The email alert on my Blackberry chimed at 2:30pm on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. I noted the subject line, ‘One your marks, get set…’, as I opened it up.
Nothing else to read. I noticed a jpg attached to the email and opened it up to reveal an image of a geocaching.com listing.
The Cumbyrocks crew collected themselves together and headed off in the direction of waypoint one. It wasn’t long till we found ourselves on the lawn of the Otago Museum with the whole family searching the various nooks and crannies of the trees. Time dragged on and, with no luck finding the waypoint, we elected to phone kjwx for a hint. One quick call and a march of 40 metres later we found ourselves standing in the front of the museum sign, staring at the small QR code on the side.
Not the best start to our birthday mission.
The QR code, thanks to the Blackberry, transported us to a TB listing page.
And we were off to waypoint two. The family took a number of guesses along the way as to where the waypoint would be, with all assuming that it was in the vicinity of the oldest Cumbyrocks Jnr’s school.
But the school came and went. Hmmm, wrong again.
Down a side street near one of our favourite places, Dunedin’s Woodhaugh Gardens, the GPS zero’d out in front of an average looking student flat. A quick check of the listing…numbers…magnetic…ah-ha!
A clever little hide with the instructions for waypoint three tucked in behind.
The third waypoint was in the direction of home so we started off that way. The warm and sunny afternoon had passed quickly and all the walking had worn out the kids. Being close to dinner it was time to interrupt the mission for the kids food and bed. I’d get to finish my mission solo in the evening.
At home I realised how silly I had been not to look at the location of waypoint three on the map as it was right outside the front door of my college! Finding it was an entirely different story.
I had been instructed to do this one while the light was good and unfortunately the light was fading fast. Then the worst happened – the battery in the Blackberry died. I attempted to search in the general vicinity but without being sure I was in the right place I never felt able to search one area thoroughly. A quick trip inside to get the Oregon saw me return to near darkness and the need to get the torch from the car.
Another 30 minutes of searching and with the impending rugby world cup quarter final involving the national team approaching I again elected to phone for help. kjwx obliged and soon the waypoint was in hand. A very sneaky fake leaf, close enough in colour to fool the muggles but different enough that it should be easily found in the daylight.
Onto waypoint four, the final, I ran. I knew the general area but wasn’t sure of the exact location. The general area was located in our 1940?s Art Deco building, all curves and smooth surfaces, so there were few places for it to hide. A few moments of searching and I had uncovered the sneakily hidden magnetic key holder containing the keys to the ‘cache’ box.
I raced home to get my birthday prize. My wife, somewhat surprised I had found the final waypoint, handed over the box. Excitedly fumbling the keys it took me a few moments to get it open but when I did I discovered…
That’s right, I had a whole ‘cache’ box of INATN Geocoins. We had talked about doing this but, I had assumed, not quite gotten around to it. As the post title says, it was the best geocaching birthday present ever!
A HUGE thanks to kjwx for all the fun and especially the coins – doing this odd hobby/game/sport with you is one of my favourite experiences!
And I’m not the only one who can enjoy having their very own INATN Geocoin – you can too! That’s right, we have a whole bunch of INATN geocoins for sale, so make sure you check them out and get yours today.
Finally, a few words from kjwx on torture…
Secrets and I don’t mix – it’s one of the reasons I became a journalist – so keeping my mouth shut from when I ordered It’s Not About The Numbers’ first geocoin till Cumbyrocks opened his present took ALL my willpower.
Initially I managed to contain myself by hypothetically discussing getting a coin made with him but that could only last for so long. Once the coins had actually arrived, I felt like I was going to burst.
And while 90 per cent of New Zealand collectively chewed on its fingernails last Sunday before the All Blacks v Australia Rugby World Cup semifinal, I was nervously eyeing my phone for breaking news of Peter’s search.
When he mentioned leaving the last half of the four waypoints I’d set up till the following day, I wasn’t sure my nerves could take the overnight delay. Twice I even offered to let him skip waypoints, not as much for his benefit as mine.
But the PXT that arrived from his wife (and one of my co-conspirators) showing the moment he opened the final container made the weeks of zipping my lips worth the effort.
Of course, the coins were already well known about in my hometown of Wellington as I’d donated a couple to various geo-events but everyone who vaguely knew my brother was sworn to secrecy. Which nicely segues into me thanking Bruce Milne (GC handle: Guwapo’s Papa) for doing all my legwork in Dunedin, Gerard Hyland (GC handle: GSVNoFixedAbode) for helping me plan my faux waypoints, Cumbyrocks’ geo-widow for being an amazingly co-operative sister-in-law, and Emma Ziesel of American manufacturer Oakcoins for holding my hand throughout the ordering process.