Trying to discern what the mirror is for.

A Box of Red Herrings — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC6NQC2
by burgo78
Difficulty:
4
Terrain:
1
Location:
Townsville, Australia
S 19° 17.724 E 146° 46.327

“A Box of Red Herrings” (GC6NQC2) delivers exactly what it promises. The cache itself is hidden with permission inside the Aitkenvale Library in Queensland, Australia. It’s not  difficult to spot, but the logbook inside is as well protected as J.K. Rowling’s sorcerer’s stone.

The cache sits in an inconspicuous corner of the library.
The cache sits in an inconspicuous corner of the library.

At ground zero you’ll find a three-foot tall cupboard with each of its drawers padlocked. Tackle the bottom drawer first, using instructions on the cache page and letters from a nearby library sign as your guide.

"A Box of Red Herrings" is easy to find but tricky to open.
“A Box of Red Herrings” is easy to find but tricky to open.

Open that drawer to find over a hundred mostly unmarked keys. You might start to feel like Harry Potter himself as you search through a throng of dud keys to locate one that will unlock the middle drawer.

It'll take a while to sift through the contents of the bottom drawer to find the right tool to open the middle one.
It’ll take a while to sift through the contents of the bottom drawer to find the right tool to open the middle one.

The middle drawer contains several items. Some may be useful in opening the top drawer and gaining access to the log inside. Most are red herrings. The challenge lies in discerning which are which.

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The contents of the middle drawer will take some time to sift through.

The middle drawer contains the following:

  • A magnifying glass and a small clue; on the clue some letters and numbers are in bold or capitalized
  • Two tent pegs which will fit into holes in the drawers
  • A telescoping magnet
  • A mirror and a backwards note
  • Toothpicks and a block of wood – when the toothpicks are pushed into the holes in the wood they spell something in Roman numerals
  • Several plastic eggs, some with letters on them
  • A UV torch
Is it a literal or a figurative red herring?
Is it a literal or a figurative red herring?

Is one of the objects — or are several of them in combination — a clue? Or is there some other trick to getting the top drawer open? We won’t reveal any more than that here, but cachers who make it out to this cache won’t find it an easy one to finish…unless, says the cache owner, they ask for a hint from the local older gentleman who often sits in a chair near the cache.

The UV torch highlights a clue...or another red herring.
The UV torch highlights a clue…or another red herring.

Impressively, the cache owner, burgo78, has only been geocaching since March of 2016, proving that it doesn’t take years of geocaching practice to design a cool hide. He’s been thoroughly enjoying his first year of caching. “I now have 800+ finds and have 60 hides in Townsville (plus one in the USA, and one in England); some are simple containers but most are either a little harder to get to (boat or remote) or are a little more creative as these are the types of hides I enjoy finding myself.”

The bottom and middle drawer successfully unlocked. One to go!
The bottom and middle drawer successfully unlocked. One to go!
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A mysterious jar of sticks can be arranged into a mysterious upright row of sticks.

Although he’s sure his caches will provide a fun challenge for many, burgo78’s motives may lie elsewhere. “I also hope that this cache my inspire new hides in Townsville as I’ve found almost all of the 400 currently in place and the next substantial city is over four hours’ drive away.” The struggle is real.

Trying to discern what the magnifying glass is for.
Trying to discern what the magnifying glass is for.

Until now, only a few folks have found “A Box of Red Herrings”, but the comments have been unanimously positive. Burgo78 hopes that more cachers will rise to the challenge and won’t be too distracted by the red herrings they’ll encounter along the way.

We can see a lot of work and thought has gone in to this really great cache. We tried many options, slowly and methodically working towards success. My comment when I signed the log, “WOW”. Thank you, a favorite for us.

The logbook finally reveals itself.
The logbook and a trove of other objects — mysterious and otherwise — finally reveal themselves.

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.

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Old McPlumberman Had A Farm — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC6V4ME
by Plumberman63
Difficulty:
3.5
Terrain:
1.5
Location:
New Brunswick, Canada
N 45° 30.592 W 065° 52.629

LastZoo and Plumberman63 are a geocaching couple from New Brunswick, Canada. They designed their gadget cache, “Old McPlumberman Had A Farm” in October 2016 as part of a local gadget-cache-building challenge. After 25 finds the cache still has a 100% favorite-point ratio, and more than a few geocachers have expressed their deep displeasure about being able to award only one favorite point!

