Geocacher Finds Lost Wedding Ring and Searches for Owner

Editor’s Note:  Geocaching HQ holds an all company meeting once a month. The 80 folks from HQ; engineers, designers, IT pros, community managers, the volunteer support team, all the way through to the creators of Geocaching.com Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, discuss all things geocaching. The meeting changes each month. But there’s one constant.

Every meeting starts with a community story. The story showcases the best of the geocaching world, inspiring and connecting HQ even further to the lifestyle we help power and support.  

If you have a story you think we should read in the next Geocaching HQ meeting, tell us about it in comments below! 

This month’s story comes from the robust geocaching community in France. And was read by Carly.

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Jacques and Laurent. Image from “ouest france.”

January 2015

Geocacher Jacques, aka username “jajatitine”, was bored one day and decided to spend his afternoon -like any reasonable person would-  geocaching. As he explored his local neighborhood in Angers, France, he searched for a nearby geocache Le Nôtre à Angers placed in a bed of shrubs. While rummaging around, the wedding ring, which had lived on his finger for the last 38 years, fell into the brush. He headed home without his wedding ring and without finding the geocache.

March 2015

Fast forward a few months later, another geocacher named Laurent or “mr_mulot”, decided to hunt for the same geocache. After searching through bushes for 45 minutes, he stumbled across a gold wedding ring hidden beneath a pile of dead leaves. The ring was engraved with two names -Martine and Jacques- and a wedding date. He never found the geocache he had set out to find, but he had a new challenge. Laurent made it his mission to locate the owner of the wedding ring before the couple’s upcoming 40th anniversary. He had less than two years to succeed.

A Few Days Later 

Social media by itself is a powerful and viral tool. If you post an update on your Facebook page, chances are a number of people will see it and may even share it. Now, combine Facebook viral nature and a robust geocaching community, and your message will be unstoppable.

Laurent didn’t know this when he initially created the Facebook post. He had already contacted every geocacher who had logged the geocache and didn’t think his odds were good. However, the facebook post, which contained a picture of the ring and a note that it was found by a geocache, was shared to the local geocaching facebook group and voilà, the internet blew up.

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Laurent’s Facebook post. Shared over 140,000 times.

Happily Ever After

Geocachers shared the post with family and friends and asked them to share the post as well. 140,000 shares and a few days later, the post found it’s way to the computer screen of Jacques’ daughter Stephanie. She was one of many who had contacted Laurent inquiring about the ring, but she knew a detail no one else did; the name of geocache where the ring was lost. Stephanie surprised her father one evening with Laurent and the ring, and the rest is history.

“This story was a wonderful human adventure, and was marked by all those values that we cherish and like in geocaching…” said Laurent.

What started out as a two year mission for Laurent, turned into a few days with the help of social media, a determined geocacher, and an amazing geocaching community.

 

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Martine and Jacques (and their long lost ring), with Laurent
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All smiles!

 

 

The End

 

A special thanks to Jacques for sharing his story. 

Additional press mentions: ouest-france.fr, timeout.fr, and 20minutes.fr.

What You’re Missing at a Mega-Event – The Brugse Beer IV Mega-Event Video

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Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are planning to attend dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Reid Kuennen is the Geocaching HQ staff member behind the lens. She recently traveled to Belgium to join hundreds in celebrating geocaching and the geocaching community. Here’s her story (which includes a nifty video explaining it all). 

Bryan and Reid, "We may or may not have known how to play Kubb"
Bryan and Reid, “We may or may not have known how to play Kubb”

By Reid:

Last month I was honored to attend the Brugse Beer IV Mega-Event in Bruges, Belgium. My friend Bryan, who also happens to be one of the founders of Geocaching, was there with me and we had an unforgettable time. We played Kubb with skill and precision, we climbed the climbing wall with… a lot of help from the organizers, and we even ate fries with mayonnaise. Best of all, we had countless conversations with fun and inspiring geocachers from near and far.

As a thank you to all who attended and organized this awesome event, I have compiled a short video to capture some of the memories. Enjoy:

 

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5 Tips for Getting Your Film into GIFF 2014

Last Year's GIFF Geocoin. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com
Last Year’s GIFF Geocoin. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com

By Reid, 

Around this time last year, my co-HQer and the great Geocaching Block Party organizer, Amy, said something like, “Hey Reid, so it turns out we have access to a very large screen for Block Party. What should we do with it?” After a thoughtful pause I said, “What if we hosted a film festival?” Amy did a giddy dance and the Geocaching International Film Festival (GIFF) was officially born. In true “If you build it they will come” fashion, the ambitious idea was a success. We received over 100 submissions from more than 20 countries! After spending three years of telling the stories of geocachers for Geocaching HQ, I was truly inspired to see how the community chose to tell their own. Our inaugural GIFF was such a hit that we decided to do it again this year.

