Galapagos

BARTOLOME (GALAPAGOS) — Geocache of the Week

EarthCache
GC1KGT8
by boiler
Difficulty:
1
Terrain:
2.5
Location:
Galapagos
S 00° 17.046 W 090° 33.048

The Galapagos Islands are well-known for their expansive population of species. About 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic, which means “belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place”.

Seldom in nature can you be approached by a wild animal. Bartolome (Galapagos) GC1KGT8 can bring us up close and personal to nature. The island is also a geologist’s playground—so it makes perfect sense that a truly wonderful EarthCache is here.

The little island, Bartolome, is only 1.2 square kilometers (297 acres). Rocky pillars of basalt called “tuff cones” jut out from the surface of the island. These pillars are remnants of hardened fallout of a volcanic eruption. One of the great rewards of GC1KGT8 is the stunning postcard view of the prominent Pinnacle Rock, the largest tuff cone on the island.

On the path to the beach, just offshore, you will find a large volcanic crater that is encapsulating.

If you brought your snorkeler you are in for a treat! According to the cache page the northern beach is open for swimming and the beaches of Bartolome Island are filled with fluorescent fish, playful sea lions, and even whale sharks!

 

The trail continues to lead you across a sandy isthmus to another beach at the southern end of the island. Swimming here is not welcome, and not as friendly. White tip sharks have been known to enter the waters and the cache owner Boiler warns of hostile ghost crabs in that area.

 

The trail ends with a rock path and a long wooden stairway (~360 steps) brings you through the lunar landscape with almost no visibility up to summit hill and the viewpoint of Pinnacle Rock.

If you are EarthCaching on Bartolome Island here are some notable vocabulary terms to take with you as per the cache page:

1.) Lava tubes: Formed by flowing rivers of lava whose outer layer cools and solidifies quicker than the core (creating a skin). The liquid lava continues to flow through the middle, hollowing out an area creating a tube like structure.

2.) Spatter cones: These cones are either a deep red, gleaming black or intense green. The cones are formed when the pressure of gases below the magma in an active lava flow push upward. The gases escape carrying big pieces of lava into the air. The outside of the lava cools down and turns black, and when it hits the ground, the lava ball bursts open releasing the hot magma inside.

3.) Lava bombs: The outcome of a spatter cone. The outside surface of lava bombs are smooth, but the inside of the lava bomb bursts open with broken fragments, creating A’a lava. The broken lava is very runny. However, once the gases all escape, the lava will start to slow, creating pahoehoe lava.

Here’s what our fellow cachers had to say about their experience:

One of the most beautiful landscapes in the Galapagos so far! What an awesome trip Elm77 and I are having. The climb was a breeze for me and the view spectacular. Our guide knew a lot about the geology of the area so I learned a lot! Answers and picture will be sent as soon as I get home. Thanks for the lesson! –Pomwoof

Last year on my 40th birthday I made myself the present of a Galapagos dive trip.  And by doing so a dream came true. As a group of 16 divers from Switzerland we were able to charter the “Galapagos Aggressor” for our trip.

On the second day of diving after two dives at Punta Carrion we set foot on Bartolomé Island for a land tour.  Of course I had already hoped at home that I would get the opportunity to visit one of the few caches around the Galapagos Archipelago.

I enjoyed the hiking a lot, admired the view from the top and even had the chance to see sea lions, penguins, Darwin’s finches, a lizard and a blue-footed booby – part of the animals on land, part while riding the zodiac. –Haiopaia

Thank you boiler for cooking up this hot EarthCache. Is that name a coincidence? I think not. Check out the beautiful photography from geocachers who have visited Bartolome Island and in the gallery below!

