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Unit473L

CO's of Australia - how often do you have to replace / rebuild your caches?

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Hello everyone! The Australian part of the forum has been a bit quiet lately, and as a new player I thought I'd ask something that's been bugging me:

 

How often do caches need to be repaired or replaced due to bushfires or burn offs?

 

I ask because as I drive around Darwin, I've started looking at things with the "is this potentially a good cache location" lens, and many of the places that seem like a good idea tend to be areas that are often burnt off due to bushfire suppression efforts of the local councils. I haven't placed any caches yet (and probably won't, not for a while until I learn more) but it's definitely something I'd like to do at some stage. After a major fire, caches are the last thing on people's minds: but how often do caches get caught up in scheduled burn offs? Or do you keep an eye on burn notices and go retrieve yours before they are affected?

 

While I'm at it, as a bit of an informal poll - how often do you need to do repairs / rebuilds due to malice, or the elements, or just general attrition? I think some people do scheduled visits at specific intervals that work for them and others just react to NM tags. But I haven't found anything recent about Australia and how much effort the CO's need to put in to maintain their caches.

 

Or maybe you have a success story, where you set up a cache when Captain Cook landed and it's never needed maintenance and it has a high turnover of swag and trackables?

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1 hour ago, Unit473L said:

How often do caches need to be repaired or replaced due to bushfires or burn offs?

 

I was lucky last summer that the terrible fires that affected much of the east coast didn't get into the bushland on the NSW Central Coast, although the Three Mile fire was threatening to spread across into Propran National Park and then Brisbane Water National Park in early December but we were probably saved by a fortuitous wind change. There have been hazard reduction burns near some of my caches over the years but none that have actually impacted on them, but a few other cachers here haven't been so lucky. This was a Sistema that got cooked in one such burn:

 

5ed51a23-224f-4caa-9419-852c713101db_l.j

 

 

1 hour ago, Unit473L said:

While I'm at it, as a bit of an informal poll - how often do you need to do repairs / rebuilds due to malice, or the elements, or just general attrition? I think some people do scheduled visits at specific intervals that work for them and others just react to NM tags. But I haven't found anything recent about Australia and how much effort the CO's need to put in to maintain their caches.

 

The majority of my hides are still the original container and logbook. I recently replaced the container on my oldest surviving hide, GC4X42A hidden in 2014, as the original Sistema was starting to look a bit scratched from the rocks that cover it, but I have others hidden not long after that which are still essentially pristine. Here's one I visited recently that I hid in March 2014:

 

RockTunnelCache.jpg.14f6c554a1adf1fb5fa2b6593600a9ca.jpg

 

The only thing I've replaced in that one is the pencil that went missing once.

 

That said, I've lost six caches over the years. One, close to the sea, was washed away in a storm, one in a sea cave had part of the roof come down on top of it and bury it, one in a wet cave was washed away in a flash flood, one had a tree fall on top of its hiding place and two I archived after repeated muggling. There are a few that I modified to make them more resistant to the environment, such as the Sistema I replaced with a steel container after a rat took a liking to the plastic handles or the one I weighed down with big lead sinkers to stop it floating away in flood waters.

 

I don't have a fixed schedule for visiting caches but I try to check on them all at least every year or two. The more remote ones that are rarely found I could probably leave indefinitely as I've never had to do anything to them, but they're all in places I enjoy visiting so I don't mind going for the occasional long hike. The most common issue I have is caches not being put back properly after a find, particularly when there's been a group and the person putting it back isn't the same one who found it.

 

But all my hides are in bushland away from muggles and most are in caves or under rock ledges where they're protected from sun and rain. Urban hides generally require a lot more TLC.

 

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Oh wow, thank you for the detailed reply. ^_^

 

Keeping them out of direct sunlight seems to be a common one, though putting plastic containers inside metal ones might get a bit hot up here in the NT. Having said that, I'm quite new and only found three caches so far. I'd definitely want to avoid being one of "those" people that get all excited, throw out a dozen caches and then promptly forget about all of them!

 

 

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We lost one in a small bushfire last summer, a preform tube.... it and its stump hide were utterly incinerated. We have three in an area badly affected by one of the fires last summer, the access road is closed still, so we haven't been back to check them - all still disabled. Of course we've found many burnt/charred caches over the years....

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I have published 21 caches. Two are now archived. One I archived after the first three hides; trees, were chopped down (not at once; I would move the cache to another tree after it's tree was chopped down, and then months later that would be chopped down too, and so on), and then the last hide got a pile of garbage dumped on top. I wasn't prepared to dig my cache out. The other (a nano) I archived after it went missing for the third time, and also by then I had discovered that nanos are not great caches.

 

Of the nineteen still in play, ten still have their original caches. Of those that don't have their original cache:

- One I have replaced twice after the first two caches went missing.

- Another cache got replaced after a lawn mower ran over it and then that replacement went missing (the tree was pruned and I suspect the gardeners found it) and I replaced it again.

- Another I replaced the cache due to deterioration. It started to let in water.

- Another cache cracked and was replaced.

- Another kept falling off it's metal bar because its magnet was too weak and finally went missing. I put a new cache in another hide close by and an animal kept kicking it out of that hole. Finally I got a cache with a strong magnet and moved it back to its original hide, and so far it has stuck and survived.

- Another became the victim of building work and I replaced it.

- Another I suspect was stolen (too cute a cache) and I replaced that.

 

Re fire. After recent bushfires I have been wanting to check a cache to find if it survived the fire, but the road is blocked off (covid, not fire reasons) and I can't get to it.

