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.

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Germany’s Highest Letterbox — Geocache of the Week

Letterbox
GC6F6C8
by hubersports
Difficulty:
2
Terrain:
2.5
Location:
Bavaria, Germany
N 47° 20.885 E 010° 12.946

A geocache that has the words “oldest”, “highest”, or “largest” in its title is bound to be interesting. Because—let’s face it—geocachers are drawn to extremes like a magnet is drawn to the underside of a park bench. But isn’t it especially great when the cache that’s the something-est is also just a really cool cache in itself?

That’s exactly what makes GC6F6C8 Geocache of the Week.

Yes, it’s the Höchste Letterbox Deutschlands (highest letterbox in Germany). It also has a remarkably beautiful view, is large enough to carry trackables, and greets you when you open it.

Geocachers 123MAINE in front of GC6F6C8
Geocachers 123MAINE in front of GC6F6C8

That’s right. When GC6F6C8  is opened or closed, the pastoral sound of a cowbell rings out. (You know, in case you’d missed the flowering meadows, towering white-capped peaks, and swinging cable-car next door and didn’t realize you were in the Bavarian Alps.)

The mailbox-like metal container is safely secured—it can only be opened with a key hidden in a nearby hide-a-key box—and for good reason. The cache is plainly visible and clearly labelled, making stealthiness a bit irrelevant.

Did we mention the cache is at a cable car station on the top of a very beautiful mountain?

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Thanks to hubersports for placing and maintaining this bucket-list geocache!

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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Intersect 2.0 — Geocache of the Week

Multi-Cache
GC548HP
by family Behrens
Difficulty:
2.5
Terrain:
1.5
Location:
Western Cape, South Africa
S 34° 11.630 E 018° 26.196
the perfect cache?

A multi-cache that leads you to a semi-secret spot in an old library rife with history, at which the first stage is an adorably disguised puzzle and the final is a hand-crafted tech-themed gadget cache with storage for as many trackable as one could ever need and a low chance of being muggled. Sound unreal?

It’s very real. In fact, it’s Geocache of the Week!

Near to Stage 1
Near stage 1 of Intersect 2.0

Located inside a library in a city outside of Cape Town, South Africa, “Intersect 2.0” is the epitome of a fun gadget multi-cache. The geocache was crafted by family Behrens and blends history with technology. Just as the Cache Owner was inspired to design this cache by another he’d previously found, finders of GC548HP are likely to come away with the itch to build their own super-cool gadget cache.

Stage 1

Visitors to the brick-walled reading garden of the Simon’s Town Library will find a quiet and picturesque place to read in solitude—or so they think.

Tucked discretely in a corner of the garden is a gnome pulling a cart full of pebbles…also known as stage one. The geocacher who spots the gnome will discover within a few seconds that his cart bears a load much more exciting than stones.

Stage 1 - Gnome
A gnome wearily bears the burden of stage 1

Contained within the cart are all the tools the geocacher will need to discover the code for stage two of the cache…but it won’t be easy. Inside the lock-n-lock is a block containing a series of wires. Touching the correct two wires together turns on a light on the block, indicating the correct code for stage two. Geocachers beware! Touching the wrong two wires together more than six times will lead to significant frustration.

The contents of Gnome's cart.
The contents of the gnome’s cart
Stage 2 (Final)

The final is inside of the Simon’s Town Library with permission from the library. The top drawer of the cupboard (which, by the way, was built by the cache owner by hand) can be unlocked using the code from Stage 1.

Inside is a working laptop with a set of detailed instructions explaining what the geocacher needs to do in order to unlock the code for the next drawer.

PicMonkey Collage
The final puzzle of Intersect 2.0

Finally, the second drawer can be opened and its contents revealed. In addition to a shelf dedicated to swag and special hangers for trackables, there’s a second laptop. But, mysteriously, no logbook yet. The cacher will need to do a bit of exploring to find the logbook itself.

The final - completely open!
The final – completely open

As far as maintaining this cache goes, the Cache Owner says that’s the easy part: “The only maintenance I have done is to replace the batteries in the cache. […] The fact that the cache is placed in a secure location and well locked up helps. I think as far as maintenance goes this one has been my easiest cache to maintain.”

At 43 favorite points, this cache has a 100% favorite point ratio—in other words, every Premium member who has visited this cache has awarded it a favorite point!

Words from the Cache Owner:

I would like to say a big thank you to the geocaching community for making our life full of smiles. Since we started geocaching life has become fun and as a family we love caching and getting out there finding caches and new experiences, that without geocaching we would not have done.

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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The Secret Whitelist — Geocache of the Week

Mystery Cache
GC69Q0D
by El abnorgollums724
Difficulty:
4.5
Terrain:
2.5
Location:
Switzerland
N 47° 22.913 E 008° 51.881

“The Secret Whitelist” is a well-crafted, highly entertaining dramatic comedy short film and mystery cache.

The clues that will lead you to its final location are hidden within the film, created by and starring the cache owners: El Tornado, abnorMali, sven724 & die-gollums.

When the film opens, geocachers have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances left and right, and the frantic and frightened Thomas Upper finds himself next in line. He suspects the criminal organization, the Muggles, who target geocachers and geocaches, are behind it all. The police are no help.

Upper knows he must be added to the Whitelist, a list of geocachers who’ve paid protection money to the Muggles in exchange for being left alone. He appeals to David Öseler—a disheveled, rookie detective who loves his drink—who agrees to take the case. “My first case!” he says. “And maybe my last.

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Detective Öseler listens intently as Upper describes the situation.

The detective calls an associate of his, and a meeting is set up. After an exchange of the secret code (“A crocodile is like this: the greener it is, the more swim…” and “In the winter, it’s colder than outside…”) they get down to business.

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Öseler meets a strange stranger in an underground parking lot (even stranger!)

The detective’s associate shows him which tools he’ll need to locate the secret Whitelist. He warns the detective, “The Muggles are more hostile than ever.”

The secret contact shows Oseler what he'll need to find the Whitelist.
The secret contact shows Oseler what he’ll need to find the Whitelist.

And after that, the viewer is told to slip into the role of the Detective, and begin the hunt for the Whitelist! The viewer has all the same tools and clues at their disposal as the detective…that is, if they paid attention!

In the seven months since being published, the cache has earned 94 favorite points (a 90% favorite rating).

The team that created this cache were elated by the response from the community. “Wir wollten etwas ganz spezielles auf die Beine stellen. Wir waren überzeugt, dass dieser MultiMystery bei der Community gut ankommen wird. Dass dieser so einen Hype auslösen würde, hat uns doch überrascht.” [We set out to create something truly unique. We were shocked at the incredibly positive response from the community. The fact that it generated such a hype really surprised us.]

The cache owners had this to say to the geocaching community: “Als erstes möchten wir uns bei der Community bedanken, für die positiven Feedbacks und die tollen langen Logs, die geschrieben wurden. Danke auch an alle Cacheowner für die unzähligen tollen Caches die wir besuchten und die wir noch besuchen dürfen. Passt auf die Muggels auf!” [First of all, we want to thank the Community for the positive feedback we’ve received and all the great logs that have been written. Thanks also to all the cache owners out there for countless amazing geocaches that we visited, and that we may still visit. Watch out for the Muggles!]

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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.