Saturday, August 28, 2010

Geocache Maintenance

I recently accompanied a buddy of mine while he found some of his first geocaches.  One of our stops was at the Agena Castle ruins in Uruma.  I have previously found this cache, so I figured it would be easy to steer my buddy in the right direction.  We found the cache quickly enough, but we also discovered that the lid was cracked and the cache was full of water.  The contents were soaked, and the logbook was well on its way to an oatmeal-like consistency.

I stopped by this cache this morning and replaced it with a new container and logbook.  I even threw in some swag items.  The cache owner is no longer here on Okianwa, but the cache has not been adopted by anyone.  This is too good of a spot to let the cache get archived, so I decided to lend a quick hand.  Here's a few pictures:

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Okinawan Stuff

As my time on the island of Okinawa goes by, I have to force myself to remember that the quirky little things that I see every day are considered oddities by the folks back home.  Here's a few items from a trip to "American Village," in the Chatan/Hamby area.  

The cars here all seem to have odd names.  Even some models that we have in The States have different names here.  For example, what we know as a Toyota 4Runner in America is a Hilux Surf over here.  What on earth is a Voxy?  

Here's part of my dinner from an Okinawan buffet.  Have you ever had corn on your pizza?  It was good, but it's not like the pizza we grow accustomed to in America.  The meat on a stick is called Yakitori. The little dumpling-like thing is called gyoza.  The salad dressing was a soy-based affair and it was pretty good.

This is part of American Village.  The name is a bit of a misnomer, since there were far more locals in this area than Gaijin.  There are a bunch of little shops, restaurants, and the Dragon Palace (games, slot machines, and other entertainment).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Island Hopping Campaign

I went on a leisurely drive to a couple of the nearby islands today.  My wife and kids joined me on an afternoon trip to Henza Island, Hamahiga Island, and Ikei Island (pronounced eee-kay).  I was three for five on geocaches today, and that's just fine; I had fun searching. You can click on any of the pictures below for larger versions.

We crossed the bridge to Henza Island, and stopped at a park on the causeway, where I did not find (DNF'd) the cache there.  I have been to this geocache three times now, and just can't seem to come up with it.  Some caches are easy, and some are not.  Next, we continued across the causeway to Henza Island, and made the turnoff toward Hamahiga Island.

There's a memorial on Hamahiga Island to Colonel K.H. Shelly, and I never would have found it without the hobby of Geocaching to guide me there.  My daughter and I made the quick find, I picked up a geocoin, and off we went on our tour of these outlying islands.

Next, we crossed back to Henza Island, and stopped at a marina and park there.  This was a neat little park, and appeared to be a bit under-used.  The cache container was a pelican case, which I think are perfect for this hobby (water-tight year 'round), and it was an easy find.  Off to Ikei Island!

We wound our way through the cliffs and ravines of the islands and stopped just after Ikei Beach.  We walked a jungle trail to a small, secluded beach that seems to be frequented by mostly locals.  I made quick work of the cache there, and then joined my wife and kids for a walk along the beach.  We picked up a few shells and "sea glass," and then got back in our van for to head toward an obscure little park.

In the middle of a farmer's field is a little grove that shelters an ancient (300 B.C.) ruin of an Okinawan village.  Some of the huts have been renovated, and the site would be overlooked by most Gaijin if it were not for Geocaching.  I have been to this site once before, and I had a repeat of that visit today.  I enjoyed going to the little park, but I couldn't find the geocache.  I think it may have been swiped, since there isn't much at the published coordinates to search through.  There's also a string of DNFs before my logged visit.  Bummer; this was a great spot for a cache. 

Overall, today was a fun day, and I'm glad I got to share it with my family.