Online Christmas Party

Join us for an evening of seasonal fun on Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 8pm. There will be quizzes, games and hopefully a lot of laughs.
Dig out your Christmas jumper and any other fitting attire.
You will need a Christmas cracker, pen and paper and something to drink, preferably alcoholic!

To get you in the mood here’s a cracker joke from last year:

How does Jack Frost get to work? By icicles

Remember this?

Please confirm attendance so we can forward you a link to join the fun and frolics.

News & New Caches

Only one new cache this week and completes the Aberlleiniog Castle Trail.

GC9JWGW Aberlleiniog Castle Trail, The Castle by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T2.5

Online Christmas Party

As we cancelled Christmas Dinner denying us all of a chance to meet up before Christmas would anyone be interested in an online party similar to last years? Please let us know your views and any ideas.

Also, depending on how the present Covid situation develops, we are considering rescheduling Christmas Dinner for late January……. Please let us know if you are interested.

Contact us either through comments or by emailing us admin(at)9usualsuspects.uk

The Reach the Peak souvenir Challenge December

The new challenge starts on the 6th December. This month we are heading to Alaska to summit North America’s tallest peak, Denali. Prior to 2015 the mountain was called Mount McKinley after a 35 year campaign its name was officially changed to its local name, Denali. Cachers must collect 350 points to earn the Denali Basecamp souvenir and 6,190 points to earn the Denali Summit souvenir.
Here are the point values for our climb up Denali:

Found a Multi-Cache750
Found a cache with 10+ Favorite points700
Found an EarthCache600
Found a Mystery Cache550
Found a Letterbox Hybrid500
Found an Adventure Location425
Found it*350

*Log a Found it on any other non-Event cache type, excluding Webcam Caches.

The maximum number of points you can earn for any cache log is 750 points.

Oh Lastly our Covid tests came back negative……….

Malta

Looking for some winter sun? We can highly recommend Malta for a winter’s Geocaching break. The country of Malta consists of five limestone islands situated in the Mediterranean sea between Sicily and North Africa. Only the 3 largest islands are inhabited Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. The average annual temperature is around 23 °C during the day and 15.5 °C at night. In August temperatures can exceed 35 °C. We visited at the beginning of February when daytime temperatures were 18-21 °C and we were very lucky to have no rain. The islands at this time of year are very pretty with masses of wild flowers, later in the year it can be very hot, dry, and dusty.

Independence from Britain was granted in 1964 and in 1974 Malta became a republic joining the EU in 2004. The islands have had a succession of different rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and, lastly the British, all of which have left their influence in architecture and culture.

During the 2nd World War Malta was strategically a very important base for the Allied forces. The German and Italian air forces heavily bombed the islands causing devastating damage. In 1942 the George Cross was presented to the island of Malta in recognition of the bravery of the Maltese people. The beautiful catholic church at Mosta, Sanctuary Basilica of the assumption of our Lady, is famous for avoiding destruction when a German bomb fell through the roof of the dome during mass but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese people as a miracle. A replica of the bomb can be found in the church.

GC7WAWP Rotunda Multi by aliandmart Multi D2/T2

The main advantages to the British traveller is that English is widely spoken, being an official language with 88% of Maltese people speaking it and they also drive on the left. The majority of road signs are the same as found in the UK and all written road signage is in dual languages making it easy to explore the islands. There is an efficient public bus service on Malta and Gozo, it is another good way to get around as the buses go practically everywhere and are inexpensive. Red telephone and post boxes are scattered across the islands are another reminder of the British connection.

The beautiful Dingli Cliffs lay on the western coast and are the highest point of the islands around 250m above sea level. There is a tiny chapel perched on the very edge, dedicated to St Mary Madgalene, and a large radar system known as the observatory because of its distinctive “golf ball” shape. The tiny island of Filfla lays off the coast, its size was greatly reduced by the Royal Navy and Air Force using it for target practice. Not far from the cliffs is Misrah Ghar il-Kbir or informally known as Clapham Junction, an area of paired grooves carved into the limestone pavement presumed to be cart ruts. Here the oldest geocache in Malta can be found.

