Saturday, November 18, 2006

Anything to make a buck

I was just now viewing some of the ways people try to make a buck off of geocachers by selling all sorts of geocaching stuff on eBay. You can view some of their ideas here. Some of these items are very clever. Some are just plain foolish and even dangerous. Example: magnetic electrical coverplate microcaches. The description states "This cache can be placed on any flat metal surface such as a electrical box, AC unit, metal lightposts, etc." True, it can be attached, but if the reviewer is aware that it's bee placed on electrical equipment, it shouldn't be approved for listing on Before you spend your money on these types of caches, please review the guidelines and think twice about where you may be encouraging geocachers and their family members to look for caches.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Under woodchips. so is it buried?

Yesterday I received the following email from IGO member Welch:
Actually, while I'm emailing you I have a question about the guidelines (and something you can put in your blog if you like). Can caches be buried in 'soft' materials?
When the topic comes up in the, some people point that if a cache were buried in sand then no tools/point objects would be needed to hide or find the cache. Which is what the guidelines say, "Caches that are buried. If a shovel, trowel or other “pointy” object is used to dig, whether in order to hide or to find the cache, then it is not appropriate." So assuming I could get land owner permission to bury a cache, would it be listable? (I doubt any parks would let me bury anything, but the idea has me thinking of parks that have small streams with sandy bottoms/shores that are otherwise well mowed...)

Also a few weeks back I ran across a cache that had been buried in the mulch around one of those big wooden park signs. And no I don't mean they layed it on and top and piled loose mulch/chips over, it was like 5" deep. Though even the bottom was mulch too so I guess maybe it wasn't really had to dig all being mulch. Let me explain... the person got short lenght of 4" pvc and buried it vertical so the end was flush with the ground, then they put a fake drain cover over it. And then down inside the tube they put a small fake valve handle (so it looks kinda like a water shut off valve). The valve was of course not really, and if you pull up it comes up to reveal a pill bottom. I don't have any pictures of this thing, but its sorta similar to this thing on ebay
so since no tools were apperently used to hide the cache, it was ok right?
Before answering welch (which I'm doing here), I did a little "digging" of my own in the files of the reviewers' online forum, where we ask each other questions about whether a certain cache should be approved (and sometimes just shoot the bull). There, I found opinions relevant to the two questions posed by welch, and they matched what I have been assuming.

As welch points out, the guidelines say that a cache should never be buried. The tricky part comes in trying to define "buried." To shed light on this, guidelines further state: "If a shovel, trowel or other 'pointy' object is used to dig, whether in order to hide or to find the cache, then it is not appropriate."

First, regarding the first cache example from welch, I think this would probably be OK. When geocachers search for this cache in a sandy river bottom area, they're going to be pushing sand around to look for it. The litmus test that I would use is, does their moving sand cause harm to the area or look like suspicious activity? I'd say probably not.

Regarding the second example, since this is in a more travelled area, it might cause attention and suspicion -- not to mention damage to the landscaping -- when geocachers start moving wood chips around to find the geocache. However, if the cache page description clearly states that the cache container is in plain view and no moving wood chips is required, then it might be approvable.