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People from all over Europe and the world
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“You have to be odd to be number one” — First of each geocache type

“You have to be odd to be number one”
— Dr. Seuss

The first to be something, now that’s something. Although a few of these geocaches are open for a spirited discussion, we’re fairly confident these are the “firsts” for each geocache type. Keep in mind that in the early days of geocaching, it was easier to change cache types after publication. Nevertheless, these geocaches should be fairly “pure”. Check out our list:

First Traditional Geocache

The Original Stash
GCF
May 3, 2000
Oregon, USA

Dave Ulmer's original description
Dave Ulmer’s original description restored from the sci.geo.satellite-nav newsgroup.
Dave Ulmer at location of The Original Stash
Dave Ulmer at location of The Original Stash when the tribute plaque was installed

First Mystery Cache

Octopus Garden
GC70
October 30, 2000
North Carolina, USA

The reason for the name of the Mystery Cache
The reason for the name of the Mystery Cache
The contents found in the first Mystery Cache
The contents found in the first Mystery Cache

First Multi-Cache

Tour of Stone Mountain
GC1E
June 11, 2000
Georgia, USA

And here it was, deep in the woods of Georgia
And here it was, deep in the woods of Georgia
Nice use of the ammo can for the world's first Multi-Cache
Nice use of the ammo can for the world’s first Multi-Cache

First Virtual Cache

Rift Valley
GC53
6/15/2000 (The user carved his initials in a tree, years prior and listed it as a virtual cache in September of 2000, backdating to June of 2000. It’s possible that “Virtual Dublin” GC60 may be the true first.)
Kenya 

Driving to the world's first Virtual Cache in Kenya
Driving to the world’s first Virtual Cache in Kenya
Virtually amazing?
Virtually amazing?

First Letterbox Hybrid

Open Space 6
GC190
1/15/2001 (This one is the most difficult to confirm. GC2D is the oldest Letterbox Hybrid in the database, but it was never found. It’s possible it was changed to a Letterbox Hybrid after the fact.)
New Mexico, USA

En route to the Letterbox Hybrid
En route to the Letterbox Hybrid
En route to the Letterbox Hybrid
En route to the Letterbox Hybrid

 

First Event Cache

Austin Geocachers Happy Hour
GC389
March 24, 2001
Texas, USA

The first Event Cache was a rousing success
The first Event Cache was a rousing success

First Webcam Cache

Houston Webcam Cache #1
GC21DF
October 11, 2001
Texas, USA

Remember dial-up modems and websites that looked like this?
Remember dial-up modems and websites that looked like this?
Webcam image. No bull.
Webcam image. No bull.

First Locationless Cache

Please Donate Blood Cache
GC1C90
September 12, 2001
Locationless—duh! 

Blood, sweat, and cache
Blood, sweat, and cache
<3
<3

First Cache In Trash Out® (CITO)

Earth Day Cleanup at Raccoon Creek Park
GCE2F1
April 26, 2003
Pennsylvania, USA

The original CITO gang
The original CITO gang
That is a successful haul for a CITO
That is a successful haul for a CITO

First EarthCache

Earthcache I – a simple geology tour of Wasp Head
GCHFT2
January 10, 2004 (other EarthCaches have earlier GC codes, but they were retroactively changed to EarthCaches from other cache types)
New South Wales, Australia

This EarthCache rocks!
This EarthCache rocks!
Get one with nature with an EarthCache
Get one with nature with an EarthCache

First Mega-Event Cache

GeoWoodstock 4
GCRRC6
May 27, 2006
Texas, USA

The first ever Mega-Event had great weather
The first ever Mega-Event had great weather
If you were at the first Mega-Event, you remember these guys
If you were at the first Mega-Event, you remember these guys

First Wherigo

Where I went, Hugo
GC18FP7
January 9, 2008
London, UK

YOU SHALL MAYBE PASS
YOU SHALL MAYBE PASS
Whereveryougo, sign that logbook!
Whereveryougo, sign that logbook!

