Radu Clapa (Radu C) is Romanian-born and now resides in Denmark. He does not own much in the way of special gear, equipment, or clothing, and insists many people could do what he’s done if they just have the willpower. He swears he’s a normal guy.
Except this “normal guy” is doing the exceptional: geocaching on a bicycle through 16 countries, focusing on T5s, Virtual Caches, Webcams, and oh, about 1,400 other “regular” geocaches. He calls the journey, “Geocaching Bicycle Touring Europe 2017”, or GBTE2017.
His 7,800 km (4900 mi) adventure started in Denmark on July 5th and will end on Wednesday, November 15th in Romania. Here’s his story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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