Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today's Journey(s)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


There are a couple of cache types we've not found yet. There's the "Earth Cache" which does not hold a physical box nor log to sign, but introduces the cacher to an earthly concept such as erosion, coral reefs, beach restoration, and other, mostly ecological or geographical sites. The main reason we haven't hit one of these is because, surprisingly, there are none yet here on Okinawa.

The other type of cache we've not "found" is the "Letterbox Cache" where there is a stamp located in the cache box along with a notebook. You take along your own notebook and stamp, then you stamp the cache's log and use their stamp to stamp yours. Well, we've not done one of these mostly because we never had a "Muggle Family" stamp. Until now. Here it is, my first ever attempt at stamp carving:

From this..........
..........To this

Maybe now we can get out there and do a letterbox or two.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The freedom of TBs

There are loads of TBs (travel bugs). There are the classic TB Dog Tag which you can attach to a large variety of objects to send out into the wild blue yonder (like the CITO travel bag
I posted about earlier). I've seen oodles and some creative ones as well. Belt buckles, models, toys, trinkets... Jaxie crocheted some peas and carrots for our Forrest Gump cache and the guy who found them attached a TB and sent them off again as a trackable item.

I've got one atached to my GPS which I "dip" into most every cache I find and I can track myself as I go from cache to cache.

They make T-Shirt TB's, Hat TB's, and TB's to go on your car. Now essentially, these are no different from the TB dog tags people attach to their items, they're just printed or sewn onto an item you wear or drive or carry with you.

Enter the Muggle Family Vehicle Travel Bug. I've blocked out the tracking number, if you'd like to "discover" it, spot us in a crowd. Don't forget to tell us where you saw us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Muggling the Muggles

For those who just read this blog or stumble upon it without knowing the world of geocaching, a "Muggle" is a person unaware of geocaching. A cache "getting muggled" means that a non-geocacher stumbled across the cache and took/destroyed it.

Getting muggled stinks.

While our family still has less than 100 finds at this point, we've got 29 caches placed which is, from what I'm told, not a small number.

We treat these caches well and take care that they're stocked, routinely checked, maintained, fresh logbooks in them... I navigate by them as I drive around the island. They are a little bit of our family as we put effort into the creation and emplacement of each.

I have a cache I'm stumped on replacing. I've put out "Lighthouse Cache" three times now and the final stage keeps getting muggled. I've got to devise another way of hiding it above and beyond my normal trickery. "Have a Ball at the Beach #1" has been muggled and replaced... (That was the golfball cache I demonstrated earlier in this blog. I placed it in an ammo can filled to the brim with golfballs and no explanation. I loved the notes of joyful confusion I got from that one.)

Well tonight, after withdrawing a cache which I unknowing placed too close to a hidden stage of a multi-cache, I stopped by "Goin' to the Chapel". No real reason, I was just there and I figured I'd check on it.

It wasn't there!!!

Now, in fairness, someone might have just replaced it in a different spot near the original hide, but I couldn't spend the search time at that moment and I had to archive (temporarily deactivate) the cache until I can find or replace the cache.

It is hard to express how absolutely frustrating it is to have this happen.

I'll keep putting them out there. I'll keep taking care of them. I'll try to make sure I'm a little more cautious when I search so I don't cause the same frustrations to another cache owner.

If you should find yourself out there looking for a cache and see The Muggle Family, wave and say "Hi." If you see any other muggles, please use caution in your caching.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sayonara Event Cache

If you'd like a copy to commemorate your attendance:
Click the pic to expand, then right-click and save to your computer.

Thank much to Flipper, Gribbon and the crew for putting this on, you guys have given a lot to this community out here and we thank you for it as well. Best of luck in your travels. Thanks also to whomever thought enough of our caches to recommend us for prizes.

We were glad to see everyone who came. Yet again our event outing was cut short, but we really enjoyed meeting and talking with other cachers. Thanks for the prize(s) and we'll work to make certain we earned them.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Driving on Military Bases in Oki

I posted this in my other blog for the people back in the states, but I think it is pertinent to us Military and dependents here on Okinawa so I thought I'd post it here as well so you guys don't fall into the same holes I did.

