Skip to main content

Geocaching Kayak-Style on Tabbs Bay!

Geocaching in kayaks.  What could be more fun?
 A group of us “mashed-up” to paddle out into the Houston Ship Channel to find six geocaches this past Saturday, August 4th.  Baytown’s own son, Larry Houston, better known in geocaching circles as HoustonControl was in attendance and he is always great to have along, as he has found over 5500 geocaches and can talk like Hank Hill.  Heckski, he even looks like him!.

“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!.


Comments

HoustonControl said…
Can I just post a link to this blog as my log on all of the geocaches?
Anonymous said…
Great Blog Bert

WTT-B2
Anonymous said…
Bert, I enjoyed your adventure!! Glad you had a good time !! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…