Crawling around in a cave. Anything for the shot!
Crawling around in a cave. Anything for the shot!

It has now been four years that I’ve been running through forests, crouching into caves, and crawling through sewers to tell the stories of people who love to find and hide geocaches. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes for good geocaching video, and with the help of the GIFF judges from HQ, I have compiled five tips to up your chances of being one of the finalists for this year’s Geocaching International Film Festival.

1. Less is More

Just because you can submit up to 4 minutes of video doesn’t necessarily mean you should. When I make videos I think, “What is the simplest way I can tell this story?” Then, I add from there if I can’t resist. This will help you focus on what is truly important and keep your audience engaged. Last year’s finalist, Godzilla Goes Geocaching, is a great example of a geocacher who used 1 minute and 32 seconds to tell his story.

2. Global Appeal

How are you going to communicate your love of the game to 9 million geocachers from more than 185 countries? Something that might be amazing for your local community may not speak to the global community. One of last year’s finalists, Geocaching Day, is a story told without dialogue that speaks to the adventurous spirit of geocachers everywhere.

GIFF on the Big Screen. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com
GIFF on the Big Screen. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com

3. Focus on Quality

We understand if geocaching comes before filmmaking on your hobby list—we’re not looking for Hollywood here. We are, however, looking for videos that will look and sound good on the big screen. If you can, use a tripod and an external mic. If you can’t, have your actors speak close to your on-camera mic and use a natural tripod like a tree or your friend’s shoulder. For inspiration, check out last year’s winner for Best Cinematography: Galaxy Cache. For more technical tips, I highly recommend checking out Vimeo’s Video School.

4. Follow the Rules

For real. We had to deny one of our favorite films last year because they didn’t have permission for the songs they used. If you’re serious about being considered as a finalist, I recommend grabbing a coffee, a snack, a highlighter and reading through the GIFF guidelines.

5. Have Fun!

If you’re not having fun making your film, your audience won’t have fun watching it. Though I know they didn’t get much sleep, I’m pretty sure the creators of My Geocaching Addiction had a pretty good time putting it together. Oh, and they just happened to take home the Audience Award.

We are on the edges of our exercise ball chairs over here at HQ to see what you come up with for GIFF 2014.

You can also see all of last year’s finalists here.

Not going to submit, but want to watch the finalists on the big screen? Log your will attend here.

Geocachers watching the GIFF 2013 Finalists. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com
Geocachers watching the GIFF 2013 Finalists. Photos by Suzi-Pratt.com
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New “What is Geocaching?” Video Debut

You’re among the first to see a new geocaching debut. We’re proud to launch the new “What is Geocaching?” video. Watch and share the easy-to-understand video to quickly show all those who ask you, “What is Geocaching?” Once you’ve shared the video, soak up all the thank you’ll receive for introducing people to the joys of geocaching.

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A Geocaching Beginner’s Guide – Geocache Container Pictures

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A geocacher’s study guide

Geocaching adventures can take you to new vantage points, down scenic roads and into long-forgotten forests. You’ll search through both new parks and familiar neighborhoods. The adventure is in the journey, but the real thrill can begin when you close in on the coordinates.

Geocaches can be recycled containers like pill bottles
Geocaches can be recycled containers like pill bottles

When you uncover a geocache, a hidden story is revealed: who traveled to this location and the adventure they had along the way. But the exact appearance of the container you’re looking for is often a mystery. The geocache page will usually tell you the size of the geocache, but sometimes you’ll encounter an “other” or a “not chosen.” They’re the wildcard size for geocache containers.

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Some geocache containers are easier to find than others…

At the top of this page, you’ll see eight geocache containers. Odds are you’ll encounter geocaches of this size most often. They’re all small or micro geocaches. More than 70% of geocaches listed on Geocaching.com are either listed as “micro” or “small.”

There are hundreds of variations on geocache shapes, from whimsical (think a small yard gnome in the woods) to devious (think of a fake security camera attached by magnets to the side of a building).

The most interesting geocache containers are often the ones you’ve never encountered before and likely will never see again. Keep your eyes and your mind open when you’re geocaching.  If you’re stuck, geocache pages often include helpful hints. Previous logs and pictures can also offer clues to find the geocache.

If you have more questions, check out the Geocaching 101 page. You can also post a question on the Geocaching Facebook page for the community to answer. To see clever geocaches being discovered, check out this video below for a look at 5 Geocaches in 30 Seconds.

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