Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting activity, where participants search for containers called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches, using GPS-enabled devices, placed in locations worldwide.
Caches are variable but most are small containers, which have in them a logbook and pen or pencil. Some contain items which can be swapped with items of the finder’s choice but it must be something of similar value, items left are not of a high monetary value but might be a postcard, small toys, small coins or trinkets.
Some boxes contain items known as trackables or what is known as travel bugs, which are taken and left in different caches around the world. Some trackables have a destination of choice, which is listed on-line by the person who originally placed it.
Geocaching started after the removal of Selective Availability from the Global Positioning System on May 2, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located.
Geocaching relies on the goodwill and honesty of it players and the general public and each cache has written details telling the general public about the game and requesting they place it back where they find it. If a cache has been vandalized or stolen it is said to have been “muggled”. A term taken from the Harry Potter series of books which were popular at the same time geocaching got its start. The site has its own guidelines but the basic rules are to not endanger others, minimize the impact on nature, to respect private property and avoid public alarm.
A new Cache was added this week to the Geocaching website – the new placement can be found at Silvaland horse riding centre, Corfu.
Details of the new cache at Silvaland can be found on the following link http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5WVKA_silvaland
To participate in Geocaching you must first register on the Geocaching site www.geocaching.com
To find out more about Silvaland Riding Centre please refer to their website http://silvaland.wix.com/corfu or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The following is a piece writing by Costas Varthis, a Geocaching enthusiast.
I heard of Geocaching years ago but never gave any notice to it, I thought it was something done mostly in the USA or big European cities. In February I was on the internet chatting with a friend in Wales and she mentioned that she was looking for a cache near her house. She briefly explained geocaching and mentioned that there were a few in Corfu. I instantly went on the http://www.geocaching.com site and saw that Corfu had about 50 caches. I signed up and got a better idea of what was involved. On the 11th February 2015 I decided to leave home a bit earlier for my trumpet lesson and have a quick look for a cache (Corfu, the garden of the Gods) I went to the park not prepared at all, I didn’t have GPS with me but I knew the general area the cache was hidden from the pictures posted by other Geocachers.
I entered the park from the side gate, there were only a few people in the distance so I went straight to the monument mentioned and looked around it and under it to see if I could find the cache but there was nothing there. So thought that the cache was probably not on the monument itself but in close proximity to it. I started looking around but couldn’t see anywhere where it could be hidden. It was quite funny because I was just pretending to take a walk while sneakily looking around making sure nobody was looking and I was trying to act looking normal. I even was taking pictures of the monument pretending I was interested in it. I looked at nearby walls, plants, trees and around the area but nothing. I thought that the cache was probably taken and slightly disappointed, I gave up, it was time to go to my music lesson.
I made my way to leave the park from the central gate and I passed next to a monument that looked very similar to the one I was looking at. In slight confusion I stepped backed and looked at the monument in the distance I had searched and the one I was now standing by. I read the inscription on the monument I realised that I had been looking in the wrong place. Excitement had returned, I started looking around and running my fingers feeling for a cache in places I couldn’t directly see. I moved around it and then saw I saw an area that would be ideal to hide a cache but couldn’t see anything in it. As my newly found buzz of excitement was fading away and disappointment was creeping back I unconsciously stuck my hand in the empty space and to my surprise I got hold of something. I brought my hand out and opened my palm, I was holding a black film roll container. The spot it was hidden didn’t allow much light to hit it so it was dark and the black container just camouflaged itself into nothingness. (If I hadn’t stuck my hand in I would’ve left thinking there was no cache there) I step away and open the container, always looking around me so nobody sees me. In it there was a paper strip with name date and time tags.
I never thought of taking a pen with me so I looked in my trumpet case for one and luckily I found one. I quickly signed the log and took some pictures with my mobile phone. Time to put the container back where I found it. A quick check no one was looking, I can see some people pushing their kids on the swings at the far end of the park. I was worried if someone sees me it will look suspicious hiding something and what if they look after and take the cache away. Or will they think I am hiding something illegal for someone else to find. In the fashion of a criminal/spy/secret agent, I was again trying to act normal, I started taking pictures of the monument and surrounding area. Changing angles, acting like a tourist but every time taking a step closer to the hiding place. Once close enough a quick scan around and I dart my hand in the hiding place leaving the container behind. Without a pause I briskly walk away, out of the park and straight to my music lesson. All in all the whole experience gave me a buzz and sense of achievement. It wasn’t something special it was just finding a plastic container and logged the fact that I did but it was enough to get me hooked.
Once I got home I logged my find on the website and started looking at the other caches. I downloaded some GPS applications from my mobile so that I can identify more accurately the location of the next cache and not just guess. For the next cache I identified 2 close to where I live, one was one in the old fortress and the other was a multi cache (Corfu a magical town). For the multi cache I needed to find clues around town that gave information in finding the final coordinates of the cache. So when I was in town I visited these location found the clues and took pictures of them. Once home I found the final coordinates and put them in google maps so I knew the general area.