First Giga-Event

Project MUNICH2014 – Mia san Giga!
GC4K089
August 16, 2014
Bayern, Germany

Setting up for the GIGA!
Setting up for the GIGA!
People from all over Europe and the world
People from all over Europe and the world
Good fun for everyone
Good fun for everyone

What do you think of our list? Do you know of geocaches that may qualify as “geocaching firsts”?

54 Comments

Help decide the fate of rediscovered APE cache!

Late last year, we announced the exciting news of how a group of Seattle-area geocachers rescued the muggled Mission 9: Tunnel of Light APE cache. We also offered the geocaching community an opportunity to suggest ideas for what should happen next with this renowned cache.

More than 9,000 geocachers responded to our survey! After considering all feedback, we have four options for the final vote. Now it’s time for you to decide the fate of Mission 9: Tunnel of Light. The idea receiving the most votes is the one we’ll implement. Simple as that!

Here are the ballot choices:

  • Return and Reactivate: Return the container to its original location and restore it to active APE cache status. It would be loggable throughout the year, although the unarchival date is to be determined.
  • Display at HQ: Display the APE cache container at Geocaching HQ as an important artifact of the game’s history. It would not be loggable as an APE cache, but would be assigned a special tracking number that could be logged only as a trackable with a unique trackable icon.
  • Activate Once A Year: Display the APE cache container at Geocaching HQ as a trackable for most of the year, and make it loggable as an APE cache at its original location only during the week of the annual Going Ape Mega-Event in Washington.
  • Traveling Artifact: Assign a special tracking number to the APE cache container and tour it to various events around the world. (It would be loggable only as a trackable, not as an APE cache.)

A few of these options would require exceptions to Geocaching.com guidelines. For example, it’s very rare for a cache to be unarchived, especially after a long period of time. However, this is an extraordinary situation for which we feel that exceptions can be made, especially with the support of a community vote.

The voting is open until March 5, 2017. One vote per person. Visit the ballot box here and make your voice heard!

43 Comments

More answers on Geocaching Classic app retirement

Geocachers have asked some important questions since we announced that we’ll retire the Geocaching Classic app on March 23, 2017. We’d like to address a few topics that are coming up most often.

Some users aren’t sure exactly what the retirement message means.

Beginning March 23, the Geocaching Classic app will no longer connect to the Geocaching API. This means the Classic app won’t be able to pull in new geocaching data. The bottom line is the  Classic app won’t be of much use to most geocachers. However, you will still be able to open the app and access data that was added to the app prior to March 23. For example, you will be able to view your offline lists and waypoints.

We can’t predict for how long you’ll be able to open the app and access old data. At some point in the future, an update to your phone’s operating system will likely cause the app to completely stop working. So it’s important to migrate your data as soon as possible.

It is important to remember that if you log out of the Classic app after March 23, you won’t be able to log back in. Since the Classic app won’t be connected to the Geocaching API, the app won’t be able to verify your Geocaching login credentials.

Is there any easy way to move waypoints, offline lists, etc. from my Geocaching Classic app to the Geocaching® app?

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to move this data between apps. However, our team is working on a possible solution. When it is available, we will update this blog post with more details.

The Geocaching® app doesn’t work on my iPhone 4.

Like any software developer, we cannot support all operating systems indefinitely. Currently, we make sure the Geocaching® app works on iOS 9 and higher. That means it works on the iPhone 4s and newer devices.

Why can’t you just let the Geocaching Classic app continue unsupported until it breaks?

We stopped offering the Classic app for sale nearly a year ago. We couldn’t fix any bugs once the app was removed from the stores. As a result, the Classic app is becoming buggy. The bugs would only increase until a time when the app just stops working. We don’t want it to come to a point where we have a dying product for which we cannot offer support.

The Geocaching® app doesn’t have the feature that I like in the Geocaching Classic app.

The good news is the Geocaching® app has a lot of features that some folks just aren’t aware of yet. For instance, you can search for trackables by code, add waypoints to a cache listing, save lists offline, display corrected coordinates, search for caches with filters, and view actual lat/lon coordinates for a cache or waypoint.

