Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Our good friend and geobuddy LadyWaterlight was in town recently, and we got the chance to hang out with her on July 31, 2012.

On her last trip out she (thanks to us) got bitten by the geocaching bug, and she is now very much one of us.  And when she came out yet again, she asked if we could go out and do some serious caching!
We could not could not deniy her this request, and so I got to planning out a fun adventure for us.  But with fuel costing what it does these days, I wanted to not do any drive-up caches.. No I figured we needed to go somewhere where we could get some good numbers all on foot!  And that is when I decided to look north of Victoria and found the Cowichan Valley Power Trail Series or simply CVPT.  There is I believe 87 in this series, while there are a few of the Island Spirit Legacy caches tossed in here and there.  But for this trip I focused solely on the CVPT caches.

At about 5pm we picked up LadyWaterlight and made our way up island to the starting point, which we arrived at about 6pm.  There is parking very close to where the first cache in this series is, so this is where we ditched our wheels for the next three hours.

We figured that we could maybe get thirty of these caches in before we lost our light, and that became our hope and focus.  We started these caches and quickly realized that the owners cache crop had done a magnificent job of making them hidden to regular passerbys, but nice and easy for geocachers.  And we moved along at a nice pace.  We even noticed that somehow I had skipped on putting number 11 on the GPS and we still found it by guessing where it was based on past hints and distances.

Soon we got to number 30 and looked at the time... It was 9:30pm and would start to loose light fast.
We began the trek back, and soon we had no light at all.  But it was so bright out, because there was the most magnificent moon.  It was high and bright, and at one point we had to shield our eyes from it so as to not loose our night vision.

It took us roughly over and hour to get back to the Jeep, and when we arrived we high-fived and congratulated each other on a job well done.

Thanks cache crop for the magnificent series.  Be sure we will be back to work on it some more!!!!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Goodbye Maricky and Nanaimo Caching Trip

On July 21st 2012, there was an event in Nanaimo for a Vancouver Island cacher named Mericky.  This legend of geocaching from the Nanaimo Region is sadly leaving us all and moving to the mainland.
The event was a fun way to get people from all over the island to come say fairwell, and to do our usual chit-chat and photo.

There were some great new caches hidden right by the venue to find.  And as the party started to taper off, some of us with Mericky left the venue and made the finds.  It was a great time had by all, and Leafy and I discovered a great new coffee house to grab a cup of joe at in the future.

Now the rest of our trip was used to get a few wedding related things completed, but of course we utilized some of our time to grab some caches.
Sadly Sunday was a very rainy day.. And when we went out with our Nanaimo caching friends sahara_jeepers, we all got soaking wet. 

Monday proved to be the best of the days.  While it was mostly cloudy and very windy, the rain stayed away.  And because of this we go the most finds.  We went home later that day with 21 finds under our belt, and were very please with this.

Thanks Nanaimo cachers for all the great hides!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Going For The Island Caches Part 1: Blenkinsop and Langford Lakes

I call this entry "Going For The Island Caches (Part 1)" mostly because we are not done yet.  There are many islands in our local lakes and around Victoria that have caches on them, and we are determined to get them all.  With this in mind we had to aquire a boat, so we recently purchased a Seahawk 2 rowing dingy, and this is what we will be using for some of them!  
This time around we did the islands on Blenkinsop and Langford Lakes.  Those caches are "Blenkinsop Island - GC1G1A7" by Kiwibirdman & "Bring your wings, Paddle your boats Geocache - GC17W3B" by The Rubber Duckies.

We started off with "Blenkinsop Island - GC1G1A7".
And OMG !!!!
What an adventure! This has been a cache I have wanted to do for a long time, but also was the one I dreaded the most! I have read the past log entries and cringed at the thought of the stinky putrid mud, I have shivered at the thought of what may be in the water once I stepped in, and I have been afraid of the water weeds and the "Jurassic Scale" lily pads and not having the strength to get through them! But all those concerns were for not once we made it and found the cache.

I actually wish my camera that I can take in the water was functional this day so I could have documented everything, but sadly it was not. So in the end I had to bring my good camera, and this required its use only when there was not a high risk of destroying it... Otherwise it stayed in its zip-lock bag!

