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Everything posted by barefootjeff

  1. Back when I started as a basic member in 2013, the Browse map on the website would show PMO caches when zoomed out, but they'd disappear as you zoomed in so that their location couldn't be pinned down. I don't know whether that functionality still exists but it was, in part, something that encouraged me to switch to premium. There are many other benefits to being a PM than just PMO caches, such as instant notifications, PQs, being able to give FPs to those caches I've really enjoyed and just supporting the running costs of the service, so there's no way I'd consider going back to BM even if there were no PMO caches to find.
  2. Nup, just a tiny little 1mm bit to make some holes I could thread cotton through. No injuries sustained!
  3. This is a new cache in the making, soon (hopefully) to become part of the multi The Headless Horseman's Head (GCA0ARF). Maybe I missed my calling and should have become a dentist.
  4. I just struck this very problem today, with the first stage of the sequential AL I was attempting surrounded by a three-metre high hessian-covered fence while refurbishment of the tourist attraction takes place (which is likely to take many months, if not years). I found a small gap in the hessian that I was able to see the plaque through but couldn't read the names on it, so I took a photo on my phone camera's maximum optical zoom and then zoomed in on the image until I could just make out part of a name. I hoped firstly it was the right name (there are several more on the plaque in smaller print and unreadable in the image) and secondly that my guess based on the letters I could make out was right, but the caching gods must have been smiling on me because it was the right answer. After completing the other four stages, I mentioned the problem at the first one in my review but, since owners aren't notified of reviews, the chances are they won't see it. Why is it assumed that, once an AL goes live, it'll never need owner attention?
  5. On a different irk, I was out doing a routine check on one of my bushland hides where I discovered someone had left a packet of "Mac and Cheese" scented pencils, placed under the container because they wouldn't fit inside it. Do people not understand about not leaving scented stuff in caches, particularly in bushland areas where there are likely to be native and not-so-native critters drawn by the smell? Fortunately the container is steel so they'd have trouble getting inside that, but I'm surprised nothing's taken a bite out of the pencil box. Looking at the cache page, I see it was found yesterday by a newbie never-visited-the-website PM, so I guess because they've never visited the website they'd have no idea about what they should and shouldn't leave in caches.
  6. I used to put a printed-out FTF certificate in mine, until on one occasion the FTFer didn't take it, causing the 2TF great confusion. Now I just acknowledge the FTF on the cache page. There was a series here a few years back where the FTF "prize" on each one was an activated themed trackable that the FTFer was meant to move on. I FTFed almost all of them and, as they were fairly bulky, finding suitable caches to move them on to was a bit tricky.
  7. Most of my caching time these days is devoted to my hides, either doing routine checks, occasional repairs or constructing new ones. During September I had four cache-finding days: a train trip to Sydney (1 cache), a train trip to Newcastle (3 caches and an AL), a drive 150km north to Bulahdelah where I was placing a new cache and stopped off on the way past to find the one and only cache in Karuah (I'd cleared out the 3 caches in Bulahdelah on an earlier trip this year), and a find on a new cache close to home (the second one this year!). I also attended two events (one near Newcastle and the other on Sydney's northern beaches) but there were no unfound caches near those. The weather isn't helping. Not only is the almost constant rain and flooding from three consecutive la Nina events destroying existing caches or making them inaccessible, it's also making it difficult to plan longer trips away as they're likely to be rained out. Even the new cache I'm working on is becoming a battle against mud, leeches and paint that won't dry.
  8. Yeah, if you go from the Browse map into the Search map it shows everything, but if you go directly into the Search map from the Play menu in the top green bar, the default filters are Not found by me and Caches I don't own.
  9. Yes, I agree. While excluding found and owned caches might make sense to remove clutter in places where caches are packed in like sardines, when I open the search map I see just one cache, a tree-climbing puzzle I solved ages ago but baulked at the climb: I know I'm an oddball cacher, but it's rare that I'll use Search or the search map to plan a caching trip, as I find the browse map better for that. If the area I'm visiting has more than one cache (often times it doesn't), I'll look at the recent logs to decide which ones I want to do rather than filter by any of the search options. When I'm doing searches it's usually for other reasons and then I have to remember to unselect those two preselected filters otherwise I don't get the right results. I think it would be better if HQ just provided the tools and let each user decide how their use best suits them, rather than dictate a particular usage with preselected options. The same goes for moving found mysteries back to their posted coordinates on the assumption that they're all geoart, as most of them around here aren't and being able to see where a found puzzle cache is can be very useful, particularly when planning new caches or, as you say, as guide marks for nearby unfound caches.
  10. If nobody wants it maybe it's just a bad idea? I often find that the better the cache, the fewer finds it gets. Of the 12 caches I've given FPs to this year, 7 have had less than 20 finds and one of the most memorable, in terms of the experience, has only had one finder (me). Or at least that's what I tell myself when I look at the find counts on my most recent hides (1, 6, 4 and 8).
