Sunday, August 26, 2012

Geocaching Adventures: The 5/5

Today I bagged my first 5/5 geocache.

For those that may not be familiar with geocache ratings, they are rated on a scale of 1-5 for both difficulty of the hide, and difficulty of the terrain to get to the hide.  So a 5/5 cache would be among the hardest caches to get.  A terrain 5 can also mean that special equipment is required to get to the cache - in this case a boat.

The cache is on a breakwater made up of large rocks in Port Maitland ON, where the Grand River meets Lake Erie.  The last time I was in the area I had my eye on the cache, but since I lacked a boat I could not get out to the breakwater.  Swimming is out due to the high currents in the channel. It was also winter so water activities of any kind was a bad idea.

This time, being the height of summer, weather wasn't a problem.  I had posted an info log on the cache  asking about boat rentals in the area.  I got a response from the cache owners, Kreamers&BearsKrew, who offered me the use of their boat.   Awesome!

Today I took them up on their offer, and we (Tonka Tyke and myself) met Beamers&BearsKrew (a husband/wife team and their infant daughter).  We piled into their boat and headed off the 0.2 miles across the port to the breakwater.

Making the landing was tough.  The wind had picked up and the waves were getting high, so we couldn't just pull alongside the rocks (we tried - we failed).  So the plan was for me to perch on the bow, and jump off when the bow gets close to the rocks (Tonka Tyke would stay on the boat as it was way to rough for him to get off)

So that is exactly what I did. I climb over the windshield and perch on the bow. The bow bumps the rock. I leap off the bow.  After I ensures my feet were secure on the damp rock I signal success to the boat. Landfall.

My heart was pounding from the excitement of the landing, but I immediately start clambering over the rough rocks in search of the geocache.

I finally found it perched among the rocks.  I quickly signed the log, and replaced everything as found.

My mission complete it was time for extraction, which was the same process in reverse: boat approaches the rocks, I jump onto the bow, then climb over the windshield and then head back to the mainland.

Surprisingly this went off without a hitch.  I had managed to jump off a boat onto a pile of rocks, find a cache, and jump back onto a boat - all in high waves - without getting wet.  Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

Afterwards we took a tour up the Grand river for a ways, then returned to the mainland.

After we parted ways with Kreamers&BearsKrew I took Tonka Tyke over to the pier to check out the lighthouse (where I proposed to my wife), and Tonka Tyke climbed on the rocks.

We then headed home, tired but happy.

This was an amazing and adrenalin filled adventure, and my first proper 5/5 caches.  A great way to spend a morning.

I'll leave you with some more scenes from the day: