Vive La Cache

It’s Not About The Numbers caches up with Dunedin’s Gerard Hyland (GC handle: GSVNoFixedAbode) after a 26-day holiday to Britain and France to learn about his favourite foreign finds.

“There are those of us who go on caching holidays, and those of us who go on holiday and get to cache – I’m in the latter camp.  My patient and long-suffering other half never quite caught the caching bug but does understand my addiction.  After many years of dreaming, saving and planning, we finally got to explore parts of Europe and Britain in June.  And I got to cache!

“Knowing that my caching time would be only a footnote of our daily explorations, I decided to limit myself to virtuals and traditionals in the areas I knew we were visiting.  No time for multis and puzzles this trip. Over the month we were planning to stay one or two nights in each location. That in itself meant a number of pocket queries to build up a GSAK database of potential targets.  My goal was one or two caches per day, if and when I had the opportunity.

“Did I achieve my goal? Nearly. The numbers: 26 days; 49 found; 8 DNFs; 3 missed days.  Those three lost days included activities and sights which had higher priorities than caching (gasp!), so other goals were achieved.  The DNFs were more to do with stale PQs and not doing my homework by reading previous logs to identify the state of those hides.  Only two on that DNF list have since been found by others.

“Just like anywhere around the globe, there were good and bad caches, covering all sizes and types.  It appears that the common theme for centres on the tourist routes is nanos to supplement the existing virtuals.  Other places away from the big cities had the usual range of micro, small and regular caches.

“Now for my favourites; there’s not the room to go through them all so I’ll be brief.  The first one that leaps out has to be my inaugural ‘find’ on foreign soil.  It turned out to be French virtual GC6612 Who is She, in Paris.  This is photo-required virtual in an area I loved: the Jardin des Tuileries in front of the Louvre museum.  The requirements weren’t strenuous, but, for me, the sculpture represented all the artwork on display around Paris and was a memorable first find. It’s also where my wife and I had a late-evening supper of red wine, pastries and breadstick – perfect.

“Next would have to be GC43 Europe’s First on the east coast of Ireland, just south of Dublin.  It’s in the top 10 list of oldest caches still active worldwide and, as Europe’s first placed cache, I decided it was worth tweaking our itinerary to hunt for this one.  As an early cache it had it all: a walk, scenery, history and a good sized container.  If you’re in Dublin with transport then it’s worth the few hours to head out and grab this one.  Of course now I have to plan a trip to Wellington, New Zealand to get the historic GC46 as by comparison that one’s in my own backyard.

“We spent the last few days of the holiday in London so I had to add GCK7HH Royal Observatory Greenwich to my list of must-do caches and I’m glad I did.  Getting there involved a river cruise on the Thames, viewing the Thames Barriers, historic buildings, docks and sculptures, so I include all those sights when thinking back to this one.  While Groundspeak HQ in Seattle, Washington and Dave Ulmer’s first cache location in Oregon are considered pilgrimage destinations for cachers, I would add Greenwich as a must for all those who navigate: cachers, mariners, adventurers, explorers all!  Standing on the Prime Meridian, as well as seeing all the zeros on the GPS, were definite highlights of the geocaching side of this holiday.

“Other caches, other memories? Oh yes, lots, including catching up with an old caching buddy for a couple of cache hunts around the Berkshire town of Reading. But far too many even for the generous space allowed in this guest post.  I’ll leave you with one last image of a dragon found in a forest an hour’s drive from the Welsh capital of Cardiff.  After completing two regular caches in the woods near Castle Coch, I stumbled across this fellow purely by chance on the way back to the car.  Now that’s what caching is all about.

“So to the cache owners across Paris, England and Ireland I say TFTC!”

1 comment

  1. kjwx

    I definitely agree you should visit GC46 – I’m actually taking an Otago geocacher – and a few Wellingtonians – out there this weekend. The fact Kevin Anderson’s original logbook is still in use makes it even better.

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