Geocaching HQ reached out to Plumberman63 and LastZoo for a description of their cache, which is generating rave reviews from all who visit. Read on to find out how this intricate and involved gadget cache works!

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Darlings Island is a small, little known island in southern New Brunswick, on the East Coast of Canada, surrounded by a lake and a river. It is known for it’s hundred year old covered bridge, mild summers perfect for kayaking or fishing adventures, challenging winters with snow drifts and whiteouts, and the picturesque rolling hills and family farms. It is our goal to also make it known as a destination for gadget caches.

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Our first gadget cache is a small handmade barn complete with a weather vane, hay loft, barn door and attached silo. It is perched on a post along our driveway. As you enter our driveway, the bright red barn on a post could seem like a birdfeeder or birdhouse to the passerby, but the geocacher in search of this cache will immediately recognize it as ground zero. The unsuspecting geocachers will assume that one must simply walk up, figure something out really quick, and voila, the hidden cache container will be revealed, but… not so fast!

While it seems rather simple at a quick glance, this geocache container took nearly 40 hours to build from scratch. While one of the elements was inspired by a WVTim geocache my wife (LastZoo) and I found while exploring in West Virginia this summer, the rest is a combination of different little tricks and components that make the cache fun and challenging all rolled into one.

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As you approach the barn, you’ll easily see that tucked away underneath the barn is a padlock with a 4 digit code guarding access to the logbook compartment. Old McPlumberman had a code… E.I.E.I…uh-oh… Where is the code?

Each handmade component of the barn unlocks the next step to accessing the logbook compartment. The trick is to figure out which component does what, and which component one must start with. The barn is built sturdily so that it can be pulled and pushed and prodded without much danger or wrecking it, but thankfully solving each step does not require any force. Just patience. A barn-sized load of patience.

There are 4 codes for the padlock… and four steps to revealing the code. However, only the last step will provide the code to you, so that you won’t be tempted to give up at the third step. Once you’ve attempted the third step, you’ll know why we only revealed the code in the last step!

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SPOILER #1:
The first step is to examine the handmade weather vane closely. It is built with a long brass rode that reaches down into the hayloft and holds the hayloft door closed. Removing the weather vane is the beginning of the chain reaction you need in order to reveal the 4 digit code. In saying this, given that the weather vane is the first step, one would be correct in assuming that the second step has something to do with the hayloft.

SPOILER #2:
Once you’ve opened the hayloft door, you will notice several “bales of hay” stacked neatly in the hayloft. Oh, but wait…..! One bale is impaled with a steel rod. It is that very same steel rode that keeps the inside of the silo in place. You could stop there, and never find the logbook compartment, but since you’ve gone this far, why not unlock the silo by pulling on the hay bale?

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SPOILER #3:
Once you’ve unlocked the inside of the silo by moving the bale of hay, you will discover how devious Plumberman63 can be. This is the part that determines whether you’re standing in our driveway for ten minutes or an hour (or whether you want to throw eggs at our vehicles?). Hidden deep in the barn is another steel rod that guides the grooves carved into the inner cylinder of the silo. Lift the silo higher and higher by finding the right groove without making a wrong turn, and you will gain access to the final step required to reveal the 4 digit code. If it takes you over an hour, you can drop by our house for a break, and we’ll you a hug and some hot chocolate.

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SPOILER #4.
Since step 3 is the most difficult step, we decided to add a little fun to step 4 by including a popular kids game into the geocache. You’re welcome. The game instructions for our cache are on the game piece itself in French and English, the official languages in New Brunswick. This could take 3 minutes, or half an hour, depending on your observation skills.

The good news? You don’t have to repeat step 3 once you’re ready to put everything back together the way it was. Just insert the silo backwards, and then turn it the right way until it clicks back into place when the red arrows match up!

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Our favorite memories from this geocache are the reactions from the geocachers who read the description on the geocaching page, but weren’t sure what to expect. If looks could kill, Plumberman63 would have died as each geocacher attempted step 3… We also really enjoy the cleverly worded log entries, like the one made by 4CeasonS, which beautifully describe the experience without giving away the secrets. All in all, we’re happy to provide some entertainment as our way to give back in a small way to the geocaching community for the years of adventures and discoveries we’ve enjoyed through geocaching.

