A Three Island Tour
by, 06-07-2011 at 11:59 AM (8156 Views)
I spend seven days a week doing something relating to flightsimming...that is what it takes to keep this web site going. But I also have many other interests, the problem being finding time to devote to them. One partial solution is to try and combine activities and thus the "Three Island Tour" came about.
No surprise, I like to fly real planes and do it when I can. With limited time finding interesting destinations not too far away is something I'm always looking for. Another activity I enjoy is "geocaching" (see www.geocaching.com), an outdoor activity that is sort of a nerdy, high tech version of treasure hunting. People hide boxes like this:
and give others information on finding them. Sometimes it's as simple as navigating using your GPS to a set of lat/long coordinates, other times it can be more involved. Much like flightsimmers, geocachers can be very creative and some hides are quite extraordinary.
So, the goal was to visit caches that were within walking distance of airports that I could fly into. I'd never found a cache in New York so I thought there might be something suitable on Long Island and sure enough there was, near Montauk Point (KMTP) -- island #1. Nearby I noticed that Fishers Island also now had a cache. Fishers is almost entirely private so there's little reason to go there unless you own property, but it does have a nice little airport so I added this as another destination (0B8) -- island #2. Also nearby is Block Island, part of Rhode Island (does that make it a double island?) and there were also caches within reach of its little airport (KBID) --island #3. So plans were made and it was just a matter of finding some suitable weather, something that has been in short supply this year!
So finally on May 31 the weather cooperated and I was off. I passed over Fishers Island on the way to Montauk Point:
You can just see the little airport at the far end, with a pair of runways, 2300 and 1700 feet, and the lighthouse off the coast which I passed when coming back to land.
But Montauk Point was the first destination and was just past Fishers. I landed right over the harbor, parked and set off caching! The first cache was on the beach just a quarter mile from the airport and was hidden in what looked like a birdhouse. Here's the view from that cache site:
Nice place, Montauk! Another cache was 3/4 miles down the road on another beach and I found that one too. Good start! So back in the plane and over to Fishers. Fishers Island airport is not exactly busy...there were zero planes on the ramp as I approached but wouldn't you know, a Cessna came in right behind me. This cache was at the nearby ferry landing, hidden in a pay phone. Caches are quite often right out in the open, but unnoticed by most people. I found it quickly, enjoyed a bit more walking around and then headed back to the plane where I took this photo, looking out towards the lighthouse:
Time for island #3 so off to KBID, only 20 miiles away. Block Island is much busier, with regular small commuter planes coming in from the mainland and lots of GA traffic. Still, no problem getting in and parking.
The cache was about half a mile away but this time I struck out, having to log the dreaded DNF (did not find). Oh well, 3 out of 4 isn't too bad.
It was still only mid-afternoon though. Being a good pilot I had a "plan B" in case the islands did not work out and that was to head to Cape Cod and do some caches near Chatham (KCQX) so with plenty of time available I decided to head there too. A rail trail starts right at the airport and there are a number of caches around. I struck out again on the first one but continued on and found the next and decided to end the day there, with a successful cache in the log.
On the way back I home I flew the entire length of the Cape. What a great day to be out flying and having a reason to land at each of these little airports made it that much better.
So, that's my story of combining hobbies. I hope it will inspire others to do something similar that combines interests and activities.