Saturday, January 31, 2009

Useless Hints

Every Geocache listing has the ability to display a hint. This hint is encrypted, so that the cacher doesn't have their hunt spoiled. You can simply click on the "decrypt" button on the cache page to decrypt it, or use the simple decrypting key:
Decryption Key
(letter above equals below,
and vice versa)
The guidelines for hiding a cache even state (or used to) that you should keep hints short and simple, since many cachers use the key to decrypt them in the field, and they don't want to get bogged down with decrypting a long, verbose hint-- "It's sort of near the long, tall, skinny, thinly barked tree, but closer to the short, squat, leafy bush." A better hint would be, "Between tree and bush."

There has been a trend here in Okinawa lately that involves using utterly useless hints. I can't understand why a cache owner would do this. Some examples of hints that have been used are, "None," "None until FTF," "Too easy," and, my personal favorite, "Keep looking." There's no reason to use the hint field to place that sort of message in the cache listing. Just place it in the description!

One useful feature is that in the encrypted hint, text that is between brackets, "[like this]," is not encrypted. I've seen owners write "too easy" that way. I have no problem with that whatsoever, since it doesn't waste anyone's time. Maybe I'm just being too picky, but giving a hint should be exactly that, a real hint. What do you think?

Friday, January 30, 2009


Times they are a changin'. I'm slowly making some changes to my humble little blog as well. I realized that I had plenty of neat photos around, so I grabbed one to use in the header. I also went with a much simpler layout.

I'm hoping that the weather will be mild this weekend, and that my friend and I can hit a few Geocaches on Sunday. I'm off of work on Monday (Sunday stateside) because the commanding general is, apparently, a football fan. I'm not complaining. I may get to do some caching then as well. I've got my fingers crossed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Onna Point

Today, I met up with a fellow geocacher, and we headed north to Onna Point. We hit a couple of neat spots there, and enjoyed the warmer weather. It has been cool and wet for a few days, until this weekend. The last couple of days have been really nice.

The terrain at Onna is rocky shoreline, with an abundance of razor sharp plants, and coral outcroppings. It makes for painful cuts and scrapes if you stumble or fall. The views, however, were spectacular in places.

We took the kids with us, and we all had a great time. We stopped at Coco Ichibanya for some curry, and then headed back home. The kids said that Coco should become the official Japanese sponsor of Geocaching.

Here's a couple of pictures from today:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunabe Village and Chibana Castle

I teamed up with a friend of mine to hit a few geocaches today. We started the day by visiting a couple that I have already found. Since he's even newer at this than I am, he was happy to visit any caches that we could.

Our first stop was one of my own caches entitled, "Eat Your Vegetables." It's located at a farmers market, adjacent to a park that is allegedly haunted. My friend found it pretty easily.

We next headed to Chibana Castle. It was much easier to reach the top of the climb today than it was during my previous visit (immediately following a heavy rain).

View from Chibana Castle

After that, we were off to Sunabe Village. We hit a few caches on the beaches, and enjoyed the cooler weather. Thankfully, it was low tide, since one of the caches would have involved a swim during higher tides.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Local Spots

Here's a few more pictures from the last couple of weeks. I'm hoping to meet up with a friend of mine later today to do some Geocaching. I've got my fingers crossed. The weather isn't exactly ideal, but I'm water resistant.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Final Day of Vacation

Today is the last day of vacation for my kids and I. I had a nice, long weekend for the new year holiday, and the kids have been off of school for the last two weeks.

My son and I spent the late morning roaming around the Maeda Point area, and the Ryukyu Mura Park. We had a good time, and the cooler weather was great.

Here's a couple of pictures.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Caching Problems?

I guess that when it rains, it pours. That's a common saying, but it holds true at inopportune times.

One of my own geocaches was "muggled." I'm a bit annoyed about it, since it was a nice, big, well-stocked ammo can. It was well hidden, and neatly camouflaged. It was also in a really amusing area. I had titled it, "Don't Carp at Me," in an attempt to sound clever. I wanted it to sound like, "don't harp at me," only with carp. Carp was important because the locals typically hang up wind socks that are shaped and painted like carp during a certain annual festival here. One of their favorite places to hang the carp-like decorations is where I hid my cache. Bummer.

I also recieved notice that another of my hides needed to be moved. It's one of my "Old McDonald" caches, neatly concealed in the middle of some Okinawan farmland. The location is really nice, and the atmosphere there is very peaceful and relaxing. Now, it seems, there is a Mistubishi excavator parked atop the original hide location. What are the odds?

Oh; I also got an email telling me that the magnets are beginning to fall off of another of my hides. Super.

When it rains, it pours.