Welcome to the Newbies – Whittlesea Lead Up Event on Sunday 28th August GC9WKN8
Be sure though to check out the events page for a full listing for all scheduled events.
August Move it Competition
So what does move it, move it have to do with events you ask? I am so glad you did. The August competition is to submit or post a video of yourself or your caching team moving… or should I say dancing…. (either on a Facebook post or blog comment below)
The clip needs to go for at least ten seconds to be eligible and filmed whilst caching or attending an event during the month of August 2022. For a little bit of inspiration, I asked The Welder aka Ross to share his cache dance rendition filmed recently on a road trip with heymissjo.
We look forward to your own cache dances! For further inspiration, check out the Cache Pants Dance clip by the Geocaching Vlogger
July BernieH Competition
A massive thank you (especially from BernieH) on everyone who participated in his July Challenge of finding a cache on his remaining unfound cache date. He was super excited to complete the grid. A special should out must go to horror.fan.jm who won best log – congratulations! Here is a link to the winning entry. We will be in touch with you shortly to organise your prize.
There comes a time when a new geocacher starts to get a little more comfortable and practiced at the art of finding a traditional cache. Slowly you start to increase the level of difficulty on your hides from a 1.5 to a 2, maybe even a 2.5 and the same with the terrain ratings. You have started to recognise that hides are more than sistema containers, bisons and the familar mint tins.
But it is with this new found confidence that a new cacher starts to wonder what other cache types are out there and you ponder the blue question mark. There may even be a bold but rookie mistake of trying to find a mystery cache at the given coordinates, only to discover that there is nothing hidden there or that the coordinates are in some random, unusual place, like the centre of a round about or football oval.
Upon some reflection and even some research, there is a light bulb moment and the realisation that the coordinates are infact virtual and do not lead to the actual hide. There is some work to do before the real coordinates can be gleamed. These delightful caches are often referred to as mystery or puzzle caches, but to a new geocacher can seem to be a little confusing to know where to start.
So to help all the new geocachers within our community on where to start with one of these mystery/ puzzle caches, I caught up with the Puzzle Queen herself – OzHockeyChick aka Kirsten for some advice.
Thanks for chatting to me OzHockeyChick, can you please share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love?
I started geocaching early 2015, when the lovely xsurfergirlx introduced me to what was going to become my new addiction. It was the puzzle aspect that really piqued my interest. I’ve always loved puzzles, all kinds, from jigsaws to word search to kakuro, and everything in between.
Thankfully, the details of those little blue circles with white question marks (along with the orange ones) were briefly explained to me – enough to get me started on my journey past trads.
Puzzles can sometimes be daunting to a new geocacher, what advice do you give for those new to the game?
I joined a few Facebook groups, and visited the only geocaching shop in Victoria at the time (GeoStuff – now in SA). It was there I found Cully Long’s “How to Puzzle Cache” book. I read it cover to cover, and enjoyed working my way through it, learning lots of tips and tricks.
I then began solving some mysteries in my local area. I quickly discovered the D rating and what that meant. So I chose one CO and began solving all his puzzles, beginning with the lower Ds and working my way up to the D5s. I found that sticking to one CO at a time, allowed me to get inside his/her head, and begin thinking along the same track. This has proven to be quite helpful in many puzzles since.
But how do you know where to start?
Unless the puzzle is glaringly obvious (crossword etc), I usually do a sequence of keystrokes….
Ctrl+A Ctrl+U Ctrl+F <!–
To break that down…
Ctrl+A selects the entire cache page. This lets you see if there’s any hidden (white) text.
Ctrl+U is the shortcut to see the source (html) code. It is here where a CO can hide more text using the “commenting” syntax of <!–some hidden text ->
So using Ctrl+F (shortcut for Find) and looking for the instances of <!– is a quick way of finding any hidden text here. Currently Groundspeak uses 9 such comments, eg Copyright, Google Tag Manager etc, so if the search comes back with 1 of 9, there’s nothing to see here. However, if it shows 1 of 10 or more, head on down to the 8th instance, and see what’s there.
Where do you learn puzzle solving techniques?