We got the dingy ready at the parking lot and started to walk it down. You should have seen the looks we were getting from all the cyclists passing by.
We reached the bird blind (where we decided to put in), I stepped in and the smell hit Just Leafy and I right away. YUCK! But we steeled ourselves against it and I got Leafy to get into the boat. I slowly waked the boat until we were semi-clear of the weeds that blocked the way and hopped in myself.
It was a bit of a task to get fully out into open water, but once there we were good to go.

We rowed the 200+ meters out and around to the north side of the island, and very quickly had to negotiate our way through those huge lily pads. But with a bit of grabbing and pulling we made it though and I checked for bottom with the paddle, and with a smile turned to Leafy and told her that we had made it.

I disembarked our boat and entered up to my thighs in the still stinky water. But at this point I didn't care, cause the goal was pretty much right there. Just Leafy stayed on the boat and tried to document the moment with our camera.
Once on the island there was about 10cm of water covering the place, and every step I made caused bubbles of gas to rise around my feet. And with very little effort I soon spotted the large cache in its resting place and called out "There it is", signed the log and returned as found.

I hopped back in the boat, and we made our second trip through the lily pads and headed back to shore. Once back on dry land I gave Just Leafy a high-five and a kiss, and we headed back to the Jeep to head over to Langford Lake to clean up and do one more island cache for the day.

So we arrived at Langford Lake and got our gear ready and headed down the path.
We put in at the public beach, and were pleased to see this nice clean water (as clean as clean lake water goes). Once cleaned up a bit we hopped into the boat, and started the journey.

This adventure is nothing like the last one we had, and with a bit of work we quickly made our way to the island. We made landfall at the east side, and were not greeted by any geese.
And after a short search made the find! We signed the log, and explored this tiny island a little before returning to the boat.

Once back in the boat and ready to return to shore, we realized why we made such good speed when we made the trip over.... The wind was at our backs! But now the wind was against us, and we were getting no where fast. Thankfully a nice elderly couple with their grandkids came by us in their electric motorized boat and agreed to give us a tow back to shore.

Once back we thanked our saviors, and made the short row to shore and got ready to leave.

A big thanks to Kiwibirdman and The Rubber Duckies for placing these caches that gave us a completely new and exciting adventure to add to our memories!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Island Spirit Pancake Breakfast & CITO

I tell you!  After all the fun I had over the last couple of days, I was just beat.  And when we got back to our tent after the Geocoin Event, it was head hits pillow and out like a light.

But this brings us to the last two events that completely wraps up the entire Mega weekend!  This was the Pancake Breakfast and the CITO!  Now this particular entry will cover both of these events, so this will be my last entry for the entire weekend.

We arrived to find the front gates still closed, and silly us didn't even think to drive around back and see if the other gates were open.  So we sat out there talking to another pair of cachers that had arrived early. 
Once the gates were opened and we grabbed ourselves a parking spot, and we started to make our way to where we assumed the breakfast was being cooked.

On the way there I saw sdkonkle sitting at a bench, so I decided to wander over and chat it up with him.  But Just Leafy had other plans...  She told me that she wanted to see if Paulboy (who was running the kitchen for this event) needed any help, and with that she sauntered over to the cookhouse.

After talking to with sdkonkle for a while I decided to wander over myself... Actually the smell of bacon cooking was calling to me, and was making my tummy grumble!
So off I went in search of food, but first I decided to say goodmorning to Paulboy and his crew and check up on Leafy.  Well they sure were in full swing in the kitchen, and just as Leafy had predicted Paul did need the help.  And there she was cooking that oh so awesome smelling thing that called me over in the first place.... BACON!

I said my hellos, and took a few pics of them hard at work and went to go wait in line.  This is when I heard my named called, and there was The Moss Troopers.  They motioned that they were going to toss me something, and so I prepaired to catch... and low and behold they gave me the 2010 BCGA geocoin that I wanted so much from back in the past.  They knew I wanted this coin back then because it signifies my first year of geocaching.  Unfortunatly when BCGA made these I missed the deadline and completely missed out.  But because of these very kind folks I now own one, and to them I am very greatful!

