Monthly Archives: March 2010

Rowi

This past weekend PB was involved with the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Westland-Tai Poutini National Park.  I sort of went along to be his roadie, and kind of to get out of town for a few days.  It was a great weekend over all, and we got a few caches between times.  But my highlight was meeting the rowi.

 The rowi  is New Zealand’s most rare kiwi species. There are around 350 of them, and their main habitat is the South Okarito Forest in South Westland.  It was only discovered in 1994 after DNA studies that they were a separate species. So now NZ officially has five ‘species’ of kiwi at present with 11 different types identified.

 The eggs are taken from the nests and incubated at a wildlife park in the city, then once they hatch, they are taken to a predator-free island until they are about a year old and weigh a kilogram.  At this weight they are big enough to fight a stoat and are much more able to survive in the wild.  Six of these young rowi were released on the weekend, and two of them came to visit at the celebrations. Only the very important guests got to hold one, but the rest of us got a chance to take photos, pat them and talk with the project leader.

Getting the rowi out of his crate.

Rowi with the project leader.

One of the other invited guests and the Honourable Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Conservation

A very rare oportunity to pat a very rare bird. (Terrible photo, but that's what you get sometimes.)

Snuggles with a rowi!!

 The Honourable Minister seemed rather reluctant to give  the little kiwi back, and I have to say he seemed very contented and blissful snuggling with her. Now, I might not agree with her party’s politics, but perhaps she’s the right woman for her job if this little kiwi knows anything!!!

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Completely Stolen

I confess right now that this idea is completely stolen from Theresa at Muggles Don’t Scare Me.  She has a ‘survey’ at the top of her blog at the moment!! Perhaps you all might like to answer at least some of the questions too?

1. What is your name?
Annie

2. What is your GC name?
Annie & PB

3. What kind of GPSr do you use?
Garmin Legend HCx and  Garmin Nuvi 200 series

4. What is your favorite feature on your GPSr?
That it’s pretty accurate in a range of situations.

5. What is your best memory of geocaching?
I’ve had lots of fun times geocaching – the best ones are the road trips that PB & I do. I particularly remember a day’s driving from Quinney’s Bush to Motueka, and another trip through the Waitaki Valley which I’ve blogged about previously.

6. What is the furthest from your house you’ve ever found a cache?
We’ve never travelled overseas, and have only been to New Zealand’s ‘other’ island once since we have been caching. The furthest from home cache that we got when we were up there is GCK0N8 Stepped Waters, which is near-ish to Lake Taupo. We had a bit of an adventure getting to this cache, but we eventually found it. Here is our log.

7. What is the hardest cache you ever found?
We haven’t done any REALLY hard caches – but the one I remember as the most challenging for me personally so far was a night cache GCJN2P Glow-Worms & Fireflies.  I don’t seem to have the great enthusiasm for night caches that many people do. Perhaps because I enjoy caching a lot for the scenery & history and photo-taking, and less for the actual process of hunting for a container – which is what night caching is more focused on. And I can’t see the scenery at night!!!!

8. What is the most amount of caches you’ve completed in one day?
Well, this was a discovery for me (I should read my own profile stats more often – speaking of which, I think it’s about time I updated them!!!) Here was I thinking that the most caches we had done was the road trip in the Nelson/Tasman region I mentioned in Qu 5,  but it turns out we’ve done 30 in one day on a trip between Timaru & Oamaru. And I’m really surprised I’d forgotten, as the final cache of this day was a FTF far from home!!! It was GC1HEJA Duck Up 

9. How did you get started in geocaching?
Entirely by accident!!! Our area (we now know) has one of the highest cache densities in NZ, so little did we know that all of the areas that we like to walk and to take the dogs are equipped with their own cache or two or three. So one day PB and the dogs, while doing dog & ‘boy’ stuff like poking a stick in holes at the base of trees, came across this little green plastic container.  We cautiously opened it, and thanks to the fact that Bitsprayer is such a thoughtful & experienced cache placer, we found a stash note!!!  And  the rest, as they say, is history.

