|Geocaching in kayaks. What could be more fun?|
“What in the world is a geocache, Baytown Bert?”
|Baytown Bert explains geocaching.|
Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 200 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica, and the International Space Station. After more than 12 years of activity there are over 1.7 million active geocaches published on various websites. There are over 5 million geocaches worldwide.
|We rowed out at 0700 and the temperature rapidly rose into the 90's!|
In our group were the flowery and imaginative names geocachers adopt: CacheStacker, HoustonControl, Kirbydox, Rich & Lola, BaytownBert and Cache'Magnet. We launched at Bayland Park in Baytown at 0700 sharp and began paddling out toward the first cache.
|The water looks deep, but is probably less than four feet deep!|
It was a “soda tube” and was an old pumpjack platform. Sodatube is a term common amongst geocachers and usually contain only a sheet of paper called a logbook. They are unexpanded soda plastic bottles with lids. Geocacher’s sign the logbook to prove they found it. All six caches on this adventure were waterproof soda tubes, incidentally. Some of us forgot an ink pen, to sign the log - a common tool needed and one that is often forgotten. We carry so much high-tech gear and stuff when we go out on the water or trail, it is common to forget something. One of us signed the logbooks for all though, saving the day.
|Kirbydox and Cachestacker sign the logbook!|
Cache'Magnet, better known as ex-hand model Michael Sievers my son-in-law, and I were in very good company. Kirbydox, a retired engineer and avid geocacher has found over 12,800 caches, Rich and Lola – a husband and wife team who travel in separate kayaks to "preserve their marriage", have found over 12,390 caches, and the Clear Lake Area Paddling Series (CLAPS) maestro – Kevin Biekert, better known as CacheStacker has found in excess of 4880 caches and hidden or “owns” 157 geocaches.
|Larry Houston "HoustonControl" signs the log book, located on the the Tabbs Bay Causeway.|
If you own a cache, you are responsible for “maintaining” it. It’s all about commitment and integrity. Some geocachers owners are very good at maintaining their caches and some aren’t. This group are in the good group of responsible cache owners. Larry Houston owns 119 and at any time he is out keeping them in pristine condition. He makes Baytown look as good as Kevin Biekert does Clear Lake City.
|Baytown Bert getting cooked in the sun on Tabbs Bay, Baytown, Texas.|
People actually come to Baytown exclusively to geocache; there are so many quality caches here. There is a large group of geocachers from the Beaumont area that regularly glean caches here and then they eat at our restaurants. They spend money here because they geocache here. The same can be said for north, west, and south Houston and further out.
|Lola, Cachestacker, and Kirbydox arrive at the island ahead of us.|
We arrived on Hog Island, which if rumors are true, has many rattlesnakes. We didn’t see any, but we did cross a three-foot giant hyacinth bean patch and those beans, also known as Indian beans, are quite edible. We located all four caches on the island fairly quickly, as the adventure was not in the caches being tricky, but simply to get people to come on the adventure. The cache owner is Bryan Wilpitz. He lives in the Highlands area and has many tricky “hides” to his credit. Our hat is off to him for bringing us out there.
|Eagle Scout Michael Sievers sports a patriotic patch on the back of his shirt, showing support for our military.|
On the paddle back, Mseivers09 and I got in a two hundred yard sprint against the seasoned kayaker’s Kirbydox and Cachestacker and I’m not bragging (very much), but we went by them so fast, I got out of the kayak and began swimming to keep them from giving up altogether.
|Kevin Beikert takes a photo out towards Morgan's point.|
The bottom line is if you haven’t used one of our seven bays, Goose Creek Stream, or Cedar Bayou to enjoy Baytown waterways, you are simply missing out.
|Larry Houston (HoustonControl) leads the way back to Bayland Park. Mission accomplished!||.|