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Snake Island

A cache by Galejnik Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 12/05/2013
Difficulty:
5 out of 5
Terrain:
5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:


Snake Island


A cache for brave and snake-fearless geocachers! The owner of this cache doesn’t count herself into this category of geocachers, however her desire to present this unique piece of Macedonian land (and wisely chosen the right time for visiting this island) helped her to accomplish the task successfully !


On the way to the Snake Island



Snake island is the other name of Golem Grad, meaning Big Fortress, the only island in the Republic of Macedonia. It is located in Lake Prespa, a few kilometers from Greek and Albanian territory. The Snake Island, or Golem Grad, is home to several ancient ruins from Roman, Neolithic, and Hellenic times, and six churches. Apart from the preserved church of St. Peter, the attention is drawn by the medieval church dedicated to St. Demetrius, as well as the early Christian basilica from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century, where remnants of a floor mosaic have been found.



The Snake island has an area of 20 hectares and is about 600 meters long and 350 meters wide.The island is currently uninhabited and has been so since the mid-20th century, when the small monastic community left the island.



Beside the importance as a historical and religious place, this island attracts biologist and nature lovers because its unique natural wealth.


Trails on the Snake Island



This island is home to many endemic plants. The most important plant species is Juniperus excelsa, commonly called the Wild or Greek Juniper, a juniper found throughout the eastern Mediterranean: south-west Macedonia, northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria across Turkey to Syria and Lebanon, and the Caucasus mountains. This species builds an wood association on this island. Some specimen of wild juniper reach up to 70 cm in diameter. On the northern side of the island, high on the cliffs, a belt of dry trees of junipers can be observed. This tree drying and dying is a consequence of feces of birds – cormorants. They sit on the branches of the trees, drying their wings, in abundant number, and their poo has negative impact on the vitality of the trees … !


Greek Junipers



And from where derived the name “Snake Island”? This island really is a home to snakes, many snakes! Biologists say two species of snakes live on this island: Dice snake (Scientific name: Natrix tessellate, a European nonvenomous snake) and Long-nose or Horned Viper Snake (Vipera ammodytes, a venomous viper species). The Dice snakes are present in large numbers on the island, while the Long-nose Viper is more rare. During summer the Snake island is “crowded” with snakes, they are crawling all over…! The legend says that the snakes are guardians of the Tzar Samoil's treasure...


A NONVENOMOUS Dice snake



Despite this “horror” situation, people visit this island quite often. Every year groups of biologist, archeologists, historians, nature lovers and other visitors come on the island. Some people even stay there for some time, sleeping in tents! With all necessary awareness and precaution you can safely visit this island and enjoy the stay, too! And then brag around showing off your courage !


A VENOMOUS Horned Viper Snake



If you decide to go there during spring or summer, be prepared to see snakes. Here are some recommendations for the visitors of the island: be aware that the snakes crawl on the ground, climb trees, crawl into holes and under stones, they swim in the lake. Wear long pants and boots or sneakers, NOT sandals or other open shoes. The snakes do not attak, only if they feel to be enderged.Therefore be careful where to step, do not poke your hands into holes or under stones!



To get the cache, which is placed under a tree and covered with a piece of roof tile, check first the tree and then with a stick or with the boot move the tile and get the cache. Please, cover the cache carefully again.



As I said before, I do not count myself into the brave geocachers category, therefore visiting this island and placing a cache was executed in the beginning of November. I was told that in this time of the year the snakes are gone, which was true. During my stay on this island (for about 2 hours) and walking all around NO snake at all was seen!


Cormorants, shame on you !



The cache is a small baby food glass jar.



How to get there:The Snake island can only be reached by boat. You can use the “boat service” offered by villagers from Stenye (Stenje) or Konsko. You can make the arrangement on this telephone numbers (in Macedonian language, if possible): +389 71/225 605, +389 77/513 515 or +389 75/240 691.



The village Stenye lies near the Macedonian-Albanian border, some 11 km from the Snake Island. It takes about 1.5 hour to reach the island. The price is about 50 euros/boat, and 6-8 people can enter 1 boat!



The village of Konsko is closest to the island (and the last village on the Macedonian side of the Prespa Lake). From the village Stenye to Konsko village leads a forest road, long 9 km. In the center of the Stenye village (R1) turn abruptly to the left and drive some 180 meters toward the lake. Proceed south-east, along the lake shore, about 2.3 km, to the R2 point. Here turn uphill right and continue on the forest road. There is no need of terrain vehicle. My Fiat Panda, regular, no 4x4 options, get me there without problems. A bike is good option too.The Snake Island lies about two kilometers far from Konsko. It takes 30-40 minutes to reach the island. The price is about 25 euros/boat, and 6-8 people can enter 1 boat!! P.S. You CAN NOT go on the island FROM GREECE!!!!


Please, extreme stealth and precaution is required when logging and putting back the cache! In case of lost of the cache the owner can visit the location and restore it only once per year! Thanks.

Sources: Internet sources. Photos: Internet, original (Galejnik)

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Haqre n gerr. Pbirerq jvgu n cvrpr bs ebbs gvyr.

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)