10. What is the silliest mistake you’ve made while geocaching?
Well, apart for our general inability to find 1/1 caches, I can’t think of anything at the moment…….. but PB has a couple of suggestions….. which of course had nothing to do with me …. maybe …… LOL

On our North Island trip I inadvertently move the little cache icon on our GPS of the cache that we were just about to hunt. This resulted in us traipsing up and down various hill tracks with no luck what-so-ever, only to find – when we checked the co-ords in the PDA and corrected them back to what they should be – that the cache was at the top of the hill where we had parked.  All of 20 metres away from the cachemobile!! Ooophs.  Or the time early on, when we drove to a town 30 minutes away, to find that although we had the GPS, we DID NOT have the cache pages that we had printed out!!!

11. What memorable animals have you encountered on the trail?

 We don’t have any native animals in New Zealand, and we’ve yet to encounter a deer or a pig or such like in the bush, so our ‘animal’ encounters consist of meetings with birds & insects. The most astounding one we have had is on our North Island adventure. We were on the track to GC18JF5 Pumice Pit   where we were surrounded by swarming cicadas. There were so many that they were hitting us from all sides as they blundered about. The noise was also incredible, almost deafening. This continued on for quite a portion of the track and was a pretty amazing experience.

12. What is your favorite earthcache?

I am a bit of a fan of earthcaches so it is quite difficult to pick  favourite one, but I think GC1JNRT Wonderstuff’s Wonderland  has a slight edge. The thermal areas of the North Island were one of the spots that PB & I particularly enjoyed and would definitely be on our list of places to visit again. This EC and a multi in the same little thermal reserve gave us an opportunity to visit a FREE thermal reserve that we would have probably not known about otherwise – and as we could not really afford to visit the popular expensive ones, we were well pleased to be at this one.

13. When do you geocache most often? (Season? Time of day?)
We cache anywhere and anytime that we can. The weather in our local area is pretty mild (if rather damp!) all year around, so we can cache locally anytime we want. However – we’ve pretty much run out of local caches to find, so most of our caching is done on vacations which we tend to make into longish road-trip for caching purposes. So that restricts us to weekends and term breaks.

 14. Who do you usually geocache with?
PB & I always cache together. We have been caching occasionally with my sister or my brother, who do a little bit of caching, which is fun. We’ve done a couple of caches with local caching pals as well, but we’re not big on group caching.

 15. Have you ever logged a find on one of your own caches? If not, would you?
Nope – never have and never will, unless it is a cache that we’ve previously found that we adopt.

 16. What is the most consecutive days you’ve gone caching and had a find?
Apparently the answer to this is 18 consecutive days from 23/12/2007 to 9/01/2008, which was very early in our caching career when there were enough caches locally that we could get a few each evening after work.

 17. How do you feel about people who “collect” trackable items?
Very annoyed – I consider it stealing. Stealing fun from other cachers, and actually stealing from the trackables’ owner if anyone keeps TBs & coins. We’ve had a very bad time with this in our area recently, but the person responsible seems to have come to their senses and started placing the travelers out in caches again.

We have a collection of geocoins that we have either been given, or have purchased ourselves that we take to events and show to cachers that we meet on the trails. We’ve decided not to send our coins out into the world as in NZ they work out to be quite expensive and we don’t want to lose them. Plus it’s practically impossible to replace most of them. We’ve sent out quite a few TBs – some are still travelling, some got ‘lost’ right away, and we’ll send out more. 

 18. Is it all about the numbers for you?
Absolutely!!! And the places & the people & the adventure!!! LOL I do confess, we are interested in our stats, but since we reached 1500 our interest in numbers has decreased. I would rather do a handful of caches & have a fun day, than do 20 or 30 and end up tired, grumpy and annoyed with life.  I think for me the most important aspect is the places caching takes us and the time PB & I get to spend together away from our daily routine. PB is quite into ‘the hunt’  especially if it’s a devious camo, or those dastardly difficult to open constructions that some NZ hiders like to build.

 19. What have you learned since you started geocaching?
A new appreciation of just what a fantastically beautiful country I live in, and what intriguing little snippets of history can be hidden away. I’ve learnt that sometimes it takes two brains to solve a problem and that both PB & I come at caching problems (and life!) from unique but complimentary points- of-view.  I’ve got to know a much wider range of people due to geocaching than I otherwise would have – people in my town, and across NZ and across the world.  I think the ‘uniting’ factor of cachers is that they tend to have a somewhat quirky sense of humour, and are likely to be able to ‘think outside the box’ which mostly make them a very accepting and open bunch of people.

