Geocaching

About Geocaching

So what is this ‘geocaching’ thing anyway?
Simply put, geocaching is treasure hunting for the 21st century. Armed with a GPS receiver, a set of coordinates that tell you the location of a cache, and a healthy sense of adventure, players go out and look for caches of goodies hidden by other geocachers. If one of the goodies in the cache strikes your fancy, you can take it–provided you leave another goodie in its place.

from Buxley’s Geocaching Waypoint

What tools do I need?

You don’t need a lot to start geocaching… well, maybe you do. You can start out relatively cheaply if you want or you can spend a small fortune if you happen to like gadgets.

Internet Connection
I’ll assume you have one of these, otherwise how are you reading this? You need the connection so that you can visit the websites that tell you what caches are out there, such as geocaching.com

A way to find the waypoints
Waypoints are given as a set of coordinates. Technically, you can find these with a map (Google Earth rocks) and compass (very cheap way to start and a good way to hone your map-reading skills), but these days it’s much more fun to buy a GPS unit and use that to find the caches!

A Sense of Adventure
This is modern-day treasure-hunting. If you don’t think that sounds like fun you probably won’t like this game.

My Geocaching Kit

Garmin GPSMAP 60C
A colour, hand-held GPS unit. All sorts of fabulous features

MapSource
Mapping software that links to the GPS. This lets me see, on screen where the geocaches are. I upgraded so that I could have the street-level data. Now it will plot a route to various caches.

Google Earth
This is fab software that lets you zoom in on photographs of the cache zone – gives you a good idea of what you’re looking for before you get there. Can never be too prepared!

GSAK
This software, written by a fellow Australian, helps us to organise and filter caches. We download information from geocaching.com and load it in here. We can then export it to the GPS unit, my palm and MapSource.

Palm Tungsten T3
We use this handy device to hold information files and logs of caches. Often you’ll need to read a description to really find a cache. You can, of course, print it out before you head off caching, which to tell the truth can make life a bit easier… whatever works for you!

General Kit
I have a stash of goodies for swapping, a couple of pens, some pretty stickers to decorate the logs, baby wipes in case we get our hands dirty, rubber gloves in case a cache zone has some unpleasant items near it, a camera to record the fun, aeroguard to keep the Aussie bugs at bay (not really needed in Ireland…) and sunscreen.

Stuff

The Joys of Suffrage

Suffragettes won the vote in the early 20th centuryI went off to vote today. I kind of stuffed it up tho cos I thought I’d be all smart and go to a different place so that I could do an absentee vote. Last time I did that I walked straight past the massive queue and was in and out within 5 minutes. So, I think I’ll be smart and do this again. I go to the Melbourne Town Hall – it’s big, should be pretty cool.

Well was I ever so wrong! The first thing I see is a massive line, a good 100 metres long. I wander up towards the front and see that it says “interstate” – haven’t these people heard of postal votes??? So I ask a polling officer person where I should go – she points to another line. They’ve lumped the locals and the absentee voters in together in the one line. It goes around the block!

Anyway, I figure it’s moving fast and I might as well stand in it until I can find something better. So I line up behind some woman who is complaining rather loudly that she should have a smaller line because she lives in the area. She’s asking people where they live and telling them to go somewhere else because this is HER line (I didn’t see her name on it)

She grumbled the entire way into the building where an official person asks us all which suburb we live in – turns out that federally I’m in the local seat, so I miss out on going to the nothing queue inside and have another long queue where I get to listen to more complaints from Miss Grumpy Pants, who by this stage is convinced that noone in the line lives nearby!

Took a surprisingly small amount of time to get through it all so that was good. Now we wait to see the results, will Australia dump Howard and risk the unknown??? Will Pauline get a senate seat??? Does anyone really care???