Tag Archives: Travel Bugs

A Mega Mega.

Well, that’s done & dusted. New Zealand’s first ever geocaching Mega event.

Around 500 nutty geocachers from NZ, the North Island, Aussie, and a scattering of other places all around the world turned up in Dunedin for a weekend of socialising & cache hunting.

I can’t really show you any photos – apart from these couple, because apparently I was too much otherwise occupied to take any!

Signal & Geofeet were great fun.

Sunday Night Prizegiving

We did manage to find 9 caches over the weekend though. YAY!

People are buzzing about the Mega in their logs. Some remember meeting Signal & Geofeet. Some remember the bright yellow tee-shirts. Some will have an abiding recollection of the ‘hill’. Everyone will remember meeting friends old & new, adding to their finds, and experiencing ‘four seasons in one day.’

The organisers did promise a real New Zealand experience after all. 😉

Personal favourites:

  • Catching up with familiar caching friends and getting to know a few new folks.
  • Signal & Geofeet and the enthusiasm they put into meeting & greeting and being characters about the place – a BIG thanks to all involved there with making that happen.
  • Seeing how cool , cute & how much fun pathtags are after having previously dissed them when finding them in caches. I want some now!!!
  • The cool Postcard Travel Bug found at the geocoin table. People have been adding postcards to it as it travels around the world since 2002. Awesome! Of course we will add to it and send it one with its journey.
  • People full of excitement & tales of adventure rushing in on Sunday afternoon to get their competition entries in on time.
  • Watching Bitsprayer get an ever increasing collection of containers of all shapes & sizes handed to him as the clean-up progressed.  I am certain they all went to a good home & will materialised in new homes one day soon. 😉
  • The unsung heroes who cleaned, cleaned up, directed traffic  and diligently did little jobs under the radar.
  • Seeing hubby line up in a queue to sign a cache. A novel experience, but one we will try not to repeat.
  • Watching hubby experience the ‘four seasons in one hour’ directing traffic on Friday afternoon. Someone give that man a (ginger) beer!!

So, now that I am back, I hope to update on some trips we’ve done over the last 18 months or so. There hasn’t been too much caching going on since last February, but I plan for that to be changing soon. 🙂 

Travel Bug Rescue

Travel bugs and geocoins are another aspect of geocaching that some people like to get involved with.  An example of the geocoin is here: RAGWORTS 2008 geocoin . Each type of coin looks different – and in fact, some of them are not even round!! We’ve found geocoins shaped like a – school bus, pencil, garden gnome, apple, notebook, cat, beehive, flower, a puzzle piece, gingerbread person, gift,  lips,  t-shirt, parrot,  dolphins, cup of hot chocolate and a guitar!!  And that’s the ones I can remember.

Travel bugs can be literally ANYTHING!!! So long as they have a geocaching.com dog tag attached to them – with its special individual tracking number, it can be a travel bug.  Here is one of our travel bugs:  PB’s Polar Bear.

We are not so crazy about trackables as some people, but we do have a few coins, and we move coins & bugs on whenever we can.  Recently two of our travel bugs when missing in the USA, so I joined up with the new Travel Bug Rescue  site to see if we could have them tracked down.  Unfortunately for us, they were both found to be missing by the kind cachers who checked up on the caches they were supposed to be in.

Julie the travel bug

On the weekend a travel bug came up in town that needed rescuing. It had been in a cache up a hill for three months and the person it belonged to was wondering if it was still there. The good news for them was Julie the Elephant TB was quite safe. So we brought the TB back down the hill with us, and we’ll move her on to another cache as soon as we can.

The track is also used by mountain bikes/motorbikes. I'd hate to miss this jump & fall in the hole!!

This is a nice bit of the track.

 

View from nearly the top.

 

As far as we could see on our GPS we went up 300 metres over around 750 metres.  And then back down again without too much slithering and sliding – this time!!!

Glacier Caching

We  managed to fit a couple of detours for caches into our weekend, as you do.

 One highlight as far as views go was this one: GC1PPX9 View of Franz Josef Glacier.   And because it was an earthcache it was all about what we could see around us!  A little bit of counting, a bit of geology and GPS skills, and off course the photo.  We were actually very fortunate as some tourists offered to take a photo of us. So, a rare piccy of us together.