 20. What is the most interesting travel bug or geocoin you have discovered?
This is one of my favourite coins that we’ve seen: Hector’s Dolphin geocoin

And this little guy was one of my favourite Travel Bugs: Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat

This Travel Bug we helped to reach his final destination: Berlin Travelling Bear the Second.  I got really really sick on the trip that we took this bear along on, so in the end he didn’t quite get to the cache we planned, but we put him in a cache that we had visited previously where we knew he would fit & be safe.

Last Picture Taken Sunday.

I really can not believe that I did not post one single blog entry last week. But then, considering we were away three days, I earned money two days (which always wipes out any energy that I did have), did volunteer work with a girls group at church and took myself & animals to medical appointments – I guess in retrospect it didn’t leave much time for blogging.  So – we get to Last Picture Sunday again!!

And here it is:

Annie & the Thar

 

 We had stopped for lunch at the Pukekura  cafe on our way back from Franz Josef Glacier.However, we found that at 3:00 pm we were a little late for lunch in this corner of the world. We did get  to see the giant sandfly (picture below!)  and  to have a good look around & read of all the hilarious info, letters & signs and finally to chat with the thar who appeared to be very friendly.

A Giant female sandfly. (Glad this one did not try to suck my blood!!)

Last Picture Taken Sunday

Well – this is one for the pet people amongst us:

Ruger's Paw

 There he was lying on the couch beside me looking cute, so I picked up the camera – could have been an ear or an eye or a nose that was my last shot – but it was a paw!

City Caching

Our trip to the city was mostly for shopping, but we had a few other very important things to do too.

New Brighton Beach

The main one was to take a young member of the caching team The Grady Bunch out for some caching and some decent food!   When your family lives really truly in a remote place, you’ve no choice but to go to boarding school  for high school when you get to Year 9. And eat the food. But that doesn’t mean you gotta like it!

So we rescued Grady #3 from the  hostel (dorms), went caching and then out for a meal. 

We had some technical issues with the camera, so there aren’t too many photos.

Firstly we went to GC1T8AD Bright-On  Pier where nimble young fingers were very useful! And then we went for a short stroll along the beach.

 We took photos near that cache the next morning also. This is a spot that we really like – one morning we saw a paddle surfer which was kind of fun towatch. And there’s almost always regular surfers and heaps of dog walkers. If you are dog people it’s interesting to see the different dogs and whether they are running or fetching, swimming or avoiding the waves, digging or playing or just generally doing dog stuff.

Pier View

Lift Off

This is one we took at GC24BDT Kate the Good Sheppard   – just before the camera claimed that the card was full. Grady #3 did most of the hunting here while we were fussing around with the camera – but would have found it anyway, being the only one looking in more divergent spots!! Us oldies had too many expectations about where a cache on a boardwalk ‘ought’ to be!!

Swany Cache Shepherds

And next we had a DNF ….. on a cache we’d found before.    LOL!

After a buffet dinner at the Oxford on Avon Grady #3 and I did a quick dash to GC20W94 New Regent Scene , while PB hovered with the van nearby! Grady #3 was very impressed with this hide, and was rather pleased to have found it.

We had to then return our young friend to the matron, but next time we all hope we can have a longer day caching. When fishing & weka hunting rather than hair-straightening is your area of knowlegde, city life is a bit tough sometimes, so a day’s caching is a good break I guess!

Two other caches we did on following days of the weekend that we  really liked  were  GCA46 Godley

This was near a spot where we’d hoped to park for the night at Godley Head,  but alas the nasty ‘no camping’ and ‘gates locked at 8:00pm’ signs turned us back. However we did walk down the track to find the cache at the historic WWII remains .

It was nearly dusk when we were here, so we didn’t stay long as we still had to find a parking spot for the night. We did investigate one part of the historic area beside where the cache was a little, but we’ll need to go back and walk around the whole place.

The view walking down towards the buildings & cache.

It’s a bit far away from the city centre for too much graffiti, but what was there seemed relevant.

All that is left are hollow shells of buildings with shattered windows.

A view out the door, over that which they hoped to protect.

