This summer has been quite a hot and muggy one, which means that I haven’t been inclined to do anything, let alone go on a long trek for a cache or three, so as has been the case for the last few months or so, the cache count has been on the go slow over the past 6 weeks, despite the geo-kids being home and needing to be entertained.
I’d been busy applying for Graduate School placements before the festive season kicked in, and a few days before Christmas I found myself in the city to complete a Graduate Requirements Exam. Being that I didn’t want to arrive late, I caught the train earlier than the one I probably could have caught, which gave me a good half hour to kill before the exam. As I exited the train, I pulled up the cache map to see if there was something between Central and the examination centre a few blocks away…. and up came a dot right on Central Station…. but I’ve found that, I thought. Why isn’t it showing as a smiley? I refreshed my app a few times, expecting that it would change it to found, but it didn’t, so I opened the cache details…. and only then realised that this was a ‘new’ cache, to replace the ‘old’ one I’d previously found. I checked the logs, and it seemed like it was even in the same place, so I headed to where I had found the previous. Fortunately, my timing meant no homeless people were in the corner preventing access, so I was able to comfortably make the find, add my moniker and replace without any concerns.
I then headed on my way down to the examination centre, but I still had plenty of time, so I grabbed a coffee and headed across the road, where I perched myself on the edge of the guard rail to drink it. Of course, that was strategic seating on my behalf, as even with a couple of tradies having a break right alongside me, I was able to slip the cache from its hide within the guardrail unnoticed. Another quick and simple city find. Satisfied with those 2, I then headed off to do my exam.
Date: 22nd December 2016
Location: Sydney CBD
After the festive season had died down a little, we found ourselves looking to get out of the house for the morning. It was a slightly cooler day (under 40!), but we still figured a coastal walk with a breeze would beat a bushwalk, so we headed that way – I suggested that there was a good rock ramble to a cache I still had to find, and with the agreement from the muggle-missus, and cheers from the geo-kids, I rang dad to see if he was up to join us… and of course, he was. So we parked at the top of Copacopana, and headed down the newly laid council track down to Whinney Bay. Whinney Bay is a popular spot for rock fisherpeople, but no beach of any real sort, so we hadn’t ever been down there before… even the temptation of a cache (now archived) that used to be down there wasn’t enough because the track at that point was a poorly formed bush track, that didn’t seem all that appealing. What we found though was a lovely paved and boardwalk path all the way down the bush hill. Made for the going down nice and easy, but I don’t think any of us were looking forward to the upward trek in the rising heat.
Before we left, I’d checked out the tides, and we’d timed our arrival for low tide, which meant we pretty much got the full rock platform to explore as we rounded the headlands towards the cache. Coming this way meant we had over a kilometre one way along the rocks, and while we probably could have come in an easier and quicker route from Avoca, the cache owner had suggested this route, and this route gave us plenty to explore and enjoy along the way. The kids loved finding dozens of crabs, cooked in the baking sun, and a couple of rock pools brimming with marine life. Eventually we rounded a headland and spied what we were headed for – I pointed it out to the kids… “Look, can you see the cave over there? That looks like a good cache hiding cave” – And so it was. We continued our way towards it, until we came upon “Neptune’s Cathedral“, a large open mouthed cavern. The “I’ll come with you but I’m not finding any stoopid tupperware” mudblood missus found a nice flat spot and set up a bit of a picnic on the rocks, while the rest of us headed into the cavern – where we found a rock message saying “4000”. I giggled, knowing that the cachers before us had left it saying “3000” in celebration of their milestone. And then while the girls and I explored the depths of the cavern, dad made the find. And once our business was done and cache replaced, we sat and enjoyed the area while we had a snack and drink. By the time we were headed back on our return trek the tide had changed, which meant the walk was enjoyably different from the walk in, with the waves crashing on the rocks. But with the temp now up around the 40 degrees we were all hot and bothered too – and I can’t say any of us enjoyed the hike back up the bush hill, so reaching the cars it was clear enough was enough for the day and we headed off to get some frozen cokes to celebrate the find.