Thanks to the tourists!

 This is the one we used for our cache log though:

Cache log photo

 It was also really fortunate that we had a stunning clear sunny day on Sunday. If we’d tried to do this cache on Saturday (not that we had time!!) our photo would have looked more like some of the other ones in the cache gallery.

Glacier View

Of course, if you are not into geology, there are always alternative explanations as to how the glacier got there!!

Tradition

 We did a little detour to another cache GC160J5 Lookout Back There, which is near the Okarito Lagoon, and the forest where the Rowi live.  There was more beautiful scenery, and it proved the ‘Mountains to the Sea’ aspect of the National Park   really well.  From the lookout, I could look west and see the lagoon & the ocean, and look east to the mountains!

Looking east.

  Another very cool experience that we had was an encounter with a South Island Robin  (Petroica australis australis.) The bird we saw was most likely a male due to the distinct colours. He was a very confident little fellow – coming within a foot of me, and not leaving the area even when we were quietly moving about.  We have seen these little birds before – about the size of a chubby sparrow, with longer legs – but this was the closest encounter.  I think we may have been disturbing a few bugs, as we hunted the cache, which was no doubt what he was interested in.

Little Robin

 

There are four species of ‘robin’ in New Zealand (although they are not in fact in the same family as European Robins at all.)   The little fellow we saw is relatively common and his species is not considered to be significantly at risk, although population numbers are monitored.  This is in comparison to his close relative the Black Robin    (Petroica traverse) which once had a population of only 5 individuals  – including one female!!!

Robin View Two!

PB was actually on to the cache almost immediately, though the logs had warned us that it could require a bit of a search, being as it was under tree cover, with the GPS reluctant to zero. But with his usual skill, PB picked where it would be straight away.  The cache was a good one too – an ammo can, with a few good swaps in it. We dropped off a travel bug that we had with us since the Valentine’s Day event in Nelson. It’s a brand new TB which we’d been asked to place somewhere outside of the Nelson area by its owners.  So we left Little Red in the care of one of the other cache occupants.

Little Red & a friend

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.

Hosting Our First Event

We have been to a couple of other events and enjoyed hanging out with other geocachers, and it seemed like it was time to have an event in our local area. There are quite a few new cachers about, and there had not been an Event here for awhile. 

As it happened we had only a few locals, and just as many visitors (but we were pleased to see them anyway 😉 )  If we repeat the event next year, we will have to get it published sooner so that people have more chance to organize their time!!  It was a good learning experience anyway.  

Checking out Travellers

Hanging out in the Backyard

A Christmas Event seems the right place for these travellers.

We had a perfect weather day, sunny but not too hot, and a good spread of food thanks to everyone who contributed to the “pot-luck.”  After a couple of hours of eating, looking at coins, exchanging stories and picking up hints – with a few little Christmas gifts thrown in – some of us went off to learn about Wherigo and others to hunt out a few Coast caches that they had not done yet.

Getting our Wherigo instructions.

'Teacher' & 'Student!'

PB's first time with a Colarado

The Wherigo was at one of our West Coast historic mining areas, and our “task” was to use the coal and clay to make a brick to add to a chimney. Only a few people had a GPS that was capable, so these were shared around – along with their owners, and the rest of us got to experience not only finding a Wherigo cache but using a Colarado or Oregon.

View over the mining area. The chimney is on the left in the distance.

The Historic chimney

Bridge View

A little bit of scenery

Happy cache finder

 Later in the day some gathered again to clean up the rest of the food, and then a group went off to do a new local night cache in the company of the cache placer. I didn’t go on that little mission, but I am assured that a good portion of mud and creek crossing was involved.  I believe that at least one cacher went slip sliding away near to the final also!!!

Checking co-ords

Off into the darkness ........

Travel Bug material?

This picture is so that PJ over at  A ‘lil Hoohaa can see my potential travel bug for the HooHaa TB race.

Kiri the Flying Kiwi?

She is about 6cm/2.5 inches tall and 10cm/4 inches from beak to butt.  I’m wondering if that is  a little large for a racing TB?  What do your think, people? Would there be caches in your part of the world that she would fit in, and would you move her if you saw her?

I think there is a few more spaces open in the race if any other cachers are interested!