One sunny day I went for a walk with a friend and as we were passing the old fort I suggested to her we went geocaching, so we went into the fort and followed the GPS on my mobile. Once in the general area I started looking for the cache, I started systematically looking at one end so I can get to the other. My friend went a bit further ahead of me and shouted ‘Maybe this is the area it is hidden’ I turned around & shouted ‘Don’t you dare look its mine’ she stopped in her tracks. Quickly I went to the area she had identified, it was very obvious it was the hiding place. So I stepped forward and removed a masonry bit to reveal the cache. Again this cache had just a logbook, which was full. We found some space at the back to sign it before put in it back as we found it. As I was leaving I thought I should revisit the cache and add some more log paper.
The multi cache was not far away from the old fort so I suggested we went to find that one too. We got to the area showing by an app I downloaded, I couldn’t really see where it could be hidden. I heard of micro caches with magnets so I run my fingers on a metal grill and I felt an anomaly which I picked off with a pinch. It was a tiny metal magnetic cache. It was extremely small, much smaller than what I expected. I unscrewed the tip and revealed a little strip of paper, which again was full. It was so small and narrow there was no room to add any more names. I open my wallet and found a raffle ticket, it was long and narrow, and so I cut a thin strip off and signed it and rolled it up with the other strip that was already there. I had to wait about 5 minutes before putting it back to where I found it as there was a couple taking pictures and talking close by and I didn’t want them to see me putting it back it. Again I logged my findings on the site later in the day and researched from more caches. I knew there were other ones bigger than the ones I have already found, Caches that contained traceable and swappable items etc.
I got myself a hip bag and filled it geocaching items, so every time I go out searching I have it with me and I have all the necessary things needed. The bag now contains little miniature rubber ducks for swapping as well as other little items like miniature mugs, toy cars, and bouncy balls. I put some pens, pencils and paper in case I come across other caches whose logbook are full. I also carry a small plastic container just in case I came across a damaged cache, latex gloves as there were possibilities that some cashes would be covered in dirt or insects and I also printed some post card for any post card caches I came across.
I tend to take long drives over the weekend to random destinations. I decided that I should now have a destination to a cache. So one day I chose to go to Perithia with my girlfriend and while we were there we looked for the 2 caches, shown to be hidden there. On the way up I came across a spot with a great view so we stopped to have a look. Out of curiosity I looked at my app to see how close we were to Perithia, the app showed me I was 80meters away from the Corfu Postcard Cache, which I found it quite easily. It was a Tupperware container jammed packed with postcards from all over the world, most had messages on them. After I read a few I left a post card of my own, it was so full I just about managed to close the lid. This is a cache I would love to revisit and spend some time reading the messages. We then went on to Perithia, we parked and I identified the first location. We looked high and low for the cache but with no luck, it seems it had been taken. We moved onto the next one that was a nice walk into the old village, the app showed I was only a meter or so away from it, so I went into the half demolished house, which was so full of brambles my jacket got caught in in them and I slowly had to release myself. I assumed the box was behind the brambles so I thought I would leave it as it was not worth getting injured for this. As I leave, I turn round and noticed a brick pit of place, on the outside wall. I knew straight away I had been looking at the wrong side. This cache was a small Tupperware with a logbook and a couple of swappable items.
The great thing about most of the caches is that they are near places of interest or with a great view. So you always get this bonus when you go looking for one. The Throne of the Emperor, was a great Virtual Cache with stunning views and I don’t think I would have gone there if I didn’t see it on Geocaching. There are also event caches available, which is an event organised by a geocacher, one was created by a French couple, whilst they were on a cruise, they created an event cache for each of their stops. I met them outside the port, we sat for a quick coffee and we talked about our experiences, they were very into it. They found 2 caches while in Corfu and on average find about 1000 find a year. They gave me 4 trackables to place in caches of my choice.
The old Perithia cache, is not the only one I haven’t found. I haven’t found the one in Acharavi as I was told it had been taken, as had the one at St Stephanos view point and the one by the British cemetery. For a long time I thought the micro cache at Kanoni was also taken, I had been searching for it a few times with no luck but each time I would search only for a very short time as there were always people around especially at the café nearby, so I looked very suspicious. Once I saw other people finding it I knew it was still there so one night I had a final look and I found it.
Other caches I have found are at Benitses springs (great walk with great views of small waterfalls) original cache was taken but a visitor had left a make shift one made out of chewing gum container and some paper for a log. The Trumpetta view point was very interesting as I couldn’t find it so thought it was another one taken but as I was walking back to the car, I saw a white feta cheese container discarded on the side of the road that looked like rubbish, I picked it up and it was the cache. Inside I found my very first trackable. I put it back to where I thought its original place was and covered it up as it should’ve been.