I was driving my car on an Air Force base local to our house and stopped behind a school bus at an intersection waiting for a light to change. Another bus was trying to make the turn through the intersection so the bus in front of me decided to be "nice" and backed up to give him room... yeah... backed up right into my car. After laying into the horn for a while, he finally learned of his mistake and stopped his bus. (Note... this was a unit school bus and had no kids or other passengers on board.) So there we stood in the middle of the road in the rain waiting 30 minutes for the military police (who work on the other side of the intersection... I didn't know this at the time or I would have gone over there) to arrive at the scene of the accident.

When the decision was made to move the vehicles, I took pictures. I don't know why the military police did not, but I wasn't going to be left in the wind. We moved the two vehicles across the intersection to their parking lot and went inside to do up the paperwork citing the other driver (who was only temporarily here for work) and when I asked the question, "Who is going to pay for this?" I got a lot of deer in the headlight looks from everyone present.

WEEKS later I finally find the unit responsible for filing claims against the government for damage they cause, but only after having called that organization multiple times and being told it was not them. I went down...

I should say at this point that the location of all of this is on the south side of the island so there is no easy way to do this during work and they're closed after I get off... lucky me.

I went down to the filing organization and was told that I had to get the car towed to at least two different shops for estimates of repair and fill out a bunch of other paperwork in order to file the claim. After filing, they can take up to a month to decide to pay and another few weeks to finally pay. Meanwhile, I am out of a car, the towing fees, and have to take leave to accomplish the filing and legwork.

While working on this, my car was left in the parking lot of the military police with my contact information in the windshield. I was told three times on different dates by the airmen who work there that it would be no problem to leave it there. I happened to be on that base last week and wanted to check in on the car before my leave began this week to deal with it only to discover that the car was not there.

They towed it.

Well, where is it? I went inside and was met with a lot of the same deer in the headlights looks I saw before from that office before I was directed to an individual who dealt in those matters, but he was gone for the day so I'd have to check back tomorrow (when I'm supposed to be working) to ask him how to get my car back. After leaving, I was addressed by one person who was "helping" me and he said the individual's car was still in the parking lot and that he might still be in there. I went back in and while waiting to see him, I met the LtCol in charge of the military police on that base. He told me that the car was towed on his request because it posed a "Force Protection Issue" (Military talk for 'it might be a bomb') and that it had been parked there too long. I told the LtCol that I respectfully disagree because on the other side of the street there is a place where service members can park their cars for sale indefinitely with contact information in the window and that his office had a way to get in touch with me (the might be bomber) and that bombers don't normally do that. I know force protection... my ENTIRE JOB AND LIVELIHOOD is force protection.

He wasn't listening.

I finally found the guy I was waiting for and he was just as deaf. He said that vehicles are not allowed to be parked in any one spot for more than 72 hours and that the law is the law. I replied that this nice little fact is never told to drivers on Okinawa and it might be nice to include in the Newcomer's Brief or in the Drivers Education mandated when you arrive on island. He said the rules are there for anyone to see at

Yeah right.

Bottom line, they towed my car and it would now take $250 to get it back. I asked if that could be waived since they authorized the parking of the vehicle in the first place. "Fat chance." (Okay, I'm paraphrasing here... he didn't actually say, "Fat chance" but he night as well have. What he actually said was that *I* could contact MCCS {the civilian organization tasked with towing the vehicles on base} and ask them to waive the $250 fee. Yeah, like they're going to waive it just because I don't think I should pay it. Fat Chance is right.)

Out steps a Captain from the back room and asked what this was all about. Reluctant to start the discussion all over again just to be laughed at, I told him I was just about done and that I had already taken up enough of his office's time. He insisted he hear it and I started into the whole story "with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that" when he actually offered to contact MCCS and see if they could waive the fee.


So... that last part was last Wednesday. I have since sent the story to him again but in email form so he can go to bat for me. He sent it off to MCCS and they're actually working to get the fee waived. It'll take a few days, but they're working on it and it looks positive. HOWEVER, I still have to go to Camp Kinser (a base further south from where I work and live) to begin the paperwork to get my car released from impound.

