This blog post was written by geocaching superwoman and Geocaching HQ employee, Annie Love.
Last November I attended The Alexandra Event 2017 in Victoria, Australia. I was welcomed by geocachers from all over the country and spent the sunny spring weekend exploring the beautiful countryside through some amazing geocaches. While I toured around with local reviewers Pete and Helen (Bunjil), we ran into a group of four ladies on a similar caching path. They were usually a step ahead of us while solving some fun yet tricky gadget caches.
I quickly learned that I’d have to communicate differently with this caching group since all the members of their team were deaf. Smiles, waves, my typical thumbs up, and writing on paper would be the proper methods of communication. As the day progressed smiles increased each time we saw each other.
After meeting this wonderful group of women, I learned from Pete and Helen that they’re part of a large community of deaf geocachers. There are about 25 members in the Deaf Australia Geocaching Facebook group from all over the country. The group communicates mostly on Facebook and they often meet in person at geocaching events throughout Australia. Through their group, they tell stories of their adventures and share their challenges with each other.
Upon my return, I reached out to one of the members I met and asked a few questions. Cheryl (crank1), created her account in early 2009 after she was introduced to the game by her friend Lava12, and has since found nearly 9,000 geocaches. When asked how the game impacts her life, she says “It takes me to places I wouldn’t usually go. Also keeps me young and active.”
Apparently, a member of the group is one of the top five finders for the country. Everlasting, with over 26,000 finds, is a good friend of Cheryl’s and often meets up with her in Melbourne for cache outings. Cheryl told me, “She (Everlasting) travels around Australia caching. When she visits Melbourne, she stays at my house and we go caching for hours. She is a fantastic help to others in the caching community and will always offer assistance.”
Cheryl explained that being deaf can create challenges when searching for certain geocaches, such as those which require music knowledge. However, deafness can provide advantages for other types. Cheryl says, “Being deaf means my other senses are heightened. When I search for caches, sometimes my visual cues and clues are ‘sharper’ than other cachers.”
I am fortunate to have met Cheryl and learn about their group. The smiles from them and their cheers when they figured out a tricky gadget cache are memories I’ll never forget.