Geocaching and the Ultimate World Cruise: an interview with GaryAZ

On December 10, 2023, the Ultimate World Cruise set sail on the adventure of a lifetime. The 274-night cruise quickly gained popularity on social media and made headlines around the world. Geocachers are everywhere, and the Ultimate World Cruise is no exception. LuVerne Underhill, also known as GaryAZ, is an experienced geocacher from Scottsdale, Arizona, who is aboard the 9-month cruise!

We interviewed LuVerne to learn how she discovered geocaching, her experiences on the Ultimate World Cruise, her favorite travel destinations, and much more.

Geocaching HQ: Tell us your geocaching origin story! How and when did you hear about geocaching?

GaryAZ: After retirement my husband and I began taking trips in our motorhome, joining with other full-time RVers. At a rally, one driver in a trail ride came on the CB (Citizens Band Radio) “There’s a geocache out here, I’m going to go find it.” We all followed and found it. This was in February, 2005. This began our love of searching for caches all over the world. We have found caches in every state, all Canadian provinces and many countries around the world. Since my husband’s death I am mostly finding caches in the countries I visit.

GaryAZ team at Wupatki Pueblo Blowhole, Arizona, 2009.

Geocaching HQ: What is your background outside of geocaching?

GaryAZ: I was the Assistant Treasurer of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. My husband changed his career from a Chemical Engineer to a Real Estate Broker in Arizona.

Geocaching HQ: What is your favorite cache you’ve found?

GaryAZ: There are so many, but the one that is memorable is the puzzle cache which is depicted as the space shuttle on the Houston NASA grounds which needs to be solved and then the individual caches found. We felt a big sense of accomplishment when we found them all.

Geocaching HQ: How do you choose what geocaches you want to find when visiting a new place?

GaryAZ: Since I am on the Ultimate World Cruise the biggest thing in looking for a cache in a port is that the cache is near the ship and/or an excursion that I am taking. When I am in an area where I am staying longer I like to look for puzzle caches, EarthCaches, and caches that take me to places chosen by the owner that are in sites the user knows has some exceptional view or historical information.

Gateway of the Citadel, Uruguay, 2024.

Geocaching HQ: What is your favorite destination you’ve visited while geocaching? Why does it stand out as a favorite?

GaryAZ: Wow, that is a hard one. In Arizona a lot of caches are placed in remote areas, many only accessible by Jeep or ATV. We loved 4 wheeling and spent a lot of our searches at the Goldwater Range or remote areas in the hills. It gave a double pleasure to our search.

Near GC2BFEX, Arizona, 2010.

Geocaching HQ: Do you have any geocaching goals or specific caches you’re hoping to find in 2024?

GaryAZ: I started this World Cruise last December, 2023. The adventure is a 9 month trip. Our trip has changed from entering the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal to cruising around Africa before entering the Mediterranean and visiting Greece and Italy. The cruise will then continue as planned. I have met a few other cachers and we are working together to get caches in every country.

Near GC8456H, South Korea, 2024.

Geocaching HQ: What made you decide to embark on the Ultimate World Cruise?

GaryAZ: My husband and I began cruising seriously in 2013 and were excited to find treasures in every country we visited. Due to COVID we had 6 planned cruises that were postponed. When Gary passed away I still had the desire to travel. I received an email stating that this cruise was being offered, so I decided I would be able to complete my travel bucket list if I booked it. I had never been to the Antarctic and many of the Pacific Islands, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. An added benefit is the chance to go around Africa and stop in several countries along the way. I have loved traveling my entire life and getting to know more about the countries and their residents.

Sydney, Australia, 2024.

Geocaching HQ: What has been your favorite part of the cruise so far?

GaryAZ: The opportunity to go to Antarctica. Even though our ship didn’t stop, we had amazing views of the glaciers and the sea life that is there.

Antarctica, 2024.

Geocaching HQ: What advice do you have for others who want to find geocaches while traveling?

GaryAZ: I do my caching on the Geocaching® app now. It means that I don’t have to carry an additional device. If one knows exactly what area they are visiting it really helps to download the caches. I have Google Fi for my carrier. However, due to the long time I am out of the US I lost my data coverage and so I have downloaded an app that provides an eSim card to have communications in the countries I visit. It is always wise to know where it is safe to search for caches. Don’t go to places by yourself, let someone know where you’re going.

Statistics by Project-GC.
Dana is a Community Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. If Dana isn't out geocaching, she is probably snuggling with her cat, drinking coffee, and daydreaming about her next trip to Germany.