Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Geocaching in Belanglo, with James.

Firstly, let me state that my friend James asked me to accompany him on this particular Geocaching excursion, partly because he does not have a 4WD vehicle (and certainly the roads did warrant the extra traction). But frankly, I think we both felt better about doing this trip "in company".

Having got that out of the way, let me explain a little about what Geocaching is. It involves using GPS coordinates to find objects located in interesting locations. One then records one's achievement with an entry in a Log Book, (inside the "cache" - usually inside a waterproof container - such as a small Lunch Box, or similar). Subsequently, one can also report the successful discovery of the cache on the Website.

You may read more about the origins and history of Geocaching from Wikipedia,  or visit the International home page, or the Australian home page.

So where were we going?
Welcome sign at Belanglo State Forest

The sign says it all.
This State Forest is  associated with
notorious series of Backpacker Murders.
Memorial plaque at Belanglo State Forest.

A private memorial for Simone Schmidl

James told me that this is a fairly typical bush cache site.
The box is located inside a tree stump.
There were some logs placed over the hollow, partly to protect the "cache" and partly to disguise it, to make it a little harder to find.
James opened the cache, signed the "log", replaced all the little trinkets and "souvenirs" left there by previous Geocachers. We then left the Belanglo State Forest.
This cache was located at a discreet distance
from the memorial.

But James had another challenge up his sleeve.
He had heard about a yacht in the nearby Penrose State Forest.
Yes, that's right. A large steel yacht in the middle of a Pine Forest.

James approaching the Yacht.
A clearer photo of the Yacht.
A slightly closer view of the Yacht.
From below, you can see the keel
and get a better idea of the size of this yacht.
This low end of the yacht was much higher than my head.
The keel is fully exposed.
The propeller and rudder have been removed.
 But finding the yacht was only part of James's mission. He had to locate the "cache".
He knew that it was hidden inside the yacht, so, there was nothing for it for him to climb inside the yacht and search for the small box containing the log.

James holds the cache up in triumph.
James triumphant - cropped image
There always has to be an "exit strategy"
I decided to do a search for any "background" on this yacht, but could only find reports from Trail-bikers, and car rally enthusiasts, and a few photos, but no explanation of why the yacht is there. Someone did suggest that a child's toy had been lost, and it grew as the forest around it grew. Cute, but not really what I was after.
Here is a link to a photo of the Yacht taken in February 2007.

Interestingly, the yacht clearly has been moved along the track several hundred metres in recent times. Quite how this has been achieved or indeed why, remains a mystery to me. It is a full-sized steel hulled yacht and must be enormously heavy.


Sam Wheatley said...

Wow! Sounds like a great adventure! I wonder..did it feel strange or eery being there?

Denis Wilson said...

Not scary, as the day was warm and pleasant, and we were on the edge of the natural forest, not in the pines (close by, though).
I find dark pine forests scarier as the noises and scents of the forest are less familiar to me.

Jo Mitchell said...

now, in a boat in the middle of a forest is one place I've never found a cache before!! Great story Denis!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Jo.
Well you are probably old fashioned enough to expect yachts to be in the Barwon River.
It really was pretty odd.
I know nothing of its history, but is has moved recently.