Flood Tested – Geocacher Approved: Lost Cache Found Years Later 30 Miles Downstream

Geocache found after 3 years after washing away in a flood
Geocache found after 3 years after washing away in a flood

Isn’t a wet logbook the worst? Or maybe a geocache filled with water is the worst? Or a geocache that isn’t well-marked might be the worst? Or  maybe even a geocache that can’t be found because it’s washed away by a flood is actually, really, the worst. Well then Sandra, aka junglehair‘s, geocache is the antidote to all those “worsts.”

She’s found more than 13,000 geocaches and hidden more than 70. She knows her geocaching stuff. Sandra’s knowledge includes using the right container for the right circumstances. They’re containers that are durable and last years. She says those containers are most importantly water-tight. None of that seemed to matter much though when a spring flood washed through Manitoba, Canada in 2010. Even though her geocache named Splashing New York Style was hidden high on the bank of a river, it was swept away.  After a string of DNF (Did Not Find) logs, she replaced the geocache container.

Lost & Found
Lost & Found

Then the years rolled by, until an email popped into Sandra’s inbox. She says, “I found out that one of my caches that was washed away in a spring flood in 2010, was found on an island about 60 km North of where it was originally hidden.” The story goes, “The cache was found by Rob Bruce, Marsh Manager at Oak Hammock Marsh while he was on a hunting trip in Netley Marsh. He had been camping on the island where the cache was found.”

Sandra says the geocache survived those three years intact and water tight. It was well marked so Rob knew the container was a geocache and he also knew how to contact the geocache owner. The geocache just bobbed along for years before finding a resting place on an Island on the south end of Lake Winnipeg.

Sandra says, “The really amazing part of this story is that the log book and other contents of this cache were still fairly dry inside! It was hidden in a Lock & Lock container (the real kind, not a dollar store knock off).”

It’s a Lost & Found lesson about quality, well-marked, water-tight containers. It’s also a lesson about luck. It helped that it ended up in the hands of a friend who geocaches, a lot. OHMIC returned the geocache, but he happens to mostly find them with more than 15,000 finds.

What are your tips, advice, techniques, tools… well you get it…  for placing a durable, water-tight, well-marked geocache?

  • JASTA 11

    Having had one or two get washed away on us, we now secure or containers with a tether made of 550 cord.

  • JARS

    Very nice endorsement of authentic Lock & Locks (not the dollar store kind). Same thing happened to one of our caches in an authentic L&L but not nearly as dramatic. Floated away in a spring storm then got an email about a year later that is was about 500 meters downstream. Picked it up – it was in decent condition. The contents were dry.

  • Cache Riprock

    Great testimony about waterproof containers. Still new at this and already dismayed at how many of our finds have soggy logs. Been bringing new blank ones along to replace – but if the container isn’t waterproof it isn’t going to do much good.

  • team mcarthur

    Fantastic story! And how cool that the cache was found by another Geo-Cacher. Cacher karma!

  • Brian Cartier

    One of my first hides — a 30 caliber ammo can — was inadvertently placed in a poorly drained forest that frequently flooded.
    The never leaked a bit even after being submerged for weeks at a time.

    I’ve found bison tubes and nano containers to be very poor for staying dry.

  • Zekester & Simon

    Your attention is drawn to this travel bug: http://coord.info/TB456B7, which originated as a geocache, and has a similar story. Lock n’ locks are pretty good, as are Otterboxes if you can keep them from getting stolen, but we are still firm believers in ammo cans. Also, keep in mind, there is nothing to keep you from lanyarding your hide so it does not become pollution.

  • Brian Cartier

    I tried posting a link to my how-to for creating preform caches, but it got flagged for moderation and who knows how long that will take. To see it search Google+ for “kathysgeek paddle cache primer”. The cost per completed cache is about $0.75.

    Preform tubes are awesome! I have several that have been submerged under 3 meters or more for days at a time and the logs are still bone dry. The only problem is when cachers don’t screw the lids on right, but that can happen with any cache container.

  • zargfinders

    Pretty interesting – we DNFed this cache earlier this year (but just DNFed stage 1!) so it’s cool for us to have something on the blog we can relate to.

  • Nik Cap

    3 years is impressive, but 30 miles is nothing!
    How about 60 miles? 🙂 http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCN6B6_flood-of-2004-2005
    Once again, a nice water tight container that was well marked and labeled.

  • Travis Smola

    There was one a few years ago here in Michigan that got washed out into Lake Michigan and showed up later on the beach across the lake in Wisconsin. The amazing thing about that story was that the people that found it in Wisconsin were actually geocachers just out for a walk on the beach! What are the odds on that one?

  • Nocona 1

    Here’s how I got introduced to geocaching. I included my original log in the first cache I placed.


  • Fun Mom

    Hi Everyone, HELP!
    My 13 year old son and his friends found the Geocache box by accident. They destroyed the box to reach it’s contents only find out that the contents said not to destroy the box. The box may have survived crazy weather and floods but not 13yr old boys. lol Anyways, can someone please give me an heads up on what we need to do next? Do we need to find a new box? There was no log inside the box. Do we need to now add a log book? Do we need to post somewhere on a website that the box has been found but not re-hidden yet?
    -Fun Mom from the OC

  • Matzig

    Impressive, however as the containers are supposed to be water tight to begin with this ride down the river is to be expected. But if you want to talk about an impressive feat, I found a geocache that had been abandoned by its owner because of a forest fire that had destroyed the area in 2007, and with no one able to enter the area for some years after the fire it was written off as having been destroyed. However when I found the canister in 2011 though everything in the immediate area had burnt to the ground the canister and log book were intact though the plastic goodies were now crusted to the bottom of the container and non recognizable.

  • Randall Pellow

    How do you log in your home coordinates to the geocache home page when the keyboard does not contain a degree symbol which is required in order to locate your home?

  • tom_zap

    wow! 3 years lost who ever found it must be happy

  • Doppelbock

    I have started keeping 2″x2″x4mm zip bags and fresh logs with me to help repair water damahed logs. Even if the container isn’t watertight st least the log sheet will stay dry.

  • Gossip Hound

    Find the cache on the map, and there is the name of the person who placed the cache there… Click on the name and you will be able to message them. I have notified owners that their caches were destroyed in the past, and they can decide what to do about it. Contact them and maybe suggest that you will provide a replacement box (would be a nice thing to do) and the original owner can stock it with a new log book.