Date Found: 8th January 2017
Find Number: 1358
Location: Whinney Bay, Central Coast, NSW
Later in the holidays I took the girls on a day trip to Goulburn to visit friends. About a 3.5-4hr drive, after the first 2 hours I was looking to stop and stretch. Knowing I already had the available cache at the Pheasants Nest and Sutton Forrest truckstops, I pulled up the map, and picked out a dot on the road called “Sleeping Trucks” – surely a roadside rest area. And it was a nice big one, where there were toilets and a coffee van. Once we had satisfied those more urgent needs, we headed towards the cache that was off to the side of the rest area – we delightfully found a set of steps heading down the grass hill towards our mark, and once at the trees hiding the cache, the girls were quick to uncover it and make their trades. Back in the car, I decided that I wasn’t quite ready to get back on the freeway, and so had a quick look at the cache map – and found that if I came off at the next exit (to Avon Dam), and returned back onto the freeway at the following one I would pass by 5, what seemed like park and grab, caches. And so I did exactly that – finding 4 quick finds by the roadside… the last though, which I assumed would just be a guard rail cache under the freeway in fact involved a little clambering up the verge to get myself right underneath the freeway before I made the find.
Date: 16th January 2017
Location: off the Hume Highway, Southern Highlands, NSW
And that’s been it for me – 8 lonely finds. I did mention last post though that I’d placed a couple more caches, and at the time they were awaiting publication. The traditional got published almost straight away, but unfortunately I had a few minor issues with the puzzle…. I’d thought that I’d made it sweet and simple, and easily convertible using most geocaching decryption toolbox, but I learnt that our local reviewer has decided to clamp down on puzzle hides, implementing the ‘rule’ that all puzzles must be submitted with a solution, and method of solving to the reviewer. I provided this for the code I had used originally, but the reviewer pointed out that because of the html business what I had cut and pasted onto my page wasnt able to be decrypted correctly. Not knowing how to fix the html stuff I just deleted that code, picked another simple one from my toolbox and went with it instead. I changed the clue to suit, and it was eventually published a few weeks after the first…. and then nothing for over a week, until I got a message from someone asking if they were on track with their answer… they sort of were, and later that day I finally got the FTF log. Not quite the longest I’ve had to wait for a find on my caches, but way longer than I expected for this one… evidently the clue I’ve left to give indication to the code doesn’t seem to be helping anyone. At least I know a couple of people have solved it using the method required, and did so quickly and easily, so I don’t have to doubt my difficulty rating on that.
These 2 new caches, my cache ownership count is now at 42…although 11 are now archived (incl 2 events), so really that’s 31 active caches. And I’m proud to say that I have now a total of 185 favourite points across my caches – 42 on Silence is Golden, 20 on my Letterbox at Erina, and 16 on my Bugpacker Motel matches with my favourites, and the ones I’m most proud of, so I’m pleased the peeps are still enjoying them. The Bugpacker Motel has attracted a fair few travellers over the summer period, and at one point was down to 2 lonely Travel Bugs. And because it was always my aim to keep this as stocked as I could, and I enjoy the logs from folk who have enjoyed finding this TB Hotel more stocked than they commonly find, I felt like I needed to get a few more travellers to the Motel. I had one that I’d picked up in Thai Town, and dad had another that I procured while visiting Neptune’s Cathedral, so I was able to take 2 to add to the inventory. I was pleased to find that the cache is holding up really well, although 2 clear geotrails have begun to form in towards the cache, which was bound to happen.
Speaking of Travel Bugs… My “Here’s Cheers To The Geo-blogosphere” TB is doing better than I ever imagined it would – based on my experiences with my previous 2 TBs, I had high doubts that this one would make it out of Australia, let along make it all the way to Hertfordshire, England… and yet, with each and every move this TB has made it’s gotten closer to achieving the mission! I’ve been delighted to follow its journey, as the TB left Australia for Japan, and then Poland… and then the logs are appearing in French as the wee traveller made it to Belgium… Here’s hoping it continues heading in the same direction – Look out Washknight, it’s headed your way!
In the past 3 months I’ve now checked and maintained all of my active caches – and for the next few months I will be reliant on others (especially Opa-shrek) to maintain them for me – because I’m moving to Uni in Adelaide for the year. And the best thing for my geo-game is the cache density I have ahead of me – In the 15klm radius around my accommodation, there is more active caches for me to find than there is on the entire Central Coast!
And I can’t wait to explore a new area, using the geo-guidebook as my main go-to…. So stay tuned, I’ll have a lot more to blog about soon 🙂