A friend got inspired by the high quality geoaches he saw on Progeocaching and put together one which is an
example of how to make an excellent creative geocache. He suggested that I might like to check it out and put it up on Progeocaching. It's located in some bush in the south of Sydney, Australia.
The cache was placed on 11 November 2011 (11/11/11), so the co-ordinates and numbers used to solve the final co-ordinates are based around that.
I know that he went to some trouble to make this as high quality as possible.
So what is it that makes this a high quality geocache?
- Adventure. It's a great walk/ride in to areas that few people visit.
- Physically challenging. It involved mountain biking, some bush-bashing and rock climbing - but nothing exhausting;
- Mentally challenging. It required doing some research, solving a puzzle and following some instructions on how to operate the equipment - but you didn't need to be Einstein;
- Educational. Because of the research involved I learnt things that I didn't know before.
- Nice location. It's in the middle of a nice piece of bush and is somewhere that I wouldn't have visited if not for this.
- Overall good experience. I came away with a sense of achievement and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Isn't that what's it's all about?
There is no comparison to some dodgy micro located in a non-descript location.
I rated this very highly. It's an example of a high quality geocache and is what we all should be aspiring to.
Well done mate!
Check out the video.
If you can't see the video, click here.
I've been hammering on about poor quality geocaches for a while now. One of my least favourites is the Lamp
Pole Cache (LPC). Once you've done one, you've done them all. They are usually located in the middle of a parking lot at the local mall. Nothing to see here - move along please...
The other types that you come across fairly frequently - especially in the US - are green power boxes (padmount transformers), electrical transmission tower legs and sometimes even FAKE electrical boxes/equipment.
I have found quite a few such caches but never really seriously considered the risks involved. After all, whoever heard of anyone getting zapped touching those things?
I recently came across a blog that woke me up to the risks involved. The blog is by Johnnygeo who is a Health & Safety Professional working a large Canadian power utility company. He warns of the dangers of placing and finding geocaches that are located on or near electrical equipment.
Geocaches placed under the skirts of LPCs expose finders to the risk of being electrocuted from wiring that has shorted. What is particularly dangerous is when the cache is hidden inside the pole, where people are sticking their fingers near wiring. Even if the cache is not hidden inside the pole, people will still investigate there if the cache doesn't turn up immediately.
What's the danger with fake electrical boxes?
Johnnygeo says, "Children tend to stick their hands in anywhere and if a child can open a cover to something they’ll do it cause they’re curious. They learn what's safe and what's not safe by watching adults. If we teach kids that it’s okay to open up fake electrical boxes because caches are hidden in them, then I feel that we are placing children in danger."
What about green power boxes that you find in neighborhoods, parks and schools?
He says, "Generally those boxes are safe. Are they meant for playing on? The answer is no. A question is asked of me all the time, "Could this electrical equipment ever be unsafe?" The answer is a definite yes."
Cars hit this type of equipment all the time and the damage is not reported right-away. If damaged the equipment can be sitting there with their metal case energized. As soon as a person touches a piece of equipment they would be electrocuted. Also, a city can have the best electrical maintenance program in the world and still have the odd piece of equipment fail. This could be a green electrical box in front of your house or a lamp post in a park.
What about geocaching on a piece of electrical equipment (i.e. a transmission tower leg). The probability of a piece of
electrical equipment failing is low. However if it did fail, then if a person touches it, they become the path to ground - which is usually fatal. Even if it doesn't kill, it could still give you severe burns - as the nasty picture on the right shows.
So don't place geocaches on electrical equipment.
The other issue he deals with is that LPCs and electrical equipment are usually on private property, and you need the owner's permission to place geocaches there.
So in summary, if you are thinking of placing a geoache under the skirt of a lamp pole, or on a piece of electrical equipment - think again. Not only are these types of geocaches poor quality, and worthless pieces of trash they can also kill or maim.
Groundspeak needs to consider banning the hiding of any geocache on electrical equipment.
It would eliminate a lot of trash caches and reduce the risk for all of us.
Now if only we could find a way to ban all micros and nanos on the grounds of safety! '-)
Today I thought I'd talk about something different.
I was out finding a cache (GC2Z9KW) today in the bush that is near where I live. As it turns out it was an excellent cache. The container was large... yes large! It was hidden in a beautiful piece of bush near a small creek. It was really worth the several kilometre walk to find it.
Spring has sprung here in Sydney and the wildflowers are out and are sight to behold.
One of the big reasons why we go geocaching is to enjoy the outdoors. It's about adventures and experiences, and one of the great experiences is enjoying creation at its best.
Because I am out in the bush so much I thought that I should learn more about the local flora and fauna. So I bought a book and a CD about plants that grow locally. Now, I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, but it's nice to be able to walk through the bush and identify the various plants that I encounter. It's also good to watch the changing seasons and know the different times that plants bloom. It gives you a closer connection with nature.
I got my camcorder out and recorded a small sample of blooms that you'll see if you take the time stop and smell the ... err wildflowers.
Go out and enjoy your local piece of the outdoors.