  11. It's been like that here for the last four or five years. When I started in 2013, there were between 100 and 200 new caches being published in my region each year but that's now down to a couple of dozen. The spate of natural disasters in recent years hasn't helped either. This region (the NSW Central Coast, Australia) was largely spared from the fires of 2019 but the almost constant rain and flooding since then has taken its toll. I've archived five of my hides so far this year, about half due to rain damage destroying access to the cache, and have another two long-term disabled due to trail closures which will likely end up archived too. Last year there were just 16 new caches in this region, one of which has already been archived. This year's doing a bit better, with 25 new caches so far (1 already archived). I have a new one that's nearly ready to submit, although in visiting the location yesterday I ended up collecting about a dozen leeches so I might have to wait for some drier weather before placing it. The total number of caches in the region is currently 506, down from about 550 a year or two back.
  12. When posting an Archive log, on the website at least, there's a prompt to remove the container if you haven't done so already (admittedly in very faint grey writing which I've enhanced in this screenshot): There's also this paragraph in the Terms of Use that we all agree to by ticking the box in every new cache submission:
  13. Perhaps some percentage of virtuals and field puzzle multis/mysteries could be replaced by ALs, maybe some of those might be a better experience as a result (putting aside the 5 smileys instead of one "benefit"), but certainly not all. ALs have a lot of limitations, most notably: All locations need to have good phone coverage, preferably from all providers The locations need to have something reasonably meaningful to ask questions about Access to the locations needs to be clear from the map (and the map really needs to have a scale!) The overview and location description are limited to 1024 characters and can only include one image Activity logs reviews are limited to just a few hundred characters and can't include photos For virtuals, a few examples come to mind which simply wouldn't work as ALs. One is Fortress (GC7B6E4) which is located atop a 70-metre high waterfall at the end of a canyon in the Blue Mountains, with the logging requirement being to take a photo of yourself (or something of yours) right at the location. Apart from the total lack of phone coverage, there's really nothing that could be worked into an AL question that would do the site justice; anything would likely just be a question for the sake of having a question. It's much the same story at Figure Eight (GC7B9MJ), a figure-8 shaped coastal rock pool where the logging requirement is a photo of yourself in the pool. Then there's the spot I was considering using for a virtual, had I been awarded one. It at least has partial phone coverage along the route but the AL's map doesn't show any of the walking trails in that part of the national park and, with no way to provide intermediate reference points in an AL to guide the way, there'd be too much risk of someone getting themselves lost in some pretty steep and isolated bushland. Again, the attraction of the location is visual, with a stunning rock formation and expansive coastal views, and, with no signage, framing a question that would add anything to the experience would be difficult. For field puzzle mysteries/multis, a few of my own come to mind. There's Quest for the Middle Sea Diamond (GC62WZJ), which has six waypoints where there are observations to be made, so at face value those could be worked into AL questions easily enough, but the real attraction of that cache, and I guess a large part of why it has 76% FPs and won a regional award in 2015, is the scenic final location and themed container (a jewelry box containing a large diamond). Without that, it'd be just a ho-hum go to a bunch of locations and answer some basic questions and, since two of those locations are water-access, the reward for effort ratio would be pretty low even if you got a smiley for visiting each one. The Bushranger's Legacy (GC9M6X5) has a "keystone" at the listed coordinates which sets the field puzzle that has to be solved from other objects placed at three waypoints in large sandstone caves. Once solved, the searcher is led to a pretty impressive rock fissure where the themed container awaits their discovery. Like the others, there are no signs anywhere that could be used to frame questions around, or even fence posts that could be counted (that has to be one of the lamest AL questions, really), because the cache is all about exploring the natural landscape and finding things concealed in it. ALs are great in urban environments when set along historical or art trails, for example, or along signposted nature walks. There's a good niche for them, particularly in places like national parks where setting physical caches can be difficult or impossible, but they don't come close to being a replacement for the other cache types. Yes, ALs are popular but popularity isn't everything and I think there's still a place in the game for a well-thought-out and engaging multi that builds on a theme to a satisfying and rewarding search and discovery at GZ, even if at the end of the day you only get one smiley for it.
  14. I spent quite some time on Monday night studying the map, seeing what options might be available that could get me over the line without relying on striking it lucky with a labyrinth item. There are a couple of new ALs around Bradley's Head on the northern side of Sydney harbour, but the ferry access is from the Taronga Zoo wharf and, being school holidays, those ferries are likely to be packed with kids so it wasn't an attractive option. In any case, I've found all the regular caches around there so it would have only netted me 100 points, still 40 shy of the target. I also looked at driving options to northern Sydney or southern Newcastle but again there weren't any high enough concentrations of unfound caches in any one area to make it a worthwhile trip. And as I said in my earlier post, the weather forecast is looking pretty horrible for the next seven days so really yesterday was my last opportunity to complete the current round of the promotion. In my earlier post I said "Yes, sure, it was a known risk and yes, it was a pleasant day of caching, but it still would have been a pleasant day's caching if I'd waited another week to do it." All I'm trying to do is support what Gill & Tony said earlier that the random element of this promotion is problematic for anyone who doesn't have an endless supply of unfound caches close by and has to carefully plan any caching trip they do, since every excess find made in the current round is one less you can make in the subsequent rounds. Anyway, I've now given up on this promotion and will quietly ignore the rest of it.