I got in line and paid for my morning meal, chatted away with The Moss Troopers and made some geocaching plans with Dave AKA Pracademics.  I am so happy for Pracademics, as he just got sworn in as a canadian citizen by that Admiral of the Pacific Naval Fleet recently. 
Talking away we made our way slowly through the line to the food, recieved our breakfast and got to sitting and eating.  I tell you, I have never been so glad for a cup of coffee as I was right then.. It was what I needed even more than the food at that moment.  And with the breakfast out of the way, I slid over to the logbook and signed for Just Leafy (remember she was busy cooking bacon) and I.

This is when I wandered over and started the CITO. 
Now for those that do not know what a CITO is, CITO stands for Cach In Trash Out.  We hold CITO events quite often as geocachers, and normally we head into a park or such and pick up trash!
At this particular CITO we were doing that too, but also puting away all equipment we used so as to return the facilities to the owners as it was before we took it over for the weekend.
And in due time, we were all done.  And once the kitchen volunteers got a chance to eat (during which Leafy decided to make her Pancake into the Batman symbol) the whole weekend came to a complete finnish.

And with that I come to a close.  Thank you Island Spirit 2012 Organizing Committee for all your hard work in making this the best geocaching weekend I have ever had to date.  Thank you all my fellow volunteers for putting in your time and dedication to make this event so special to so many cachers from far and wide.  And Thank you to all the cachers that came to the Island Spirit 2012 Mega!! It was so nice to see and meet so many of you, and I hope our paths cross again in the future!

Take care and happy hunting

ShadowcasterCDN & Just Leafy of The GO! Team

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Island Spirit 2012 Geocoin Event

With the main event finished there was one last event to attend that same evening, and that was the Island Spirit Geocoin Event - GC3M25M.  This event was the place to be to discover peoples personal geocoin and trackable collections, make trades, and to purchase the Geocoin Event geocoin!

Here many a person came to my very own table, to discover my personal collection.  Sadly I did not get around to the other tables to discover trackables, so the only ones I got to see were the ones people asked me to discover while writing down the tracking numbers on mine.

Though while being here I learned of a website that makes logging trackables super easy and not so time consuming.  This website is http://logthemall.cano.sk/ and I have to thank Alyse of alyseluvsmike for informing me of this awesome tool.  I must warn users that the site has one small glitch where it tells you that it failed in logging the trackables, but it actually has done it.  The owner of the website warns of this on the site, and it is something he can not fix.

Anyway moving forward, I also noticed that the rumored travelling geocache was sitting at the table next to me.  So Just Leafy and I have logged two of this kind of cache now!

Now to talk about the Geocoin Event geocoin!  This is a very beautiful coin that is shaped like the Province of BC and has Vancouver Island and the other coastal islands depicted on its face.  One of the coolest features is that it joins up very nicely with the geocoin from Best of the Bad (WestCan1), which happens to be shaped like the Province of Alberta. 
The talk I heard from many a person is how they are all hoping that Saskatchewan will be the host of WestCan3, and I agree!  I only hope that I will be able to go there if it is!!!!!

Anyway it was wonderful getting to meet even more people at this particular event!  Just Leafy and I hope to see you all at other events here in Canada and the United States.

Island Spirit 2012 (WestCan2)

This event was our 1500th geocache find!
What a great way to log a milestone!!!

So after a well deserved nights sleep, the big day arrives.  July 7th, 2012.. The day of all days..  Island Spirit 2012 Geocaching Mega event.  This was not just a day of fun and excitement for Just Leafy and I, since this was another event that we were working as volunteers at.
With this in mind we had to rise early that day to get to the Exhibition Grounds, because the first of our tasks were to assist with the registration tables.  Just Leafy got what I would say is the dream job of handing out the limited edition geocoins that people per-ordered over the online registration, so really she got to see their faces light up when they saw how awesome they were!