GCHEQ7 The Ring of Clapham Junction by lucentio (adopted by Gremxul) traditional D2.5/T2 4.1.2004

Nearby to the cart ruts is the natural depression of Għar il-Kbir, forming a cave complex of interconnecting caves, which was inhabited by people from Neolithic times till 1835.

Another historic site worth visiting is the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra they are the best preserved of Malta’s prehistoric sites. A visitor centre and permanent tentlike canopies have been erected over the complex to protect the temples from the elements. The temples are in solar alignment so at each of the equinoxes the sun shines on the furthest edge of a slab inside the temples.

GC7B8NZ Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim by Jovaluda Virtual D1/T2

Gozo

We recommend taking the ferry to Gozo, it takes just 20 minutes, the ferries are very frequent and cheap. The car ferry shuttles between Malta’s Ċirkewwa and Gozo’s Mġarr every 45 minutes from 6am to around 6pm and roughly every 1½ hours throughout the night. If travelling by vehicle you pay on your return leg, when leaving Mġarr, so there’s no need to buy a ticket in Ċirkewwa on the way out.
One of the highlights of our trip to Gozo was the salt pans and discovering this earthcache:

GC5MXE1 Salt Pans from Zebbug and Marsalforn by Hatamoto-Skyks Earthcache D1.5/T2

Useful Information

Currency is the Euro
Electricity is 230 Volts, 50Hz. Plug type G 3-pin plug as in the UK
Flight Time from Manchester 3 hours 25 minutes
Time Zone I hour ahead of UK

Christmas Dinner Cancelled

We are regrettably cancelling this years Christmas Dinner, GC9HRT5 . If you have seen Lon’s note on the cache page you will be aware that Moseley_Bach has tested positive for Covid and they are all currently self isolating. As we have been in contact with them we are also restricting contacts awaiting the results of a PCR test. With Covid cases extremely high and rising in this area we do not want to put attendees health at any unnecessary risk. We are really sorry about this, but everyone’s wellbeing comes first. Deposits will be refunded ASAP, we will try and reschedule in January.

Last Call for Christmas Dinner

GC9HRT5 Christmas Dinner, Nosh and Natter 43

If you are intending to be there and eating please could you log a “will attend” and let us have your menu choices. We have to let the pub have numbers and food orders on Monday 22nd. Thank You.

Date: Tuesday 30th November
Venue: Anglesey Arms, Harbour Front, Caernarfon LL55 1SW
Time: 7-9pm
Attire: Anything Christmas
Cost: £22.50 per head

Menu

Starters
Prawn Cocktail
Soup

Main Course
Traditional Roast Turkey
Vegetable Wellington

Dessert
Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Cheesecake

Daniel Niederhauser, Pfusi

Sadly we have to report the death of Daniel, a face many will recognise as he was a regular attendee at events across Europe. He lived in Switzerland but loved to travel and was very much a social geocacher attending 639 events.

Daniel had family connections with Criccieth and combined an annual visit to the UK for the UK Mega Events with a visit to his cousins. In August 2016 he hosted an event and it was here we learnt of his love of the area and especially Black Rock Sands.

GC6N81W Sharing Childhood Memories
“Here I stayed for my first time in life at the sea as a child and we had great times here. My brother an I liked to walk form Criccieth to the Black Rock. At low tide I was for us great fun to walk barefoot on the sand at the borderline of land and water. Every times when I am visiting my relatives in North Wales I will take the opportunity to do this walk. I have planned to do this walk on my stay this time too.”

International Geocaching Day where Daniels knowledge of flags gave his team an advantage

We would like to take this opportunity to send our condolences to Daniels friends and family, he will be missed.

New Caches

There has been just one new cache published this week and at the time of writing the FTF is still up for grabs!

GC9FHF3 A Fine Pair #1622 Llanwddyn (Lake Vyrynwy) by Mynyddwr Traditional D1/T1

We have had published two more events this week, please remember to log a “will attend” if you intend to attend as this helps us plan for catering etc.

