captions.

Sign reads "End of Public Road"

Although this sign may not seem that strange, it comes as a bit of a surprise when you are driving down a country road, and come to a lovely beauty spot with a lake and coffee shop, the road continues on over a lovely bridge, and "bam" on the other side of the bridge you see this sign


(Top) Summer Headlands Road
(Bottom) Jawbones

Now here you drive down Summer Headlands Road (there is another sign further down the road, but sadly we did not get a picture, that read "15 kmh whole island"), and you arrive on the little island of Jawbones, I really do not know how it got this name, and I am not sure I want to.
Interestingly although cars are limited to 15kmh there is a railway going across part of the island
, and I do not know if they have to stick to a slow speed limit. Trains used to stop here, as you will see in a later picture.
We found the locals of this island to be very pleasant and friendly, all smiles and waving, comes as another surprise, but very refreshing change.

Old Chalk mine
(although we feel it should have read "mosquito central")

We walked into this area and were greeted like the meals on wheels lady being greeted by the elderly, we were totally mobbed by the mosquito's.
We located the cache as fast as we could, Mrs Geocacher logging the find, as I waved my arms around like a demented windmill, trying to stop us from becoming an all you can eat buffet, and made our escape as quick as possible.

This next set are just a few of nice scenery and pretty places.

The old Railway Halt in Jawbones

Although no longer in use, as you can see the locals still keep it well maintained.

No real title here, just a pretty picture of an old pier with a wonderful view

Again no title, just a quaint cottage in the middle of nowhere

This believe it or not was mentioned in the cache description as a pointer to being on the right path

A rather lovely little shop, again in the middle of nowhere

Well this was the first, but not the last time we had to walk the plank to get to a cache, as you can see on this day we had the perfect weather to go hunting

Just one of the many graveyards we have visited whilst on our hunts for Geocaches

Monday, July 13, 2009

Close encounters of the legal kind

So we set off early in the morning (well early for us on a day off), around 09:30, our first stop was to a cache we had tried a few days earlier and had been a DNF (did not find), well once again we failed to find this cache, we believe it has fallen from it's location and is in need of repair from the cache owner.
Our next stop was to another failed attempt from a
few days earlier, it being rather close to the first cache, we parked and set off on "the hunt". Well we were around the location (this being close to a busy road, a burger fast food outlet and a petrol station), I looked up and spotted the local boys in blue (yes the police) sitting at the traffic lights and watching every move we made. we stopped what we were doing and I sent Mrs Geocacher back to the car to get a document we had downloaded from geocache.fi that explained what we were doing (a rather useful document that we had used once before, but that is another story for another time) as I was sure they were going to come and see what we were doing.
I was correct, we watched them drive around and we calmly waited by our car for them to drive up.
What ensued was probably the single most fun encounter with the police I have ever witnessed, they stopped and wound down the window, the policeman in the passenger seat asked what we
were doing (of course everything that was spoken was in Finnish, and I followed as best I could), my partner replied that we were geocaching, whilst offering him the document to read, and a big broad smile came over his face, he waved away the document and proceeded to ask more questions about geocaching, how long had it been going, was it worldwide, how did it work and many other things about it, all of these my girlfriend was happy to answer, the driver meanwhile sat next to him with what looked like the biggest question mark in the world hanging over his head, but also grinning wildly, well they wished us happy hunting and left us to get on with our days caching, and yes we never disclosed the location of the cache to them, after all they are still geomuggles (a term for non geocachers). So back to the hunt we went, soon locating the elusive cache.

An example of a small cache, including a TB (Travel Bug)
and exchangeables

After that we continued on our way and had one of the best days hunting thus far.
Whilst driving out to the next destination we of course discussed our latest close encounter of the legal kind, and came to the conclusion (bearing in mind their broad smiles and apparent pleasure to see us) that the police have a new game. The one had certainly heard about Geocaching, and we can only assume what went on or rather is going on back at the station.
Police log: spotted 2 geocachers to in Tampere, nice couple, had a chat and went on our way. TNLN, TFTG. (Took Nothing Left Nothing, Thanks For The Geocachers).

