29. Aug, 2017

and then 2/5s come along like buses!

Now filling the 2/5 square of my D/T grid is starting to be an obsession. Most of them are climbers but I spot one in Sudbury, Suffolk that's on water. There's a canoe hire place nearby but when they finally come back to me, they say "they don't go up there as it's not maintained but I'm welcome to have a go." Then as if by magic, two 2/5s are published on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation near Maldon. I know that there's a 3/4.5 canoe cache nearby so I'll have to formulate a plan.🤔

I had a brainwave!😨 I put out an appeal on Essex Geocachers FB page for someone with a canoe to help me out and Izybuzyfingers came back to me with an offer on help - tomorrow morning!🚣‍♀️

When I got to the meeting point, Izy had already inflated the canoe and we were set to go. We carried the canoe across the Beeleigh Weir bridge and onto the Beeleigh Lock pound where we found a suitable place to put the canoe in the water. Izy got in first and I intrepidly followed. Now this was the first time that I'd been in a canoe since I gained my 1* BCU certificate at Longridge Sea Scout Centre near Marlow in 1991! My, it felt good to be back.😎

We slowly paddled up stream and I was remembering long lost skills. We warily passed a pair of Mute Swans who were serenely swimming down towards the Lock. We had decided to tackle another canoe cache which was 500m away. This 3/4.5 trad named Chub Roll Minora had been set some time ago by our caching mate, NathanJHunt.👨‍🎤 I did hear that the cache was named after a mate of his; best not ask!

We followed the GPS to a place which I recognised from some log photos. It was at this point that we realised that we'd have to alight and search for the cache in the trees. We finally found the well hidden capsule and then did our best to get back into the canoe without a) getting it too muddy and b) not capsizing. Mission accomplished, we were on our way back down the river.

Chelmer Canoe Trail : willow, was the first cache on our journey and one of the 2/5s. Again Izy's GPSr was spot on and we guided ourselves through the leafy curtain into a weeping willow hiding the river bank. Izy spotted the cleverly place cache straight away and as I steadied the canoe, she grabbed the cache, sorted out the paperwork and replaced it in double quick time. We emerged from the heart of the willow into the sunshine and on down the river.

Chelmer Canoe Trail : underfoot was the next 2/5 and I guessed that it was underneath a bridge but I didn't realise that it was next to the Weir.😬 We edged gingerly up to the Weir panels but luckily I spotted the cache quickly. This time Izy steadied the canoe as I tried to beat her time at the last place but I think she won by a short head. So after months of looking, two 2/5s are in the bag and I'm now at the Sunset Strip stage. For you youngsters out there, 77 Sunset Strip was a 1950s television programme featuring a young cool Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. He turned up in the 1978 hit musical film "Grease" years later as the slimy compere at the hop, Vince Fontaine.

So we paddled our way down to where we had entered the river originally. The Mute Swans had staked a claim to that point so we entered the Lock chamber where we disembarked. After much congratulation, we carried the canoe back to the parking area to clean up and carry out deflation. We couldn't deflate our spirits though!

Thank you so much, Izy for helping me get these three caches.👍🏻 Guess what! I'm going to have to buy myself a canoe.😉

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