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DatCrazyMongoose

Al Dhafra UAE - no caches?

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Hello all!

 

I just arrived in the UAE a week ago (Al Dhafra AB). I'm stuck on the base for a while, but was planning some caching while here. However, I was briefed that GPSrs are illegal here. Is this the case? I don't have one, save my iPhone, but it seems odd to see all the caches in Abu Dhabi and the surrounding area if they are illegal. I would really like to do some local caching when I get an opportunity to leave the base, but unfamiliarity with the land and this being my first time in an Arab culture, I'm not sure if I want to risk it.

 

Also, there are no caches on the USAF portion of Al Dhafra AB, which I found odd. There are plenty on Al Udeid, Qatar (which I just found while there). I was wondering if any locals had heard why that was. Perhaps a reviewer could chime in. I understand that Al Dhafra Air Base as a whole is Emirate controlled, but surely we could hook up US military personnel with a couple caches to keep them busy while here.

 

Like I said, I'm looking forward to getting out and caching in Abu Dhabi (maybe even Dubai if I get a chance). Any tips/advice would be more than welcome. Also, if you have any "must find" caches, I would like that as well. Thanks!

 

'Goose

Edited by DatCrazyMongoose

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Hi goose

GPS is legal in teh UAE - you can buy them everywhere. There are lots of city based caches esp in Abu Dhabi. Hire a car/take a taxi and you should find a number fairly quickly. For me, the ones out of towns are better. For most of these you'll need a 4x4. Lots in the deserts and mountains on the east side. If your into scuba there's "The Wreck" - still unfound after two years.

Have fun

DT.

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Hi Goose

 

If you are planning some time off base in abu dhabi - drop me an email from my GS profile.

 

Perhaps we can hook up for a bit? Depends on work schedules.

 

Cheers]

CH

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Thanks, all, for the information. I might just take you up on the offer of being my geobuddy. I will be setting up a trip in the next couple of weeks and will let you know. I checked out The Wreck and decided I won't be attempting that one! One of my dreams is to get SCUBA certified, and I might get to on this trip, but doing that cache would be out of the question. There are only a few places I can officially visit during my stay here, so I'll put together a list and map them out. Then I'll find the caches near the locations and plan a trip.

 

Again, thanks for the help.

 

'Goose

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One other thing...who is the local reviewer? I'd like to contact them about placing some caches on the USAF section of Al Dhafra. Hopefully they won't have a problem with it.

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One other thing...who is the local reviewer? I'd like to contact them about placing some caches on the USAF section of Al Dhafra. Hopefully they won't have a problem with it.

 

The "local" reviewer is normally either erik88l-r or Crow T Robot.

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One other thing...who is the local reviewer? I'd like to contact them about placing some caches on the USAF section of Al Dhafra. Hopefully they won't have a problem with it.

 

The "local" reviewer is normally either erik88l-r or Crow T Robot.

 

Yep - no local reviewer - both of these guys are out of USA.

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To place them on the Non'r side you will need to get the blessing of the CoC.

 

It is possible to arrange geocaching trips with your CoC also. I have taken several guys out on caching runs but you need to abide by the rules the you are forced to perform under while at this location.

 

I will send you my contact info on a sidebar...

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I'm going out with a couple friends tomorrow afternoon/night to do some caching in Abu Dhabi. We're going to shop at the Purple Diamond first, then hit a couple caches along Corniche Rd, grab a couple at the Marina Mall, shop there, then hit a couple along the south side of the city on the way back. Wish me luck!

 

'Goose

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I'm going out with a couple friends tomorrow afternoon/night to do some caching in Abu Dhabi. We're going to shop at the Purple Diamond first, then hit a couple caches along Corniche Rd, grab a couple at the Marina Mall, shop there, then hit a couple along the south side of the city on the way back. Wish me luck!

 

'Goose

 

Enjoy

 

Abu Dhabi is good weather at the moment. Remeber the corniche will be closed most of today for the International triathlon - so may be difficult. Look at some alternatives. A few good ones just of of Abu Dhabi central and near the airport too - no road closures out there.

