Sibling Rivalry

They say the “family that plays together, stays together” so it was with great delight that geo-siblings Cumbyrocks and kjwx embarked on their first caching trip recently.

Here, the duo relate their experiences trying to sneak in a few finds on a fleeting visit to the New Zealand city of Palmerston North for their grandmother’s funeral.

This sad event was also the impetus for their first joint hide, In The End It’s Not Really About The Numbers (GC2PQ3P).


Okay, so we both loved our dear Nana but our first conversation after she died went something like this:

kjwx: Hi

cumbyrocks: Hi, you hear about Nana?

kjwx: Yup. You coming up for the funeral.

cumbyrocks: Yeah. Flying into Wellington and then driving up to Palmy with you.

kjwx: Yay, caching road trip!

So this was something we were looking forward to doing, though neither of us was quite sure how well we might work together. Being the ‘out-of-towner’ and with little time to spend perusing the plethora of caches between Wellington and Palmy I handed over the planning reins to kjwx…with a few stipulations (no trashy urban micros, I wanted quality not quantity). This was a suitably hard thing to do for a control freak but I must admit that kjwx’s excellent cache memory (her own personal, in built ‘cache’…so to speak) very quickly produced a list of potentials that flooded my email inbox.  So I departed Dunedin knowing the possibilities were endless and I needn’t worry about planning.

Within minutes of hitting the tarmac, we were off on the first cache hunt. I was given the option of a 4-star terrain challenge kjwx had not dared try or a couple of easier but wellplaced urbans she had done previously. Believing she was going to have a go at the 4-star terrain, with my assistance, I picked that one. However, I was bitterly disappointed to find her backing out just as we arrived at the start point! As it turned out the 4-star was at most a 3 and I am sure kjwx could easily handle it. Clearly, I have some work ahead of me before I get her attempting one of the Coastal Rambles series down here.

So whilst I may be more willing to risk life and limb for a cache, I must admit that she is considerably more persistent than I in looking for the more difficult caches. We stopped at a local cache whose name eludes me and after five minutes of looking I gave up. kjwx persisted for much longer and also showed a great ability to blend in and not draw attention from the number of muggles in the area.

Another difference that showed was our love of technology. I love it, whereas I suspect kjwx views it as a necessary evil. Her love of naked caching and foray into letter-boxing speaks to this. Being assimilated into the ranks of tech geek some time ago, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her new Oregon 450 and when I did I was surprised kjwx didn’t already know it backwards. In fact I’d go so far to suggest that I already knew more about it than she did! Of course this explains why she clearly has no understanding of the superiority that a Blackberry with Cachesense brings to caching. :p All power though to those that cache without GPS help.  (For the record two things stood out from my play with the 450 – the glare on the touchscreen sucks (as does its function) and the Blackberry produces the same coordinate readings (yay BB). That being said there was clearly considerably more setup needed on it and I haven’t removed it from my ‘to buy’ list just yet).

And kjwx is clearly a sneaky so and so, as evidenced by the photo at the top of this post. Revenge for that one will be sweet and will hopefully come when kjwx gets around to visiting Dunedin!


He says “geocash”, I say “geocache”. He points out locations where there should be hides, while I point out places where there actually are. I like cunning urban hides, he enjoys hideously long and difficult bush walks before logging a find.

On the face of it, our first joint expedition could have been a bloody disaster but, thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

My darling younger brother had actually billed his fleeting visit as ‘Geocaching School’ – a chance for the master to teach his apprentice – but I was reasonably confident of my abilities. I’ve cached naked after all and, as the wiser, more sensible sibling, am well aware of Cumbyrocks’ at-times overinflated ego.

Despite the sad circumstances involved, I actually couldn’t wait to pick up him from Wellington Airport. My brother is one of my most favourite people in the world and it was one of my year’s geo-goals to hit the trails with him and his three juniors. We began caching within minutes of his plane landing and didn’t stop until late the next night.

As it turns out, I learnt more than I ever could have expected:

  1. Despite 18 months apart, our bond is still such that without discussion we easily fell into a suitable geo-routine: I handled navigation, the GPS and bringing a pencil while Cumbyrocks did all the dirty work at GZ. Hey, I was wearing heels and a dress. When it came to placing our first joint hide, he sorted out the location and co-ordinates, I organised the container and took photos for the listing page – again with little dialogue on the subject.
  2. He really plays by the rules … and I mean really. But conversely he can be pretty sneaky when he wants to. I couldn’t figure out why he leapt at the chance to pay for carparking in Palmerston North, till he pointed out there was a cache in the parking building opposite the funeral venue. I’d also have snuck in many more finds on our roadtrip, possibly risking the wrath of our grieving and stressed parents. But that’s why he’s the good one.
  3. I’m embarassed about the state of lower North Island caches. Compared to the caching mecca that is Cumbyrocks’ home of Dunedin, my stomping ground kinda resembled a desolate wasteland of McCaches and ill-placed drivebys. And yes, before you point out I could amend this situation myself, I do agree but it is a large area and I’m only one cacher.
  4. Neither of us is all that impressed by my new Garmin Oregon 450. It has lots of bells and whistles, many of which I’ll never use, but its accuracy is somewhat questionable. That said, I still love it and would never trade it in for a dodgy Blackberry.
  5. It’s a damn small world, especially here in New Zealand. Who would have thought that on the same day and time as Cumbyrocks and I were logging our first Manawatu cache, that another Dunedin cacher would have been driving past in the opposite direction?
  6. And that I wished he lived much, much closer.
* And for the record, I was NOT the sibling who said “Yay, caching road trip”.


  1. Guwapo's Papa

    Geosiblings, sorry to hear about your Nana but good that you have such good memories of her.

    Cumbyrocks, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one that goes geocaching in a suit.

    Re: 5. it is a small world, sorry to have missed meeting you by just a few minutes.
    Re: 6. move to Dunners, at the risk of earning the wrath of many Dunedinites our local rag could do with some fresh journalism!!


    Guwapo, Mama & Papa

  2. kjwx

    Postscript: In light of Cumby ‘Tech Boy’ Rocks’ comment, I’ve just printed out Garmin’s manual for my Oregon 450. I will know it back to front by the next time we meet.
    While I also love technology, I’m well over teaching myself how to use it. Think I need my own ‘Tech Boy’.

Leave a Reply to kjwx Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Switch to mobile version