The book mentioned above was my first main source. The Geocaching Toolbox and dCode are other useful places to visit. There are also various multi-solvers available, but I rarely use them. I like to know how the cipher/code actually works, and dCode explains each one in detail. I find this a better way to learn about cryptography, rather than just throwing the ciphered text into a multi-solver and have it do all the heavy lifting for you. Each to their own. Of course, the more puzzles you solve, the more you learn, and are able to recognise or identify different methods.
I also engage the help of Google – a lot! It’s not uncommon for me to have 50 tabs open at any one time, following various leads.
Another wonderful source of information is our fantastic community. I try to get to as many events as I can. I often have cachers approach me to ask for a nudge on one of my puzzles, and of course, I’m happy to help. I’d rather give hints and have my puzzle caches found, than have them discarded to the “too hard” pile and not get found.
Do you have a favourite type of puzzle?
I do like multi-layered puzzles. Once you have solved one part, it leads you to another. A bit like unwrapping a pass-the-parcel.
Anything involving maths, geometry, physics, I find quite challenging and rather satisfying to solve.
I also like the printed puzzles (sudoku, crosswords, kakuro etc), and have a number of bound booklets of these sorts of puzzles, which are great to take away off-grid camping.
Thanks so much OzHockeyChick for giving our beginners a great place to start. I am sure you have given some food for thought for those starting out. You have plenty of your own puzzles hidden which might be great to learn and build upon a geocachers puzzle solving repertoire.
The excitement of finding your first few geocaches, is often followed by the wonderment and awe of the hide. It is common for us to start with entry level hides (mint tins, sistema containers, perhaps even bisons), but as you start to explore further afield you discover that the variety of the containers are vast and so many caches have great camo, cleverly hidden in plain sight.
Often though, the excitement is not captured in the written logs of a new geocacher, and it can be common to not appreciate the value of the digital log. As we get more involved in the game, we try for harder more complex caches and undoubtably come faced with a cache that we just can’t find. It’s often at this stage, we trawl through the logs of past finds skimming for clues and realise that there is more to a log than…..
Found it… Got it…Good one!
TFTC! (How cool am I that I know the acronym!)
I remember this moment as a beginner and started to notice that there was much more to writing a short note and that I could actually be more creative with my entries. I started to have a deeper appreciation for logs and discovered that I could actually get to know my local geocachers. But aside from that, as I became a Cache Owner myself, I started to love and enjoy the logs from the finders of my own caches. Years on, I still love a really good log!
To explore this concept further, I recently spoke with Brain aka Angus to hear his thoughts on creative log writing, as he too is known for inspiring geocachers through the art of log writing.
Hi Brain, please share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love? Once upon a time it was mid-January in 2015 and a smaller version of me read a newspaper article explaining a fun little game involving hidden containers around the world and it sounded pretty good! I was on holiday on the far south coast of New South Wales at the time and found my first few that day with my family – we all really enjoyed it and I’ve since found that I am physically unable to stop which is a little concerning but mainly fun!
There has definitely been commentary amongst our community for the great logs you have written, tell us where do you get your inspiration? You’re too kind! A lot can happen in the process of solving and finding a geocache, and many of my logs are just transcribing the events of the world around me (perhaps with a few embellishments here and there – lets not let the truth get in the way of a good story!).
A few sentences explaining the context of the hunt can build the foundations of a substantial log pretty quickly, and from there the experience of finding the cache tends to form the rest (the more intricate the cache, the more inspiration there is to be found). Often times I find that the easiest ones to write are when something’s gone wrong, or when I can’t find a cache – but why not share the adventure and sometimes the pain!
Why is log writing an important aspect of the game? Geocaching wouldn’t be the game that it is without the dedication of its cache owners and logs help to give something back to them! If a CO has gone to the effort of putting a great cache out, it’s usually because they want other people to enjoy it, so receiving a detailed log can really make their day. Plus, it helps to indicate to other cachers which ones are worth their time.
For newbies to geocaching what advice can you share on ‘how to write a great log?”
Start small! It’s easy to think that “great log = long log” but that isn’t always the case – focus on getting the main points down:
What do you want the CO to know?
What do you want other cachers to know?
What do you want to remember about the cache and experience if you read your log in a few years’ time?
Is there anything else interesting worth mentioning?
But just remember never give way the location or placement of the hide in your logs, as it can ruin it for the next set of finders….and you might end up with a grumpy CO!
