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Project APE Search: Mission Impossible?

The Australian player who claimed the FTF on his hometown Project APE cache rates the chances of finding that container 11 years on.

When Glenn Capuano fired up his GPSr on July 14, 2001, little did he know he was about to star in Australia’s geo-history.

Forty minutes later, he had the FTF on GC1958 Project APE – Mission 8: Wattle’s Edge; the eighth of a 12-hide series that would become internationally celebrated.

“Project APE was such a long time ago and I remember thinking there would be many more of these promotional things and was excited about the future of geocaching – but it never happened again.”

The demographer from Ringwood, Victoria jokes it probably didn’t help that the 2001 Planet Of The Apes movie was “a bit of a flop”.

Back then, Capuano (GC handle: Quasar) was a novice at the fledging sport, having taken up geocaching only a month earlier. The Project APE cache was his fifth find ever and his first in an ammo can.

“I recall seeing that the next APE cache would be in Australia, then they said it was in Victoria and, when the co-ords came out, I realised it wasn’t too far from home. So I grabbed my stuff and went down to Wattle Park and managed to get the first to find, which I was thrilled about,” he told It’s Not About The Numbers this week.

Lead role: Glenn Capuano

“These days I wouldn’t have a hope – FTF is generally within about half an hour of publishing, and I’ve now got two kids and no hope of getting away quickly.

“From memory, I wandered around the park in circles for about half an hour before finding it. It was only an ammo box propped up against a tree and covered in branches. I had a Magellan GPS 315, second-hand, which turned out to have a problem with the antenna so it didn’t pick up satellites too well.

“It probably wasn’t accurate to more than 50 metres most of the time (but I didn’t know that; being my first GPS, I thought it was normal). And, of course, there were no Google Maps or anything, so you couldn’t tell easily where a cache was.”

His online log read:

Mission successfully completed 14/7/2001 approx 13:30. This is a popular area on a Saturday. There were a number of suspicous looking individuals (possibly government agents) posing as civic-minded people removing rubbish from the park. I was a little concerned that they may stumble across the cache and remove it. After a half-hour search, I found it and took the curiously shaped knife inside. Took two pictures on the camera and left it for the next visitor. I left some examples of current and historic planet Earth currency, which could be useful if a future mission involves time travel …”

As the FTF, Capuano had his pick of the official movie props inside. He chose a lethal-looking knife – which he still has “somewhere” – accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. “I remember watching the movie looking for it but could never see the scene where it was used. Someone must also have the T-shirt that was the 2TF prize, which I always kind of wished I’d taken.”

Four months on and 14 finders later – including INATN blogger Gavin TreadgoldGC1058 disappeared, which Capuano says, in hindsight, was not surprising – “it was a really obvious location that was always going to get muggled”.

“I don’t know what happened to the container, and I don’t know your chances of finding it. What I’d really be interested to know is who planted the cache? I had assumed Geocaching.com used a local cacher to place them, but there were only about a dozen active cachers in Victoria at the time (and about 20 caches in the whole state).”

Regardless, Capuano still rates his experience favourably. “Finding the APE cache really kept me interested in caching in those days when you might have to travel 200km to get a couple of hides, and 3300 finds and 11 years later I’m still going strong – albeit intermittently.”

*Have you logged any of the 12 Project APE caches? If yes, tell us about it below … 

 

1 comment

  1. professorbenson

    Those APE caches are the stuff of legends.

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