Covid Cannot Contain These Clever Cachers
One of my 2020 New Years resolutions was to attend, or host, a geocaching event whenever I travel.
By Jim Donovan
If you follow this blog, or my geocaching adventures on social media, you know that I travel quite a bit for work. My travel schedule is pretty predictable, I generally travel to one destination several times over a three year span. For the past few years, Hawaii has been one of the destinations in the travel rotation. Don’t miss my Geocaching in Hawaii posts.
My final two trips to the Aloha state were scheduled for March and June 2020. I planned to keep my resolution and host a geocaching event in paradise!
On a previous trip I scouted several locations to hold the event and I found the perfect spot. It was right on Wakiki Beach with the iconic Diamond Head crater in the distance. A local geocacher confirmed that it was a great location because it offered free parking nearby!
GC8KX72 Pre St Patrick’s Day Sunset was published and people began to log “Will Attend”. The excitement was building for the March 15 Event.
Then This Happened:
January 7 – The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that Chinese Officials had identified a novel virus belonging to the coronavirus family similar to the flu and the common cold.
February 11 – The WHO announced that the new Coronavirus would be called “COVID-19”
In the weeks leading up to the event, news of the COVID-19 continued to escalate. Companies began restricting travel and tradeshows and events around the world began to postpone and cancel. My company restricted all international travel, but the Hawaii trip was still on.
March 11 – T-minus three days til departure. All systems are still a GO. However, the WHO declares the Coronavirus a global pandemic.
I start receiving messages from cachers asking about the status of the event. My optimism begins to fade.
March 12 – two days before my departure, my company pulls the plug and institutes a travel ban through April 30, 2020. Geocaching HQ emailed their recommended caching and event guidelines.
March 13 – It was fourth down and long and time was running out. I decided to call an audible. Literally! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I scheduled a conference call and posted the call-in number in the log. The event was scheduled for 6pm Hawaii time which was 11pm in Chicago. I wasn’t sure if anyone would participate.
March 15 – The event day arrived. I dialed into the conference call line and waited. Then i heard the familiar ding! Someone had joined the call. A few seconds later there was another caller. Then another!
We had a total of eight cachers who participated in the geocaching event and there were two separate couples that were able to show up at the event site who called in and posted their pictures to the log.
It was hard to facilitate the cache call without knowing or being able to see the participants and it didn’t last very long. But for those who participated it was a unique experience and if these travel restrictions and “stay at home” orders continue, it might be the last successful event for awhile.
‘A ‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia (No task is too big when done together by all)
– Hawaiian Proverb
HI Geocaching Event Awards
First to Register: Ahuimanu Huiui
Second to Register: Cache Lee
First to Phone In: Skotlee
Furthest from Home: Nessieboombatz & Schiebelicous (pictured here)
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