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.

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3 Comments

A new country souvenir for Singapore!

Statistically speaking, Singapore ranks as one of the best places on earth to be born, grow up, and die.

Singaporeans can expect to receive a first-class education and have one of the longest life-expectancies in the world. Their city is the hub of Asia’s financial services and high-tech sectors. Most citizens are bilingual; they represent a diverse collection of religions and cultures. And one of their most well-known national icons is a fantastical half lion, half fish hybrid: the Merlion.

But we think the country’s true greatness lies in its geocaches, which are as diverse as its citizens. They range in style and setting from tricky needle-in-a-haystack hides to gorgeous tropical views; from modern architectural creations to rocky seaside traverses. And if that’s not enough incentive to go caching in Singapore, from now on finding a cache there will earn you the Singapore country souvenir.

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Read on to learn about five of Singapore’s most noteworthy caches.

Butterfly Garden @ Changi Airport T3 Transit

GC1HA96 | by Orangefizzy & Buntoro | D1/T1 | Traditional Cache | 497 favorite points

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Airport caches are extremely rare, and for good reason. Getting permission from the appropriate authorities is difficult. But geocachers Orangefizzy and Buntoro did just that at Changi International airport in Singapore—they received permission for the cache from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore—and GC1HA96 is the result. The cache is placed in the airport’s special butterfly garden. Dappled with natural sunlight from a huge wall of windows, the garden is filled with over 200 species of tropical plants, 47 species of butterflies, a cascading waterfall, and air so humid you’ll meet your daily drinking water requirement just by standing there and breathing for five minutes.

TBH Trail – The Labyrinth

GC4XC21 | by riskysurv | D2.5/T2 | Mystery Cache | 20 favorite points

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To find GC4XC21, you’ll need to pick your way through a series of labyrinthine underground tunnels, but the only equipment required is a computer mouse and cursor. This mystery cache uses Google Maps’ interior “street view” images of the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter to create a fun and unusual puzzle. Click on the link from the cache page and you’ll be plopped down into a Singaporean parking lot…virtually, of course. Then find the open door nearby to Enter the Labyrinth and begin exploring. You’ll need to track down clues hidden within the walls of the shelter in order to answer questions on the cache page and solve for the final coordinates of the cache. It’s a fun puzzle worth working on at home even if you don’t have a trip to Singapore planned…yet.

Welcome to Chinatown

GC41AV5 | by onehappy & Just1gal | D2.5/T2 | Traditional Cache | 131 favorite points

The view at "Wecome to Chinatown" geocache.

An exploration of Singapore would not be complete without a visit to Chinatown. While you’re there, make your way up to GC41AV5. From ground zero of this cache, one can gaze down at the terracotta-colored roofs of the main Chinatown shopping area and plazas.The streets below seem busy at almost any time of the day, filled with “street performances, flea markets and lots of good hawker food,” as the cache page states. The view offers a striking visual of the contrast between traditional and modern architecture. And around Chinese New Year, colorful streamers and banners hang suspended over the streets like candy necklaces.

Metrohomme’s “The Story of a Migrant”

GC1GRJF | Adapted by Orangefizzy and Buntoro  | D3/T3 | Multi-Cache | 51 favorite points

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Geocachers who eschew crowds of camera-snapping tourists and prefer to delve deeply into the history of a place will likely enjoy the multi-cache GC1GRJF. The cache describes the life of Ah Long, who emigrated from China to Singapore in pursuit of grander opportunities. Although Ah Long himself is fictional, the locations to which stages of this cache lead are very real. At each stage, the listing text paints a picture of what the spot might have looked and felt like to someone like Ah Long from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. This cache fits neatly into the ever-growing category of educational geocaching, or “edu-caching”.

Bay Area: Esplanade Bridge

GC2QV9M | by Louise&Lauren | D1.5/T1.5 | Traditional Cache | 40 favorite points

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Marina Bay is sensational from any angle. Rimmed with glittering high-rises and swooping bridges, the bay area is the hub of Singapore’s hotel and entertainment industries. The futuristic Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino dominates the skyline to the south, forever deceiving tourists into thinking a cruise ship accidentally docked on some skyscraper roofs. The northern rim of the bay is guarded by a towering white Merlion, who roars out an endless gush of water. And in the middle of it all sits GC2QV9M, shaded by fluffy pink and white bougainvillea bushes. Searching for the cache among the bushes offers a welcome rest for the eyes after the spectacle of Marina Bay, but be warned: spending any amount of time face-first in the foliage is sure to attract attention from tourists and locals alike. Move covertly and replace as found.