I got to work right beside her handing out event lanyards and name tags, and the highlight of this was that my partner was a groundspeak lackey named Nicole AKA Louis Bliss.  This made it very easy to complete the geocaching challenge "Meet A Lackey" and also netted us a couple of Lackey Crossing Trackables!

As time moved on the end of my time on registration came to an end, and  my next job began.  This was a particularly fun job, working at the trackables table.  Here we got a chance to talk to cachers that wanted to learn a little more about trackable dog tags and geocoins, and to help people figure out where a trackable wants to go so we can help it get there!
Here I met many a person drawn to the allure of shiny metal coins and tags, and here many were wowed by my trackable tattoo.  Some people are in awe, while others are in shock that someone would want to be be trackable.  And with all the great conversation and company I was getting, my shift came to and end.  But where was Just Leafy??

I was just starting to think it would be fun to go look at some of the merchandise that the vendors had at their booths, when I noticed Signal the Frog (groundspeak's mascot) paying a little too much attention to me.  That's when Geoprincess7 walked up to me and said that Signal wants to have a picture with me.  That was when I clued in, and realized exactly where Just Leafy was.
I agreed to have my picture with Signal, and high-fived the amphibian, and moved on to look at all the great stuff for sale.  That picture will be a conversation piece when we have a family someday, that's for sure.

I have to say Just Leafy is quite the trooper.  This particular day was very hot, and she played that role for over four hours.  That is something I would have trouble with if it was me!

Anyway, it is obvious that we did not go geocaching at all durring this event.  And that is just fine with me..  You may be asking "What!  You didn't go caching", and my answer is plain and simple. 
The Island Spirit Organizing Committee did a wonderful job of filling the day full of fun things to see and do right on site at the Mega!

 There was a kids zone, complete with fun kid type stuff.  I believe that as part of the entry fee for the kids zone, they even got to make themselves trackable tee shirts.

There was a closest to the pin contest.  This was where people who registered for the contest took a numbered flag and inputted coords to their GPSr and headed out hoping that theirs had the most accuracy for the day and planted their flag where they thought the waypoint marker really was!

Then there was the activities that were called "Challenges" that when you completed them you received a token that when combined with the centerpiece fit together like a puzzle.  The centerpiece being a trackable that you can activate for your geocaching.com account.
The challenges you could partake in were:

1) Navy flag identification (a primer was on site for easy identification)

2) Identifying a Douglas Fir Pine-cone out of a few other types & identifying the gender of Dungeness Crabs (easy with an info sheet nearby)

3) Drawing a sea creature on your GPSr with tracks turned on (fun and very hilarious)

4) Completing your geocacher BINGO cards (easy to do, and helps you make new geofriends.. or proves how well you know the ones you already have)

I only wish I had taken pictures of these things to do.  Seriously it was fun to watch people draw on thier GPSr with tracks, cause it made it look like a bunch of confused people were wandering around following a faulty compass!

 There was also an amazing performance from a local Quw'utsun First Nations dance group.  They have a very rich and diverse culture, and I only wish I could learn more about them.

Soon the closing ceremonies came, and the announcement of the contest winners and draws were made.  All the thank yous were addressed.  And the Mega officially came to a close

And with that they transitioned into the big dinner that was planned, but sadly we did not register for this.  So off we went in to Duncan to The Dog House Restaurant (a favorite of ours), and had a nice dinner with our friends The Moss Troopers.

And with one last trip back to the exhibition grounds, we watched a fantastic magic show put on my Chris Yuill AKA Magicman65! 

Whew.. what a lot to talk about in just one blog entry!  And I am not even done yet...  Sadly I was too distracted to take many pictures, so I have borrowed a few from the event page gallery!  Be sure to stay tuned for more stories about this amazing geocaching weekend!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Island Spirit Scary Night Event

With the party sufficiently started, Just Leafy and I had to rush off to Paulboy's home in Ladysmith for a BBQ.  This was because we were not technically attending the Island Spirit Night Event - GC3EX20, we were working it!  And this BBQ was for everyone that was helping Paulboy make this event possible.

Last I read Paulboy reports that 424 cachers went through our scary gauntlet in the woods!
HOLY COW!!  This event almost hit mega status alone!!!

