What on earth is ‘Geocaching’? Funnily enough I was asking that very same question just a few short weeks ago. Now, I’m dragging the ladies the length and breadth of Ireland and beyond looking for spiders, tupperware, canisters, frogs, fish and other weird and wonderful geocache containers. Please allow me to explain, enlighten and invite you to the ‘exciting’ world of Combining Geocaching with Travel!
WHAT IS GEOCACHING?
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. Participants, or Geocachers as they (we) are known; use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device (typically a smart-phone) to hide and seek containers. These containers are called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’. The geocaches are placed at locations marked by GPS coordinates all over the world. The aim is to locate and log (using the geocaching app) as many geocaches as you can. No prizes, just the warm satisfaction of finding a hidden geocache. Although, some geocache containers have little ‘swaps’ where you TS (take something) and LS (leave something). Basically it’s a modern day treasure hunt on a global scale!
HOW DID WE GET INTO GEOCACHING?
Our first geocache find was born out of intrigue (or ‘cash’ greed) rather than actual participation! On a recent trip to Croatia we stumbled across an intriguing road sign as we travelled around the rocky island of Krk. Curious, we stopped in a lay-by and crossed the road to read the sign. A lady was stood beside the sign with a mobile phone in her hand looking a tad perplexed! Mummy, being curious, got chatting to Sarah and found out she was searching for ‘cache’. Of course, Mummy thought it was ‘cash’ and was soon assisting to locate the hoard! After a while, the ladies returned empty-handed to the lay-by where I was chatting to Christoph, Sarah’s husband. Their children, Noah and Eliah, sat in the rear of their car watching ipads. Unfortunately they didn’t share their parents excitement in hunting for geocaches!
FINDING OUR FIRST GEOCACHE IN CROATIA
The family were from Germany and holidaying in Croatia, where they were also hunting for geocaches. After chatting for a while, Lily-Belle decided she wanted to try and find the geocache. So, back over the road and the hunt began. After climbing a small wall, and searching for a few minutes; Lily-Belle let out a shriek and presented Sarah with a small camouflaged container! Now, geocache etiquette means I’m not allowed to tell you where the geocache was located but…I can say it was well camouflaged in its location. Etiquette also means that once you write your details (name, time and date of find) on the cache log, you must return it to its original location! Which we did! Our first geocache find – Crossing 45 (GC57PPX)! Lily-Belle was very excited…and I was hooked, I wanted to find another! Mummy wanted to find a sunset! Matilda slept!
SUNSET IN CROATIA
After taking a photo and swapping info with Sara and Christoph, Erzcache (their Geocache username) drove away and we discreetly changed into evening clothes at the side of the road. All dressed, we set off for Punat to watch the sunset over the mountains. Our timings were slightly out, and I had to stop at the side of the road to film the sunset with a small port in the foreground. As I enjoyed the sunset (time-lapse video), my mind wandered into the world of Geocaching. I also wondered if we were close to any other hidden geocache containers. Maybe there’d be one or two caches in Punat?
PURSUING GEOCACHING IN PUNAT
Punat is a beautiful small seaside town located on the southern coast of the island of Krk. Full of charm and typically Croatian with small narrow streets and arched doorways that lead to colourful houses and taverns. The sun had set and our evening meal was a little later than normal, we were all ravenous with rumbling tummy’s! During our meal we discussed geocaching and whether or not it’d be of interest to pursue this as a hobby. The vote, three for and one against….yaaaaaay, let the hunt begin. Regretfully we didn’t search for any more geocache containers whilst in Croatia. We just wanted to relax, swim in the warm clear waters off the Croatian coast, and enjoy our time as a family. A time we thoroughly enjoyed, even though I almost fell off a cliff, but hey-ho, that’s a story for another day!
GEOCACHING ON HOME TURF
Upon our return to Ireland we were greeted by horizontal rain, hard to believe it’s the height of summer. Less than 24 hours earlier we had been enjoying temperatures of 32°C in Croatia. A three hour drive before we arrived home in the small hours, unloaded the car into the dining room and went to bed. The postman gave us an early morning alarm call delivering a parcel. All I could think about was geocaching! App opened I located a cache just 3 miles from the house and it didn’t take us long to get in the car in search of our second geocache. After 90 minutes of searching we gave up (found at a later date) and moved on to another, this time a successful find disguised as a plastic spider. Geocaching is SERIOUSLY addictive… I needed more!
At the time of writing this post, we have 101 successful finds to our name….but it won’t be long until we find more! We may even book a Geocaching Holiday (yes, they exist) to satisfy my ‘cache craving’! I say ‘my craving’ because the ladies don’t quite share my newfound enthusiasm for Geocaching! Do you like treasure hunts? If you do, then the geocaching is pretty much the world’s largest treasure hunt! There are all sorts of caches hidden in random places on every continent and across 191 countries! In all honesty; I’m surprised that no one has fathomed out how to get a cache on to the moon! Now that would be some FTF (first to find), I might have to give NASA a call! And I am led to believe there’s a cache in the frozen wilderness of Antarctica that has never been located…I wonder why?
COMBINING GEOCACHING WITH TRAVEL
Geocaching is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors and see the world. Since beginning our quest to locate caches, we’ve seen local areas and landmarks that we never knew existed, and some are right on our own doorstep. The great thing about geocaching is that all you need is a basic membership (available from Geocaching), a smartphone with app installed and a sense of adventure.
Geocaching was born in 2000 and here are a few stats to lure you in:
- There are more than 3 million active geocaches worldwide,
- Want to find them all? It would take 822 years if you found 10 caches per day,
- Geocaches are hidden on every continent and across 191 different countries,
- As of 2019, there are more than 361,000 geocache owners all over the world,
- Geocaching.com is translated into 24 languages,
- Android and iOS apps are translated into 20 languages.
For further information please visit Geocaching.
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Main image view from Cuilcacgh Boardwalk in Fermanagh.
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sabretoothedchickenstour8th April 2020 at 07:01
Nice. We are a geocaching family too. It is a great worldwide activity.
Around The World In 18 Years8th April 2020 at 12:00
Indeed it does, although….Coronavirus and in particular Covid-19 has placed a hold on our hunting, but I know there are still lots of geocachers actively looking….not us, we’ll wait until we get the Government all clear. #Stayhomestaysafesavelives🌏 ✈️ 🙏