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Yep, we heard about the triathlon on the radio on our way into town. We ended up taking the southern route into town. Hit Zalamat Garden, then Marina Mall (couldn't go to Heritage Village due to triathlon), then we went to the gold souk where I got a beautiful Breitling-ish watch for pennies. Ate at the Lebanese Flower. All-in-all a really fun day!

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Sorry to chime in late as the "local reviewer".

 

We discourage caches on base in countries that have civilian geocachers, as they would be unable to access them. It's not a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would be in the UAE.

 

We realize there are situations in which a soldier would not be allowed to leave base to get to caches outside the fence that civilians can get too, but that seems to be pretty rare.

 

For all caches on base you would have to get the permission of base security or the commanding officer. US Air Force and Joint Command bases in Iraq currently do not allow geocaches for security reasons. It is possible that Air Force bases in other middle eastern countries may also have bans.

 

With civilian geocachers out there encouraging military geocachers to go out and join them I'd say "go for it, and forgo hiding anything on base".

 

~erik~

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Sorry to chime in late as the "local reviewer".

 

We discourage caches on base in countries that have civilian geocachers, as they would be unable to access them. It's not a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would be in the UAE.

 

We realize there are situations in which a soldier would not be allowed to leave base to get to caches outside the fence that civilians can get too, but that seems to be pretty rare.

 

For all caches on base you would have to get the permission of base security or the commanding officer. US Air Force and Joint Command bases in Iraq currently do not allow geocaches for security reasons. It is possible that Air Force bases in other middle eastern countries may also have bans.

 

With civilian geocachers out there encouraging military geocachers to go out and join them I'd say "go for it, and forgo hiding anything on base".

 

~erik~

Thanks Erik

 

Yes, i can understand the need for millitary caches where personnel are not allowed off base - or no civillians cache.

 

But here in the UAE - we'd welcome cachers to come into our space - and even organise an event if we have enouh notice.

 

I know thewy do that across the water in Qatar too - even though base caches still occur.

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Sorry to chime in late as the "local reviewer".

 

We discourage caches on base in countries that have civilian geocachers, as they would be unable to access them. It's not a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would be in the UAE.

 

We realize there are situations in which a soldier would not be allowed to leave base to get to caches outside the fence that civilians can get too, but that seems to be pretty rare.

 

For all caches on base you would have to get the permission of base security or the commanding officer. US Air Force and Joint Command bases in Iraq currently do not allow geocaches for security reasons. It is possible that Air Force bases in other middle eastern countries may also have bans.

 

With civilian geocachers out there encouraging military geocachers to go out and join them I'd say "go for it, and forgo hiding anything on base".

 

~erik~

 

Erik - thanks for the comments here and I wholeheartedly support your statement of discouraging caches on restricted military bases - but I am now totally confused. For a while now we, in Qatar, have been trying to get, via yourself, to have the caches in the 2 US bases here to be classified as "non-Qatar" caches [as in some other country's military bases] or not allowed at all. I support your statement that it is very rare that mil pers will not be able to get off base. Here the city teams with mil pers doing the tourist thing every day. [You can see them a mile off BTW!! :wub: ]

 

That said, we do not begrudge them caches on base, but now they can "claim" a cache in a country that they have never officially visited [no stamp in the passport = not having visited that country] and we, the locals, are denied being able to find the caches due to the restricted access to the bases. Caches here are extremely rare, especially new ones, and we get all excited when we see a new one published as that means we can go look for it over the weekend. Many caches here require quite a bit of planning due to the terrain that needs to be covered. Many require more than 1 vehicle to get to safely.

