FTF 10 Years in the Making

FTF 10 Years in the Making (courtesy FradoMedia)

Belterra, Brazil seeps back into the rainforest. It’s a small town on the wrong side of progress. It’s getting smaller. A few thousand people now call the community home. The population has fallen from more than 10,000 when Belterra was at its peak as a rubber production hub.

At the beginning of 2012, a cache placed in Belterra in 2002, “Belterra” (GC3DF7), had never been found. The FTF (First to Find) on the cache remained unclaimed. The cache was without a log, without a DNF. No one logged even an attempt to find the cache for a decade… until this year.

German geocacher Frank Dornberger FradoMedia made his intentions clear to find the cache  at the end of 2011. He wrote a note on the cache page. “I will try to get to the cache in January, when I am in the area. I am really keen to find out if it is still there…” The jungle had crowded around the cache since it was placed. Frank still thought the cache was worth an attempt while traveling through the Amazon on vacation.

He wrote, “I found out that I was going to pass by close enough to try to get to this place. Some research about the area and even more proper preparation of the equipment was necessary to make sure that I could really get to this 1,5 star rated cache. Almost 13 hours on the plane and two days on the river Amazon, plus another hour in the car and a 15 minutes walk later, I was finally there.”

Frank at the geocache location in 2012 (courtesy FradoMedia)
Geocache location in 2002

But the “there” Frank saw in person was much different than the “there” he saw on the cache page from ten years ago. He wrote, “I was completely astonished what the place looked like. But after the first shock I thought, what could I have expected after 10 years of that temperature and humidity.” The open air building where the cache had been placed had completely collapsed. His only clue was that the cache was hidden inside a drawer.

His log reads, “… the building was almost completely rotten. So I went closer and into the rest of what was formerly an old house. I had my concerns that some of the wood would fall down and crash on my head, but I couldn’t resist. I had to look for the drawer… after about 45 minutes of searching and dragging I found a box that probably once was the cache.”

Frank new location of replacement cache (courtesy FradoMedia)

Frank says, “As I figured out  that the drawer was still in one piece and I saw the old glass bottles and then this black box I got pretty excited, of course. What was inside was a lump that looked more of coal than a logbook. So I cannot be 100% sure. But the location and everything  makes it very probable that I had a find.”

Frank logged a smiley and decided to keep the adventure alive for someone else to potentially be the STF (Second to Find) for this cache, “The hut is almost gone completely, but archiving the cache would be a pity. So I decided to place a new [cache] box nearby.”

FTF’s for Frank will now have to occur closer to home. He’s currently geocaching on the German island of  Rügen but says the trip to be FTF revealed a new piece of world, “Belterra is far away, that is true. But it is a little nice town nowadays, which is definitely worth a visit.”