"Mongolia is kind of close, right?" Story about an attempt to ski everywhere in the world where there's snow. And in some places where there isn't. On and off-piste skiing on all continents, skiing into craters of live volcanoes, caving, climbing, photography, and travel.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Eight days inside a shopping mall. Enough! The question for the ninth day though was if I could find something interesting. Are there any caves in Singapore? There was scant information in the Internet, but it seemed like there could be beach caves on the Sentosa island, if we only could find low enough tide moment to reach them.
Or be able to reach the place, among all the fenced-off areas and luxury hotels on Sentosa.
Eight days inside the same hotel-shopping-mall-conference center complex? I had not left the building except once to cross the road for a restaurant and a second time to walk to another one few blocks away.
We headed off towards the beach, crossed the grassy area where a wedding ceremony was being setup, and found our beach. Cliffs surround the western tip of the Sentosa island, an area that isn't really developed except for the museum relating to the fortifications from the second world war. It was easy to descend to the beach on a rocky slope. And there was plenty of space between the cliff and the sea. The tide was at its lowest point I guess during the whole week.
But we still didn't know what we'd find. There weren't too many pictures of this place, and no clear documentation what caves there might be. Only a rumour that one of the caves should have a shrine. If we found the right ones.
We quickly found the first cave, which also turned out to be the best one. It starts under a overhanging part of the cliff, with roots and branches of trees hanging above our heads. A small crack that is at the beginning wide enough that you can just walk in. But then the going gets tougher. You have to crawl in, on your side and squeeze into the innards of the cave. Somehow that made the cave special. Not a mere walk-in, but something enclosed, something you have to work for. Inside the cave gets again larger, and continues overall I guess 6-7 meters. There's enough space to sit up, turn around, and there's even a side tunnel to the left. The floor is made up of smooth sand, with an occasional patch of garbage or seaweed brought in by the high tides. And a couple of neat holes in the sand, wondering what animal is lurking in them...
Other caves are not as big, but are all interesting. A short tunnel that leads to a large rectangular room filled with empty plastic bottles. Sigh. If you've spent any time in the shores of world's oceans, you'll know that even the most remote beaches are full of plastic junk.
Then there was the crack that ended up in a nicely greenish rock. And a big, odd triangular cliff form with a two-meter wide deep canyon behind it before the cliff.
No shrine that we could see.
Here's a list of the caves and their coordinates:
- Cave 1 is the biggest cave, also first as you walk from the Shangri-La resort: N 1.25764763° E 103.80857746°
- Cave 2 is to the left of the big cave: N 1.25759341° E 103.80851340°
- Cave 3 is a low-lying rectangular slot going directly forward into the cliff. This cave gets very narrow but continues for several meters: N 1.25775910° E 103.80845944°
- Cave 4 is to the left of cave 3, a crack that goes sideways into the rock. This cave has green rock at the end of the cave: N 1.25775330° E 103.80838261°
- Cave 5 is group of six caves: a tunnel that leads to a big room full of empty bottles, another smaller hole leading to the insides of the cliff, a hole that you can crawl through to the other side of a part of a cliff, and several narrow cracks. One of narrow cracks has a motorcycle helmet stuck in it: N 1.25865848° E 103.80745343°
- Cave 6 has a partially dirt roof, and sits next to the easternmost military tower: N 1.25928590° E 103.80681097°
- Cave 7 starts out with partially man-made front wall, but splits then into two natural tunnels with nice sand floor. This cave is next to the westernmost military tower. N 1.25982392° E 103.80675164°
- Triangle stone in front of the cliff: N 1.25841976° E 103.80765166°
More pictures, first from our after caving at the Shangri-La:
More pictures, first from our after caving at the Shangri-La:
Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Tero Kivinen, Jari Arkko, Paul Wouters and Yu Cheng. All rights reserved. The song "Time Passing By" by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
This blog article has also been published at TGR. Tämä blogiartikkeli on julkaistu myös suomeksi Relaassa. Our exploration was inspired by this and this article about the Sentosa caves.
No swim for you
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Swissotel Singapore Sauna... Closed WTF?
I arrived... and needed a sauna. Or at least an excuse to completing that document. Actually, I really needed a sauna to wash off travel and to warm me up from the freezing aircon climate.