 

When I cached in the NT, away from towns I found many caches in metal tins. These have better sun resistance and might give some protection from fires. However, one cache I found had been through a bushfire and the contents had melted and plastered the log under plastic to the inside of the can.

 

I do check my caches regularly; some more often than others. If I am passing a cache and I haven't looked at it recently, I will stop and check it. Others I make special trips to check them. I also photograph the log and check that against the online log. The longest between checks I think has been five years, but the cache and log were still in great condition. I checked a cache today when a logger yesterday wrote it was 'very wet". It was barely damp. I had only checked that cache three months ago, but while there I checked the log.

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8 hours ago, lee737 said:

...the access road is closed still...

 

Is that often an issue? I guess it depends on the area.

 

7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

...the last hide got a pile of garbage dumped on top.

 

Yuck! I wonder if that was deliberate or just a coincidence? Having worked in resource recovery previously, I totally get why you wouldn't want to retrieve it!

 

7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I suspect was stolen (too cute a cache)...

 

Too cute? What was it, if you don't mind me asking.

 

7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

The longest between checks I think has been five years, but the cache and log were still in great condition.

 

That's awesome!

 

Thank you for your reply, good points about metal tins being better protection against the sun.

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3 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Yuck! I wonder if that was deliberate or just a coincidence? Having worked in resource recovery previously, I totally get why you wouldn't want to retrieve it!

It was deliberate dumping; outside a recycling centre. Not recycling material, but yucky garbage. It wasn't deliberate because my cache was there, as I doubt they knew about that.

 

3 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Too cute? What was it, if you don't mind me asking.

It was a plastic tortoise I had picked up off a road. It was big enough to slip a small cache inside, and the cutest plastic tortoise I have ever seen. It got a high percentage of favourite points.

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6 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Is that often an issue? I guess it depends on the area.

No, not for ours.... vehicular traffic being blocked is common, but having whole State Forests closed is out of the ordinary - but it was just that sort of time with the fires....

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8 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I doubt they knew about that.

 

Poor wording on my part, but yes - that's what I meant. If it had been deliberately done to dump it on top of your cache specifically, or if it had just been dumped and your cache was collateral damage. Either way, still sucks.

 

6 hours ago, lee737 said:

it was just that sort of time with the fires....

 

Yeah, those ones  were pretty bad. Australia is kinda famous for them, that's why I thought I'd ask.

 

Glad to see there isn't a huge attrition rate, though admittedly this is a small sample size. Would be nice to hear from some NT CO's, though with everything slowing down I guess many people are more focussed on keeping food on the table than checking the forum. 

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I've lost about a dozen or so to fires at different times. Occupational hazard I guess.

Darwin is on my radar for a geocaching trip, soon I hope. I like the climate up there having been there a few times - land trips and cruises.

 

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Darwin is a good place to be year round, wish I'd moved up here years ago! Though I'm one of those people who isn't bothered too much by the heat and I really don't like the cold. Can't say that I miss scraping ice off the windscreen before driving to work! Though I would love to be in a position where I could do trips around Australia to go find caches. Maybe a holiday into a different stat each year? One Powerball... :D 

 

I've just recently marked a cache as NA. It got muggled some time ago (the ammo tin was stolen and the contents dumped on the ground). A fire had been through some time after that, then another one shortly before I came along. There wasn't much left by the time I got to it. It was placed very close to a track, possibly why it got muggled. I would have made the effort to place it at least a few meters / yards away from the track, though it survived about ten years or so, so I guess the location can't have been that bad.

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23 hours ago, Unit473L said:

Darwin is a good place to be year round, wish I'd moved up here years ago! Though I'm one of those people who isn't bothered too much by the heat and I really don't like the cold. Can't say that I miss scraping ice off the windscreen before driving to work! Though I would love to be in a position where I could do trips around Australia to go find caches. Maybe a holiday into a different stat each year? One Powerball... :D 

 

I've just recently marked a cache as NA. It got muggled some time ago (the ammo tin was stolen and the contents dumped on the ground). A fire had been through some time after that, then another one shortly before I came along. There wasn't much left by the time I got to it. It was placed very close to a track, possibly why it got muggled. I would have made the effort to place it at least a few meters / yards away from the track, though it survived about ten years or so, so I guess the location can't have been that bad.

I've cached in Darwin twice but was limited for time as we were on a cruise. Would like to get back up there when borders are open and airfares reasonable. Otherwise it's a long trip by caravan which I've done a couple of times pre geocaching.

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1 hour ago, colleda said:

I've cached in Darwin twice but was limited for time as we were on a cruise. Would like to get back up there when borders are open and airfares reasonable. Otherwise it's a long trip by caravan which I've done a couple of times pre geocaching.

It's a fun drive. I've driven to Darwin several times over the years,the most recent trip was 2016 and in 2018 I drove (although not to Darwin) as far as just north of Ti Tree.

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13 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

It's a fun drive. I've driven to Darwin several times over the years,the most recent trip was 2016 and in 2018 I drove (although not to Darwin) as far as just north of Ti Tree.

Have driven as far as Kunnanurra. Each time I've gone up via Alice Springs and returned via Mt Isa. IIRC cache #2,500,000 is near the Alice somewhere.

OT but on one trip we kept the kids occupied by counting road kill between home and Broken Hill. From memory we counted 900+ dead roos and a couple of hundred other species such as emus, pigs, snakes, cats etc..

Edited by colleda
typo
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