We’ll implement a couple of other important features into the Geocaching® app prior to March 23: drafts (field notes) and additional log types. We recently added Needs Maintenance and Needs Archived functionality, and owner logs are coming soon.

The Geocaching® app is used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. It is built to serve a wide range of geocachers from the person who just wanted to give geocaching a try to people who have already found thousands of caches. The app introduces new players to the game in ways no other app can. It also contains features that appeal to the advanced player. But no matter how many features we build into the app, it may not work for everyone in the geocaching community.

That’s where Geocaching HQ’s API program comes in. Made possible by the support of premium memberships, the API program gives third-party developers (such as Project-GC, GSAK and Cachly) the opportunity to work with HQ on a full suite of integrated products and services for the community. Some of our authorized developers may offer the features you’re looking for. Read this Help Center article to learn more.

Some people simply prefer to use the Geocaching Classic app.

We get it. For a lot of you, the Classic app might be the only tool you’ve used to go caching. It has served the community well since 2008. However, a number of reasons led to the decision to retire the app.

At this time last year, we supported five apps (Geocaching® for iPhone, Geocaching® for Android, Geocaching Classic for iPhone, Geocaching Classic for Android, Geocaching Classic for Windows Phone). As a small company, we realized we simply couldn’t keep maintaining that many apps. With only the Geocaching® app for iPhone and Android to support going forward, we can have a sharp focus on adding new functionality.

The Classic app was built in 2008 on code that no longer supports the dynamic functionality geocachers want and need. To give one example, your geocaching lists are synced between the website and the Geocaching® app. That functionality was not possible with the Classic app. The Geocaching® app’s more sustainable technology enables us to consider many more improvements that the Classic app could not accommodate.

We’re going to keep working to improve the Geocaching® app long after March 23. We’ll keep you updated as we add new features, and we want you to keep telling us what you want to see in the Geocaching® app by completing this survey.

K&K LOST Train

K&K LOST Train — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC2J0H0
by K&K
Difficulty:
2
Terrain:
1.5
Location:
Egypt
N 27° 22.616 E 033° 39.778
K&K LOST Train
K&K LOST Train

El Gouna is a completely man-made tourist resort located in eastern Egypt on the Red Sea. There you will find golfing, horseback riding, scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing, parasailing, and snorkeling. There are two main beaches, Zeytuna and Mangroovy, which attract tourists sun-seeking from around the world. El Gouna is known as the “Little Venice of Egypt” due to the canals that allow each house to have its own strip of “beach” even if you may be quite far inland.

Egyptian tuk tuk
Egyptian tuk tuk

But just 10 minutes outside of this luxurious area, you will find something very different: an old train left stranded in the desert.

Skeleton crew
Skeleton crew

Talk about lost places. There are just two dirty, rusted, and battered train cars covered in graffiti. The tracks start at a pile of bricks, go under the cars, then simply end in the middle of nowhere. The rails are just long enough for the two cars to sit upon, plus a dozen sleepers (the wood beams that run perpendicular to the rails).

Weather worn
Weather worn

The most likely scenario is that this train was part of a line that was shut down due to maintenance or repair issues, and it was easier to leave these cars here than to haul them to another location. However, accurate information about this train is difficult to, ahem, “track” down. 😉

Tracks to nowhere
Tracks to nowhere

The train cars conjure up images of an era full of romance, mystery, and adventure. If they could only talk and tell us where they have been, what they have seen, and where they wish to go.

Last call
Last call

But that part is up to you, geocachers. Where will you go next to find romance, mystery, adventure, and maybe a geocache?

"Track" ables?
“Track” ables?
Chugga chugga choo choo
Chugga chugga choo choo
The sun is setting on this train
The sun is setting on this train
The end of a day, and an era
The end of a day, and an era

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.