So I went to the sauna at Swissotel the Stamford, Singapore. The spa area, Willow Stream, is incidentally on the linked, co-operating Fairmont side.
Unfortunately, the proper sauna was closed. I was able to visit the steam room and hot pool though, but even they will be closed for almost a week. Grr.
Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. More sauna stories at Saunablogger.cool.
Marinated Leather Jacket
Mmm... should have ordered this.
Photo (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. More Planetskier stories can be found Planetskier.net.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Bunkers in Kirkkonummi City
Today's exercise was to visit the Jolkby and Lindal bunkers near Kirkkonummi center. The designation "Command Bunker" promised much, but unfortunately, we could not get in. Digging might help, but while the tunnel started promisingly, it ended in dirt and a big stone. But we were able to enter the one in Lindal!
The command bunker is massive. I measured 11 by 12 meters, looking at the air ducts, entrance holes, and gun opening. And, I think this is the type that is two stories, so we're talking about 200 square meters of bunker space... quite possibly never visited after 1956. It would be interesting to dig the tunnel through and see what's inside. Scary perhaps.
But I actually wonder about the "command bunker" designation. Everything we've seen points to a ZIF-25 type bunker, similar to the one we saw in Degerby and in Masala. There's certainly a gun hole. So how come this would be a "command" bunker? But perhaps there was merely some communications equipment somewhere.
All in all, would be fun to get to explore what's inside. The bunker looks intact, but of course we don't know if the insides have been blow, it is possible. So far we have not found a single ZIF-25 or large bunker intact.
We also found two dugouts north of the command bunker. They have not been marked as parenthesis time remnants, but... we couldn't figure out what else they could be, and they would be in the right place for that too. In one dugout there was a long metal sheet, and in the other one an old style car. Later pieces of garbage, or from Soviet occupation times?
We found a children's playground war trench next to the bunker as well! Maybe the local farm kids? Anyway, well constructed trench... a bit smaller than the command bunker.
It was also quite funny that in the Lindal bunker there were Karjala beer cans. Left there later, but the concept of the Soviet army liking Karjala was interesting, for they did like Karjala so much that they annexed the entire region of Karjala.
The Lindal bunker was right next to plenty of houses, so the bunker's main entrance had been blocked, and gun and top exit holes had been covered with wooden lids. Movable, but safe at least against accidentally falling into these holes. I should say that I hit my knee on a sharp end of an invisible piece of rebar; this place -- like abandoned bunkers in general -- is not safe. Take care.
Kids: WARNING: Do NOT enter this bunker. Or any other bunkers. Same for adults.
Coordinates, the Jolkby command bunker: N 60.12613714° E 24.45087150°, the children's playground trench N 60.12635739° E 24.45093882° and the two trenches: N 60.12626913° E 24.45253595° and N 60.12619190° E 24.45248701°. The Lindal bunker is at N 60.13219612° E 24.43210994°.
Most of the pictures in this blog are by Jarmo; he and Eino were on the trip.
Pictures from the command bunker:
Children's playground trench:
Lindal bunker, outside:
Lindal bunker, inside:
This blog article is also available on TGR. Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jarmo Ruuth and Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Music by Ethan Meixsell "Collision", available for free for use in videos at https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music.
Olli and I went again to the Kalasberget bunker, to take some video and drone footage. It continues to be an amazing-looking bunker in the middle of the forest. Olli took some great pictures, and we got decent drone footage, too. The drone took some hits though.
I hit a brick wall while flying towards the bunker though from an abandoned building, and also hit the side of the bunker's gun while trying to exit. The smart do-not-collide logic of the drone interfered with manual guidance. Will have to see how to turn the collision avoidance off.
Now it refused my manual commands, while accidentally drifting towards obstacles, and unable to lift itself at its drifted position cleanly. Then I hit the wrong button and the rotors clipped the side of the exit hole a bit.
Need more training to fly this thing. And better understanding of what modes to use.
The gun hole:
Bunker as seen from a nearby abandoned building:
Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Olli Arkko. All rights reserved. Music by Ethan Meixsell "In the Shadows", available for free for use in videos at https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music. This article is also available on TGR. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.
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