From here you can expand the details from there if you want to. You don’t have to write an A+ essay, just something that you (and hopefully others) would enjoy reading. Writing logs comes more naturally over time, so keep up the effort as you find more caches!
Thanks Brain, that is great advice – can you share with us one of your favourite logs (that you have written?) I more commonly find that I like certain bits of logs that I’ve written – a sentence or two that sticks in my head for a while after I’ve written the log. My (current) favourite (it usually changes) is from my log on GC2JD7V: Balnarring The Headache Maker which reads:
“I pretty much entered a state of shock as is all too common in my puzzling escapades where I am simultaneously overjoyed that the puzzle is solved and bewildered by the fact that I have managed to keep myself breathing for so long despite being this stupid.”
And a quick note to include my favourite logs that I haven’t written… I frequently find myself going back through the archives of those written by the hamfish. Regularly poignant, often humourous and beautifully crafted every time – highly recommend a read.
Haha thanks Brain for your insights, you certain have given some great tips to think about! But it is important to call out, is that we all do play the game differently, some love the hunt, others lovely the social events, whilst others love the creative expression of logs. We are not all going to embrace and embellished stories of our caching adventures, nor will we all share in the woes of the DNF nemisis – but it’s nice to share some of the etiquette associated with what you should or should not add to a log.
I encourage us all that if we receive a log from a new geocacher, to remember that we were were all newbies at some stage and it takes time to learn the etiquette relating to log writing – you can always reach out to them and welcome them to our community and perhaps give them some tips.
Keen to hear your thoughts, who in the community inspires you through their logs? Share some of your favourite logs below!
With another exciting Mega on the horizon and an influx of new geocachers within our community, Geocaching Victoria thought that it would be great to launch a new blog series – specifically for Beginners. I am sure that many of us have been in a conversation on a Monday morning, where you are asked what you did over the weekend….
“I went geocaching and ….” geo-what?
“Yeah I climbed some sand dune looking for…..” Tupperware?
“Drove a few hundred kms for a find….” insert look of disbelief here…..
But how often do you find that you spark the interest of someone that can see passed your geo-nerdiness and can appreciate the adventure, the opportunity for great family time but perhaps also the challenge.
As we count down to our next Mega, (yes in only 126 days) – we would love to introduce this crazy game to those whose interest is sparked, to let them in on our little geo-secrets and perhaps convert them from being a “muggle” to one of our own. Do we dare?
Recently I spoke to Tim from veevers12 who started playing the game in 2019, precovid and asked him how he got into the game and what advice he had for those curious about geocaching.
Hi veevers12, can you please share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love?
My daughter had a school geocaching excursion to Westerfolds Park in Templestowe in mid 2019. We had not heard of geocaching before then, so we gave it a try by looking at GC60BE0 Eltham Fire Brigade (now archived) after the kids had their swimming lessons at Eltham Leisure Centre. We soon wanted to find another, then another, then another, then we were hooked and we have been hooked ever since. We started with a basic membership, but on one of our early geocaching outings my daughter and I bumped into shack1961 who told us we would probably sign up for premium soon and never look back. She was right!
Some of the things we love most about geocaching are:
It gives us something really fun to do as a family.
It takes us to lots of different places and when we are at a loose end, instead of being bored, we go and find a cache.
We have met lots of really nice people. We love how people of all different ages and different interests are able to get along and talk about their adventures.
It connects us with other people, some of whom we may never meet, but who have interests in geocaching in common.
Every time someone posts a find log on one of our caches. We love reading every log, especially the ones with a story.
Okay so I am a little bit excited with your response, sorry total #geonerd here – I have to ask what is your favourite type of geocache and why?
We find this hard to choose as we like them all, however there are three particular types that we like. One is a good puzzle, another is a good gadget cache, and the other is any cache that takes us to a really nice secluded location. A geocache that does all three of these is the ultimate.
When you first started geocaching, what helped you learn more about geocaching (cache types, styles of hides, puzzles etc)
Quite often, it was other geocachers that we bumped into at caches or at events that have helped us with this, however most of what we have learnt has been from solving and finding geocaches of all different types and styles. We also looked at lots of geocaching videos on YouTube when we were stuck at home during lockdown. We particularly enjoyed the videos from West Virginia Tim.
Research is a great suggestion, what advice would you give a newbie geocacher just starting out?