Another cache we enjoyed, and which gave us a few laughs was  GC1TXB8 Good Luck for Ducks

Duck feeding

The ducks did get lucky with a bit of our bread, which is always fun to watch them fight over it. PB had a go at looking for the container – as we were fairly confident of its where-abouts – but found that he wasn’t quite bendy enough to get where was needed.  By then the muggles were starting to amass, so we took a break to admire the ducks some more.  Then I decided to give it ago. Just as I was about to get into the hiding spot a guy and a young boy (his son/nephew?) biked past on the bridge. The guy was on a bike quite a few sizes too small, knees sticking out the side, no helmet (cycle helmets are the legal requirement in NZ), and a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth.

 All that is all very well, but what made the moment funny was that just as he went past us we could hear him giving instructions to the young lad: “ Now remember to be careful…. “  We hope that the little boy learns more from the words than the example – but I suspect not.

The car park by now was filling up  with vehicles out of which were emerging  late middle-age muggles – some clutching deckchairs, and some with their walking sticks. I could not quite decide if they were arriving for a walking group, or for a little rest in their chairs, but we decided that they posed no danger to the cache, so I continued my cave crawl and reached the cache in its little dark corner. This kept the muggles entertained – PB says they were pointing with their walking sticks, discussing what on earth I was doing & chuckling.  I passed the cache out for PB to sign, because there was no way I could get on a good angle to write in the log book under there, and I wasn’t repeating the damage to my elbows by crawling out and in again.  Your regular round shaped Kiwi girl is not ideally made for such tight spaces I have to say!!

Cache extraction

And speaking of ducks – any duck fan who has not watched the new introductory video on the Geocaching.com home page   should do so – keeping a close eye out for the swag.

Crafts & Coins

 

This is a little catch up post on a few things that I’ve said I would show people over the last couple of months!!

My first attempt at a mosaic title.

Here is my mosaic title that I made at Art in the Park a few weekends ago. A few different crafty people have wanted to have a look at this.  The person who did the grouting didn’t take quite as much care over it as I probably would have – but who am I to say really, as I’ve never done grouting and certainly not done the amount that she would have had to after the weekend!!  It’s my first ever attempt at such a thing, but it was kind of fun and I could easy add it to my list of hobbies to do more of one day.  

Do you know this frog?

And here is a somewhat familiar looking Froggy that Katy Rose, ErikaJean  & PJ all thought they recognised in an earlier blog post. Were they right……… ??? Perhaps they’ll let us know!!  We are hoping to be able to go to stained glass classes again soon, but the funding for the community classes at our high school got cut last year, so all the classes finished up. Our tutor was hoping to get his class running again this year, but at the moment he’s not well. So we are all hoping he’ll get better soon.

 (Hey Norwood… Nooorrrrwoooodd – you rrrrreally got to look into geocaching some more – there is a Frog in charge!)

And here – just for Tracy – the wonders of the world of geocoins!!  This is our small collection.

 See this photo at Flickr for the info on how we got each one.

Our trackable planisphere geocoin - there is a Northern Hemisphere version too.

Our geocoin collection

Now – if I’ve said  that I’ll show anything else – please remind me what it was!

And BTW – if there’s any words you would like added to the Glossary, just let me know too. I haven’t put anything in there for a bit.

Last Picture Taken Sunday

Now – by no means can I claim that it is still Sunday – anywhere in the world.

But I have been saying to myself for a couple of weeks that I must get back to posting my “Last Picture Taken Sunday”

So here it is – two of them actually.

This is officially the last picture on the camera for the week. But I didn’t take it. Strangely enough.

Studying a geocoin

It was at the geocache GC1GZY5 Four Cygnets and I am looking at the geocoin Cheyenne’s Blue Lips Geocoin, as seen in this photo:

Blue Lips

We though this cache was going to be a ‘troll’ cache going by the hint, so we spent quite a bit of time looking in the wrong place. But when we believed our GPS and actually WENT to GZ (ground zero – the spot where the GPs reads 0 metres, or as close to zero as you can get it), we soon found an UPS (unnatural pile of sticks) and there was the cache.

The last photo I personally took can be seen here —> at my Flickr page, as it was my Project 365 photo for Sunday.

To find out more about Last Picture Taken Sunday visit Tracy’s Topics!!