  15. According to the Builder, the maximum geofence radius is 100km. I'd expect a cruise ship one would bump up against the guideline that access must be free. Actually the same would probably be true of an airport runway one. For the train one I mentioned, there was always the option of driving to the locations, which I ended up doing for the one I missed from the train.
  16. There's one like that I did that was in a train rather than a plane, where passing through a location was meant to open up the question which you could answer a little further along the track. The trouble was, GPS reception inside the train was pretty poor and I never got within the geofence as we passed through. Since it was a sequential AL, that was it for the day.
  17. So which other three caches should I have also done while I was up there to get me the extra 45 points? I've now pretty much exhausted all that can be done by public transport around the Newcastle City area, including ALs, and it's much the same around central Sydney and the harbour. Only 15 of my 143 finds this year have been within the Central Coast region, most of the rest have required trips of 50km or more to Sydney, Newcastle or further afield. I think I've run out of options for this promotion.
  18. "Unexpectedly far away" depends on the mode of transport the searcher is using. Discovering the stages are spread over tens of kilometres is no big deal if you're driving but it's a different matter if you're on foot. It's bad enough in that regard that the app's map doesn't have a scale on it, let alone hide the uncompleted stages from view.
  19. Since the text of each stage in a sequential AL is only revealed after you've completed the preceding stages, I presume what you're asking for is that the locations of those stages be hidden too. Almost all the ALs I've done have involved substantial travelling, and for quite a few I've used public transport when I've known in advance that all the locations would be within walking distance, but without knowing whether the other stages are a short walk or half a day's drive away I'm pretty sure I'd pass and, if there was an Ignore list for ALs, that's where it would go.
  20. I just got caught out by this big time. As of last night, I was sitting on 360 points and, in looking around on the map, I saw there was a spot just north of Newcastle (100km from here) where there were three unfound caches and one uncompleted AL within about 3km walking distance of public transport. So I made a day of it, taking the train to Newcastle Interchange, the light rail to Queens Wharf and the ferry across the Hunter River to Stockton. I found all three caches (two traditionals and an LBH, so 45 points) and completed the AL (50 points), so all I needed was just one Labyrinth Item to get me over the line. Even though I've now made 16 finds since my last Labyrinth Item and have picked up only one other in this round, it was no dice so I'm still 45 points short. With substantial rain forecast between now and the end of the current round next Monday, that's probably where I'll stay so, as far as the promotion is concerned, today was not only a fruitless trip but has cost me 8 finds I could have saved for the next round. Yes, sure, it was a known risk and yes, it was a pleasant day of caching, but it still would have been a pleasant day's caching if I'd waited another week to do it.
  21. During last year's COVID lockdown, I did a lot of exploring in Brisbane Water National Park which was within my permitted exercise area. In the course of that, I came across what I thought would be a great spot for a cache, a low rock overhang just to the side of the Great North Walk with nice views down along the Hawkesbury River and the beach at Patonga. In May I emailed the park ranger to see if such a placement would be okay, and in reply she said she'd like to meet me there so she could see the location for herself as she had concerns about the 50 metre high cliffs in the vicinity. So we met up and hiked out to GZ, where she took lots of photos and a video of me walking from the trail across to my proposed hiding place. I showed her the container I was planning to use, a black aluminium mega bison tube which fitted neatly into the honeycombed rock, and she was happy with that. She said that, if it was up to her, it'd be okay but she wasn't sure she'd be able to convince her managers so she'd get back to me in a few weeks. When I hadn't heard anything by the end of July, I sent a follow-up email to see what was happening, and she apologised for the delay but said her managers had been on leave during the school holidays and she'd get back to me in a couple of weeks. When I'd still heard nothing by the end of August, I sent another follow-up but, a month on, I haven't had a reply to that. If the answer is "no" then so be it, I won't lose any sleep if I can't put a cache there, but what I'd really like is an answer so I can move on. Over the years I've had about a fifty percent success rate at placing caches in national parks. Sometimes the process runs smoothly with formal approval coming in just a few weeks, but at other times it's been rejected for what I consider frivilous reasons and on one other occasion I just never got a definitive answer. But getting angry or arguing won't help, in fact it'll have the opposite effect. When dealing with bureaucracies, it's best to just go with the flow and make sure the caches that have been approved set a good example by being kept in good condition and not doing any damage to their surroundings.
  22. Precision without corresponding accuracy is just meaningless digits.
  23. Early on, if I recall correctly, there was a recommendation, if not an actual guideline, that the questions were supposed to be something that could only be answered by being there and couldn't be easily guessed or found using something like Street View. But now they seem to have gone to the opposite extreme with multiple choice questions (the default setting) which require at most four random guesses to get the correct answer. The question now is almost pointless.
  24. In the search results, there's a column called Trackables that shows the number of trackables in the cache's inventory: Clicking on that header twice will sort the results with the highest number of trackables at the top.
  25. I didn't say there shouldn't, just pointing out that a lot of the time it mightn't be useful, particularly for non-sequential ALs that are spread over a fair distance.
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