Below you will find some pictures and explanation's of what went on once we got to our main hunting area.

Mr Geocacher on the hunt

Whilst Mrs Geocacher eats wild berries (but how mean is this? it was Mrs Geocacher who found the cache at this location)

(Different location) I think the caption should read "I know it is around here somewhere"

Some geocachers put a lot of thought and effort into their themes (can you guess the theme of this one?)

As mentioned earlier there can be exchangeables in the caches, normally meant for children (but as you can see big children too can have fun with them, and Mrs Geocacher never misses a photo opportunity)

All however did not go smoothly and we suffered one injury during the day (it can be hard terrain, and only the strong can survive at times), yes Mrs Geocachers phone got damaged and needed emergency medical treatment, we helli lifted it out of the location and rushed it to an operating theatre, where with prompt attention it was fit enough for action once again, although it is now on the waiting list for a cover transplant.

Mrs Geocachers phone in recovery after receiving emergency medical treatment

So now it is time for me to wrap this up for today but don't forget to check back and see what else has been going on

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where to start?...I know Geocaching

So I have decided to start off with Geocaching.
But where to start with this?....How about at the beginning!
Well it was the dawn of time....What? this is too far back for you? *sigh* OK OK I will bring it more up to date, quick fast forward to the 21st Century (there is that better for you?)
At the beginning of the year we decided to purchase a navigator for the car (my girlfriend is not the worlds best at navigating, a good example of this is she still goes wrong even with the navigator), we looked around at the surprising amount of car navigators, from low budget to the really expensive ones (you know the ones, all whistles and bells just to tell you how to go from A to B), we settled on a low priced (but not bottom of the range) model from Garmin, the N√úVI 205 W.
Around three or four months later my girlfriend asked me if I had heard of Geocaching, I had to reply that I had not, she then proceeded to enlighten me, at this point I realised that I had heard of something similar when I was younger, this was and still is called Letterboxing, it appeared that they had brought this idea into the 21st Century.
We thought about this and talked it over and decided that this could be a new hobby for us to try, it being something we could do together, and with our new toy, the Navigator.
So my holiday was booked for June and we decided that we would take this time to "give it a go".
The day arrived and my girlfriend had a notebook with a few cache locations jotted down, these were not in our area but in Pori Finland (did I mention that I live in Finland? just don't expect me to write in Finnish as well as English, I don't want to make your eyes bleed with all the mistakes).
So she would tell me the coordinates and I would type them into the navigator, this worked well but was time consuming, but we had a good day out and found our first caches.


First days caching in Pori
(no she is not wearing a planter on her head)

So about one month on and we are getting more adept at this, I have sourced and installed new software on my computer so that I can now load cache information into the navigator faster and with descriptions and hints, these programs being GSAK with macro's, GPX_by_Cache_Type, garmin-nuvi-exportgpx, and SpoilerSyncTxfr, with these in place it has made our lower range navigator into a powerfull Geocaching tool.
So back to the caching, we are really enjoying it, we have been warned that it is addictive, this is true it is, but it has taken us out of the apartment and into the beautiful finnish countryside.
Even though my girlfriend is finnish, we have still found places that she had never thought excisted in the area.
Below you will find some examples:

Cache by the ruins of an Old Church

Coming back from a cache we found this lovely old tree

Upon closer inspection we find a hidden world. (smurfs or muumi?)

So thats the start, there will be more to follow. (Got a whole days caching today, and boy is there a story in that).

Friendly Notice

I and this blog have nothing to do with Ugg boots.
If you came here looking for their blog you are in the wrong place, I checked before I started this blog and they no-longer have an Ugg's world blog, they blog under a different name.
You are however very welcome to stay and read what I have to say :)

What am I doing???

O dear I said I would never have a blog!!!
So what happened?
Well as the saying goes "if you can't beat them, join them"
What are you in for?
Well I am not really sure just yet :) so come back soon and see what I have found for you.