Sadly I have no pictures from this event because we were out there helping make this the most talked about event of the weekend.  Just Leafy and I were about three quarters of the way around the lake manning the station where you heard the blood curdling scream, and then with your attention in the other direction got soaked down with a water gun.  My favorite moment is when Ann of Cache Crop stopped right in front of the stump I was hiding in, and with everyone's headlamps on her I unloaded almost an entire clip of water on her.  She was absolutely soaked!!!

To get the full picture of the event my suggestion is to read some of the testimonials in the logs.  In fact I will use my favorite log from Giant Pickle.  His log on the cache event page is written as such:

"Man, I was worried from the get-go on this one. All paulboy's talk of the scary things in the park. aahh!

So, I don't know how it went with everyone else, but with our small group which included sdkonkle, EpicGirl, alyseluvsmike, bomabound, creakyclanchris & others... we were all scared half to death. I guess I really shouldn't speak for everyone else though.

I mean first we were fired on by a dihydrogen monoxide autocanon with some fancy auto sensing gizmo that when we walked by it just started firing. We lost one in our group on that already.

The huge bats that were out carried off another... I don't even know who it was.

After that there were bears, lions and tigers... oh my! I mean those bears were so scarey... especially the one that seemed to shake with laughter as we tried to scare it off.

There was this one really spooky light that showed up... and then disappeared. Then there was this strong wind, as though a train was going by... but not really. It was a ghost train. EpicGirl was captured by the ghostly engineer... sdkonkle jumped on the trail to go save her. He got her off the train just before there was a burst of flame that we couldn't even feel... and then it was gone just as suddenly as it appeared.

The worst was the blood curdling screams. I really wanted to help that poor woman, but creakyclanchris stopped me and he went in... sadly, we never saw him again!

We were able to fight/scare off most of the bears, but one really nasty big one got ahold of mike from alyselovemike... but alyse proved her love and beat that bear silly.

I don't know how we could possibly be expected to search for letters in the dark under all this duress.

Perhaps that explains why our group only found 10 out of the 11 that was really supposed to be 12.

Ha! But seriously, thank you paulboy and volunteers for putting on a greatly entertaining event. One that will be remembered for a long time. There was one thing that I was wondering about though paulboy... see pic.

Thanks for my second trip around the lake today, and a really great time."

Thank you everyone that attended you were great!  And thank you everyone that helped Paulboy make this event such a special experience!!!

Let's Get The Party Started

 After a fun filled 2.5hrs tubing down the Cowichan River, there was a short time in between where Just Leafy and I could jet over to my best friends house to set up camp in his backyard.  We had set up our tent and gear in good time, but found that we had to get the heck out of there and jump over to the next event that was on out schedule.  This was Let's Get The Party Started - GC3GRJ5 at Fuller Lake Arena.

This event was held so as to let people pick up their registration packages and such, and to help in stopping congestion the day of the event so that people could get on with whatever fancied them best during the Mega.  I have to say that how it was executed was managed beautifully and was a nice and easy to flow through.  It was really fun to walk around and chat with geofriends and meet new people.
I definitely had the advantage when it came to meeting new people here, as my trackble tattoo draws people to me.  Just Leafy had me and Mike from the Geoknights get together for a photo of our tattoos, I only wish that C2C2C and I could have had a shot together too... But maybe next time!!

Call it kinda childish, but one of the highlights of this event was getting to have our picture taken with geocaching.com's mascot Signal the Frog.  This is is something I got to do many times at the Mega, but for different reasons.
 As well I got a chance to attach a trackable dog-tag to a specific special traveler.  It happens to be a small bar fridge door that some guy made into a trackable, and has invited others to attach their own to it as well.  This turned into quite the task, because we did not have the proper tools to attach it.  But with a bit of running around we finally found a nice lady that works as maintenance staff at the arena that was willing to loan us the tools necessary, and shortly after had the trackble attached and ready to go!

Looking at our watches again, we noticed that time was running away on us.  And with that we had to end this party and move on to a BBQ at Paulboy's home in Ladysmith before the next event started.

Please enjoy the pictures from this event, and thanks for all the fun!