New Zealand again

10 01 2012

I spent the first week of 2012 at home ticking off a cache or two per day in order to fill in my DOTY matrix. It would have been difficult if the winter had been like the previous one when there was a lot of snow and the temperatures were regularly below -15C. This year the very unusual green winter has been a bonus in terms of finding caches. I also started a new job after New Year, in the same company that I have worked in for ages, telling my new manager that I would be away for a month on vacation. Good start!

Not a good start to my vacation though as I caught a bad cold just before leaving and am still suffering which means that the T4 and above will have to wait. Luckily there were some D4 and above caches available that needed ticking off my D/T hit list. As I am starting my NZ traip in Christchurch where I have friends, that’s where most of my caching will be done. The first cache I attempted was Little G’s – Says Stick It! This was a D5/T2.5 and was a nano (bad enough) in a forest (really bad). Not only that but it was in an area marked out with reflective night tacks that contained about 50 trees and any number of branches (sticks) lying on the ground (terrible).

It took 20 minutes to find all the tacks and devise a temporary marker system that was more efficient (branches leaning against the trees) before the search area was defined. After a further 60 minutes of searching a guy and his son wandered over with the words “Have you found it yet?”. We exchanged geonicks and imagine my surprise when we did so. Why you may wonder?

(Wow, now at 7:27 on Wed 11/1 the whole place is shaking. That’s the fourth rumble in the past three hours.)

I had spent hours at home looking at a D5/T1 puzzle cache called A Matter of Perspective which without giving too much away involved digging into the web page source code and using loads of lateral thinking to moved through the multi layer puzzle. The first few levels were easy, then a bit harder progressing on to diabolical. A list of over 800 coordinates to chose from that gave me grief. The cache owner was called 8ManAfter, an American professor on loan to Canterbury University specialising in compter science and game theory. Would you be surprised if I say he likes puzzle caches? We have had mail contact over the past month around the above cache, so bumping into each other an hour into my first cache hunt on NZ this trip was an amazing coincidence.

So he and his youngest son who was with him and I hunted for the nano in the forest for another hour before giving up and wandering over to the next closest cache and finding that. Of course, I expounded on my line of reasoning and it seems that I was so close to the answer it wasn’t real. One word from him and the key to the solution was there. I still had a further hour of code breaking but I cracked the puzzle.

The day after we returned to Little G’s – Says Stick It cache and found it within minutes. It was just a case of looking in the right spot from the right angle and it was there. Grr! Frustrating!

ds8300 and 8ManAfter with cache in hand

I also, thanks to 8ManAfter, became acquainted with Sujiken, which looks like a half a Sudoku matrix cut along a diagonal.

Blank Sujiken Board

Here there was a series ranging from easy to extremely difficult. I have solved the first five and am on the final one – another D5 cache.
Sujiken-terbury 1: Easy (D2/T1)
Sujiken-terbury 2: Intermediate (D3/T1.5)
Sujiken-terbury 3: Challenging (D3.5/T1)
Sujiken-terbury 4: Difficult (D4/T1)
Sujiken-terbury 5: Gimme a Break!! (D4.5/T1.5)
and still to solve
Sujiken-terbury 6: @#$%&!! (D5/T1.5)

It’s great being able to find caches of varying complexity as they will all help me towards finding a further few puzzle caches.
New Zealand D/T Bingo 3 Line Challenge (D5/T5) or failing that
New Zealand D/T Bingo 1 Line Challenge (D4.5/T4) or failing that
One Thousand Points of Light Challenge (D5/T4.5)

It seems as though I am foresaking traditional caches in favour of puzzle caches, but it’s only just a temporary step until my cold disappears and I can become more active again and hunt for some of the high terrain caches.
Just walking around the area I am reminded of the problems that there are in Christchurch. In Lyttelton where I am staying the before and after views of the town show the differences even though the photos are not taken from exactly the same place.

Lyttelton 2010

Lyttelton 2012




One response

27 01 2012
Daniel Takayama

Thanks for a good geocaching blog post! I havn’t been to NZ but I sure would like to visit, not only for geocaching. 🙂

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