GC8HK2F Community Celebration Event: Belated Halloween by Ann@Birdbrook 6.11.2021

GC9HE10 CITO Season 2 by 9 Usual Suspects 13.11.202
Please note this event has been brought forward a day and is now on the Saturday not the Sunday as previously advertised. By attending this event your efforts will be rewarded by CITO Season 2 Souvenir.

We have also received a tip off that Mossfamilymacc are going to publish the second part of their Llanbedrog series early next week. Will there be a race for the FTFs? Only time will tell!

New Caches

We have no new physical caches to report this week, but Event Season has begun, between now and New Year the local social geocaching scene is going to be very busy. Not only do we have Community Celebration Events, GIFF, CITO Season 2 to fit in but also this months N&N and of course Christmas Dinner.

For this years GIFF we are in Talysarn Community Centre, a bigger venue with plenty of parking but it is a lot more expensive to hire. 9US funds are not in a very healthy position so to try and alleviate this problem, as well as the raffle, we will be having a ‘Bring & Buy’ table. If you have any items that you wish to sell please bring them along, already priced, and any sales will be subject to a 10% 9 Usual Suspects Tax. There maybe some 3D printed containers…… For more details please contact us.

Confirmed Diary Dates
GC9G662 Aberystwyth: Meet on the Prom! by Rusty_Rustlers 17.10 2021 2.30-3.00pm
GC9H7A8 9 Usual Suspect – Nosh & Natter 42 by 9 Usual Suspects 26.10.2021 7.00-9.00pm
GC8ZDAZ Community Celebration Event / Halloween Special by martin&lindabryn 30.10.2021 6-11pm
GC9H8N8 GIFF Geocaching International Film Festival by 9 Usual Suspects 20.11.2021 2.15-4.30pm

Events to be published
All dates, venues and times of the following events to be confirmed on publication:
No Date Community Celebration Event by Moseley_Bach
6.11.2021 Community Celebration Event: Belated Halloween by Ann@Birdbrook
14.11.2021 CITO Season 2 by 9 Usual Suspects
30.11.2021 Christmas N&N by 9 Usual Suspects
31.12.2021 Community Celebration Event: New Years Eve by Naturesbyte

Coastal Watch, Ponta Delgada, Azores

One of the guns still in place from WW2

GC7ZR5T JOKER PDGT – COASTAL WATCH – P. Delgada CANONS by PALHOCOSMACHADOD D5/T4

This letterbox cache explores a WWII defence post high on Pico da Castanheira over looking the city of Ponta Delgada and its harbour. Portugal was neutral throughout the war but the Azores Islands laying in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 870 miles west of Lisbon and 1,200 miles southeast of Newfoundland, Canada were strategically very important to both sides.

The CO pointing out the importance of the guns siting in relation to the harbour

After meeting the cache owner, Luis, at an event we took up his kind offer for a guided tour of this fascinating place. The three guns are all still in situ and in remarkable condition seeing they have been in place since 1940 with no maintenance since 1969 when operations here ceased.

Into the tunnels

On the cache page there is a map of the underground tunnels and rooms, it is advisable to bring a copy, as well as studying the attributes. The condition of the tunnels is remarkable, no sign of damp and seeing they are open to all there is no vandalism or graffiti.

The doors lead to one of the gun emplacements

The hunt for the coordinates of the final hide guides you around the battery exploring the different rooms and tunnels. As with all military establishments your rank determined conditions and facilities, with the Battery Commanders having proper toilets!

A latrine for the lower ranks

The tunnels eventually lead to the underground observation post which would have been manned at all times, here there was a machine gun, only the concrete mount remains today. All defences of the battery were positioned for a seaward attack.

View of the sea and Ponta Delgada from the observation post.

This is another one of those places that we would never have known existed let alone visited if it had not been for Geocaching. Having Luis as a guide with his knowledge of the history of the fortifications added to our understanding of how it operated and its position strategically.

We certainly did!