If you can’t find a cache, don’t give up. Don’t ask for hints too soon as it is much more satisfying to go back to a cache multiple times and eventually find it than it is to ask someone where it is. If you can’t find it, check the hint, check when it was last found and read some of the past logs. If you still can’t find it, leave it and try again with a fresh mindset. If you can’t find it after multiple visits then message the cache owner (CO) for an additional hint.
Look for good areas to go geocaching. We looked for caches that had lots of favourite points when we were starting and they gave us lots of joy and helped us to get hooked (thanks Mister Doctor!)
We also recommend that you write a good log. Something more than ‘got it’ or ‘found’. This is much more rewarding for the cache owner who has gone to the trouble of hiding the cache for you. Try to log your finds promptly and try not to copy/paste logs too much.
Over the past few years, what has been your most memorable cache/cache adventure?
We remember most of them. There are a few that stand out. Winding Waters (GC367RT) was one of our first as it was in a beautiful location and we went back to it so many times with more and more ideas and tools before we finally managed to locate and retrieve the cache. My daughter really enjoyed our time at Hillcrest Hike (GC1CD5F) because it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We also really enjoyed our adventure after the Community Celebration Event at Wangaratta when we decided to do the Wherigo 3MC Workout (GC8HWM6) because it just kept going and going. We bumped into The Easter Bunnies, who I went to uni with, who joined us for the adventure. We didn’t know when the adventure would end and by the time we got back to the car it was very late and very dark!
Thank you so much veevers12 for sharing your insights! Now for those of you that are new, or for those geocachers that have friends and family that are curious about geocaching – we have a brand new event scheduled which is perfect for newbies.
Geocaching Victoria is excited to announce a newbie event in the lead up to the Whittlesea Mega (GC9WXFY). This will be held at the Whittlesea Showgrounds on Sunday 28th August 2022 @ 10.30am. We encourage all those new to geocaching or curious about what geocaching is, to attend.
For those in the community who have been caching for a while, we would love you to tag a muggle and introduce them to this great game of ours.
Who doesn’t love geocaching with our furry friends often affectionately referred to as Geo-Dogs or Geo-Pups. I know that since my Geo-Pup joined our family Ally became an integral part of our family, she often accompanies Ross and I on geocaching day trips or weekends away!
But caching with our Geo-Dogs does come with responsibility and I thought that I would share a couple of thoughts on some “Geo-Dog Etiqutte”
Geo-Dog Etiquette and Reminders
When attending geocaching events with our dogs, they must always remain on a short lead. As much as we love our furry friends, not everyone is comfortable with dogs (large or small) and some in our community also have allergies to dogs. By keeping our dogs on a lead, it helps to encourage an environment where everyone is safe and comfortable to attend events. Leads should be short and not retractable so as to keep our Geo-Dogs close by our side.
When it comes to dog training, we have a community with a whole lot of different expectations, so some general principles should apply.
Don’t let your dogs jump on others or on picnic furniture
Ask permission of the dog owner before you pat or hug a Geo-Dog (no matter how cute they are)
If meeting another Geo-Dog, ask permission of owner that your dogs can meet. Some smaller dogs or puppies may still be learning to be around bigger, well trained dogs.
Be prepared that dogs will poop and you will need to clean up after them
Assistance Dogs (Service Dogs, Guide Dogs or Hearing Dogs) should wear their coats to signifiy to others that they play a special role in your life and that they are working. It is really important that we don’t pat an assistance dog, as they are trained to provide love and support to their owner. But they are working hard in their role and we should respect that.
We can’t actually take our Dogs to all cache locations so it is important that we do our research before we take our furry friends caching! Some things to consider:
National Parks – Dogs are not allowed in most National Parks in Victoria. As a general rule, driving through a national park on a public road with pets in the vehicle are permitted, provided they remain in the car. But this is not always the case, so be sure to check and plan your journey ahead of time.
State Forests – Most State Forests are open to dogs, but there are a few exceptions. So be sure to do your research and confirm each location.
If you are lucky enough to be caching with your Geo-Dog, be sure to give him or her a special mention in your log, because who doesn’t love a good shout out when you have done a good job helping to sniff out a geocache! Maybe even share a photo of your geo pups adventure in finding the cache.