 

In the last month no less than 12 caches have been published in the 1 US base - the majority published by your good self. In total we have 30 out of a total of only 219 caches in Qatar [14%] located in restricted military area. I wonder what the reaction would be if 14% of all caches in each state in the US were in restricted areas? I haven't bothered to calculate how many of the Qatari caches I have taken the effort to hide in order to promote the wonderful sport of geocaching, but I am sure that at least 80% of my 150 odd cache hides are in Qatar. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hiding caches just a s much as I do finding them - perhaps more so as I get to read every log, note, DNF, etc and that is tremendously satisfying.

 

So, in summary, it would be great to see TPTB creating a "country" dedicated to the serving mil pers around the world where those caches can be published and hunted by the mil pers who happen to be in restricted location and then the local cachers, who are passionate about their own caches can hunt the caches in their own countries. Those who then visit our country will be welcome to find the rest of the Qatari caches whilst thy are in the country.

 

I am regularly contacted by mil pers who want to cache in Qatar and I personally will pick them up at the base - or any where else they choose - and take them around the country caching. I have met some wonderful people this way and will continue meeting them and taking them around. Incidentally, many of them also share the sentiments of us Qatari caches.

 

I look forward to some views on this.

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cincol, let me clarify a few military things for you.

 

First, the idea that we did not officially visit a country unless we get our passport stamped or go off-base it quite unfair. Most countries we visit do not require passports, as agreements have been pre-coordinated with the State Department. Most of our overseas bases are not considered U.S. soil. Again, via political agreements, we are allowed to stay for a set time, then a new agreement must be reached to extend our "lease". When I step off that plane onto the ground in a country I have never been in before, I get a rush. Whether I go off-base or get my passport stamped is irrelevant.

 

Second, a lot of our travels involve the "hurry up and wait" principle. Any military person will know what this is. For example, on my way into UAE, a plane dropped me off at Al Udeid Air Base to wait for my next flight. I wasn't allowed to leave the base. I did have a few hours of free time, so I went and grabbed some caches on the base. It means the world to me to have that show up on my CacheStats map. Yes, there are a lot of military who will stay on that base for months and have a chance to go downtown Doha, but there are just as many that only stop there to wait for their next ride. The same is true for UAE (Al Dhafra Air Base). I'm lucky enough to be able to get off-base...many are not. I would like to place a cache here for those people to be able to say "I found a cache in the UAE!"

 

Finally, I don't agree with your assumption that you are entitled to find every cache that is placed in your area. What if you can't find virtual caches because you don't have anyone to take a webcam screen shot of you? How about caches requiring SCUBA gear? Or a boat? Or rock-climbing gear? Not everyone will be able to find every cache. I feel for your situation, but us military folks feel the same way looking back at you through the fence.

 

I hope I was able to give you a better sense of where we are coming from as a military community. It's exciting finding caches in a new country, even if it's in a restricted area. It's even more exciting to be able to travel off-base and find one in the local community...when and if we get the chance.

 

'Goose

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'Goose - with all due respect I think you might have missed my point totally. The reviewer's post needs to be read in conjunction with mine in order to put it all into perspective.

 

For the record I have over 15 years of active military service [army] behind me.

 

Nowhere did I say the we, as local cachers, are "entitled to find every cache that is placed" in our area.

 

Next time you are in Doha give me a shout and I will take to to some REAL caches in Qatar as I have done for a number of your fellow military colleagues in the past.

 

Happy aching and stay safe.

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cincol,

 

As I mentioned before, I will not be able to get off-base in Qatar, just like thousands of others like me. That is why I think we should allow caches on deployed bases. Period. I am disappointed that a vet wouldn't get that. Sorry.

 

'Goose

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'Goose - a pity that we won't be able to sit and continue this debate over a few cold ones!

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'Goose - a pity that we won't be able to sit and continue this debate over a few cold ones!

I hear that! It's a pity we're treated like children. They tell me I have to wear a collared shirt off-base so I blend in (HA!), but when I get off-base, the locals are wearing everything from robes to t-shirt and shorts. It's all about control. Groundspeak needs a bit of control as well, which is why I understand the no military base guideline. But in a deployed environment, throw us a bone.

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