Singapore joins Russia, Puerto Rico, and China as the latest geocaching country souvenirs. Souvenirs that are currently available can be found here. See the souvenirs you’ve already earned here. And, if you’ve already found a geocache in Singapore, the souvenir will be retroactively added to your profile soon.

There’s still one more country souvenir left to be revealed! Follow Geocaching on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or check back to the Geocaching Blog to find out which country is next.

Have you found a geocache in Singapore? Tell us your experience in the comments below!

Part of the "thrill" of diving in Horka is encountering the wildlife.

Horka Pumpenhaus — Geocache of the Week

Virtual Cache
GCNQ40
by Horka – Pumpenhaus
Difficulty:
5
Terrain:
5
Location:
Horka, Germany
N 51° 15.817 E 014° 14.897

Geocaching is an emotional game. There’s the elation of finding a cache after a prolonged search. The frustration of searching and searching for a cache that never turns up. The surprise of a cleverly disguised container, the anticipation of a highly-favorited gadget cache. The despair of losing a trackable…the guilt of losing a trackable. The pleasure of a good conservation with fellow cachers, the anticipation of hiding a new cache, the thrill of racing for the FTF, and of course, the terror and bewilderment of encountering a shark in the middle of a lake in Germany.

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Wait…what?

Yes, bewilderment and terror are commonly experienced emotions when searching for GCNQ40. This Virtual Cache is under murky waters in Horka Lake, which was once an old mining quarry. Now filled with water, the former quarry is a popular spot for scuba divers because of its unusually high visibility.

The old quarry that is now Horka Lake.
The old quarry that is now Horka Lake.
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If a tree falls in a forest, and the forest is underwater, will it make a sound?

In addition to the many natural elements that make for an interesting dive—the underwater forest, for example—the lake abounds with strange objects that were either placed there by divers over the years or are remnants of days when the lake bottom was a quarry bottom.

Someone took a long detour on their ride to work today...
Someone took a long detour on their ride to work today…
An old old pumphouse that was once party of the working quarry.
The old pump house that was once party of the working quarry.
An old wetsuit?
An old wetsuit?

Virtual Caches are a grandfathered cache type, which means no new Virtual Caches can be created anymore. A Virtual Cache is about discovering a location rather than a container. The requirements for logging a Virtual Cache vary—you may be required to answer a question about the location, take a picture, complete a task, etc.

In order to claim the find on Horka – Pumpenhaus, you’ll need to swim to the posted coordinates, then dive 30m down. At that location you’ll find a white object inside the old quarry pump house. Describe the object or take a location of the pump house to prove you were there.

Rocky1210 on the dive.
Rocky1210 on the dive.

When the Cache Owner, Laird McKai, first placed this cache in 2005, it was probably the first underwater cache in Germany. The CO was a Master Scuba Diver, for whom geocaching had a familiar appeal.

After every dive, you write a log and keep a record. Under water you have to find your way using a compass and sometimes you might try to find some sunken boats, such as the Coreolanus, which I dived to in Croatia. So diving is not to different to geocaching. Why not combine both?

The Cache Owner, Laird McKai, in an old diving helmet.
The Cache Owner, Laird McKai, in an old diving helmet.

So… what about those sharks from earlier? Fortunately for geocachers and divers, the sharks aren’t real (though they look realistic from afar). They were placed in the lake by the nearby dive school. The cache gallery abounds with diver/shark selfies.

Geocacher $miley is a bit too close for comfort.
Geocacher $miley is a bit too close for comfort.
Michao Team goes in for a close-up.
Michao Team goes in for a close-up examination of the shark’s dental situation.
Imagine seeing this from afar.
Imagine seeing this image from afar.

After eleven years, this Virtual Cache is still bringing joy (and fright!) to geocachers with the necessary scuba certifications and gear. And the Cache Owner is happy to still have it around. His advice for other cachers? “Enjoy your hobby, enjoy good quality caches and try to make others enjoy as well your cache you place by trying to make your caches special and memorable!”

Which begs the question, what’s the on-land equivalent of a full-size rubber shark?

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.