Apparently there is no paperwork to pick up... I have to draft a letter and have my Battallion Commander sign it saying that he has dealt with my malfeasance and that it will not happen again.


Waste more of my time and now that of my Battalion Commander who, I'm sure, has nothing better to do with his day than to deal with members of the US Air Force lying to and then improperly impounding a vehicle of one of his Marines.


Here I sit, two days into the leave which was supposed to be spent FIXING my car and I have to wait another week (after my Battalion Commander sends the letter) for them to release my car so I can get started repairing it. And I STILL have to get the two estimates and complete the paperwork so I can wait up to another two months to get reimbursed whatever portion of my claim they feel they should reimburse!

Moral of the story?

Don't get hit by an Air Force bus.

I'm so incredibly upset with the Air Force right now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I made a couple of new Travel Bugs recently. (Travel Bugs are a trackable dog tag you can attach to an item which goes from cache to cache which you can view at to see its travels throughout the world.) These Travel Bugs, or TBs as they're known, are made with the concept of CITO, or Cache-In-Trash-Out, in mind. The idea is that geocachers will go to a cache and when they're done, will take a bag of trash with them as they leave to help keep the playing field nice and clean.

The construction was easy enough. I took a 35mm film canister, a keyring, a TB, and a white plastic bag from the supermarket and assembled a little bag carrying trackable item where the cacher can remove the bag when they find the TB, pick up some trash on their way out, refill the bag into the container when they get home, and then send the TB back out to another needy cache. This way the cacher does not need to carry bags out to the cache site with them and it makes the idea of CITO easy to follow.

Enough talking, here's the pics:There's just enough room for the bag with the lid closed. I think I might just make a slew of these and hand them out.


We adopted a couple of caches this weekend...

For Whom The Bell Tolls
Katsuren-jo, Amawari's Crib

These caches belonged to cachers here on the island who are due to rotate soon, but we couldn't let the caches disappear or turn into Geo-trash upon their leaving. (Geo-trash, by the way, is a term for an abandoned cache which essentially turns into trash left strewn over the earth by careless cachers.)

We really enjoyed finding these caches and wanted to keep them alive for future cachers to find. We'd like to encourage other cachers to be mindfull when they leave an area and either hand off their geocaches through adoption to someone who can take care of them, or simply go out there and remove the cache entirely.

I'd like to thank those cachers here, The Ferry Family and Gribbon, for their contributions in this area of the world. We'll take good care of these while we have them and will hand them off responsibly when it is our time to go.

More on mapping

So in the last post I talked about the possibility of marking the centerpoint of the caches I've found. I was interested in seeing where it was in relation to where I live and where I work. Is it closer to the market?

Well, I was updating my statistics in GSAK today and found when I did, there was an option to find the "Cache centroid". Well, it appears I may have schnookered myself out of finding the real center of my caching as I recently logged a find in Cuckoo Cache. This was an interesting cache in that it travels from cache to cache itself like a travel bug. Well, when I logged the find, it registered in England! After you average that into all the other finds, it really shifts the center coordinate a little northeast.

I know I can just take all the Lats and longs and make an average which excludes the Cuckoo Cache, but that's just tedious. I might get to it, but don't expect it to be today. In the meantime, here's where GSAK put the center.

Friday, May 8, 2009


While this is not all of the caches we've hit, I thought it'd be at least something to post up the map of where we do most of our caching. I don't know, I thought it was neat.

For those who aren't in the "know", the stars are caches I own, the smileys are caches I've found, and the other symbols represent the different types of cache at that location. I wonder where the epicenter of the smileys puts me? Is it near my home? My work? I'll have to figure it out and get back to you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Look

The Blog has a new look (as though you haven't noticed already).

We've been 19 days now without caching... wow. Hey, I've been busy!

We're in a heavy run at work recently and when I'm not on a job, my unit is trying to progress everyone in martial arts belt status so it calls for early mornings, late evenings, and a tired Muggle Dad at the end of the road.

It all has to end sometime, right? (Please say it ends... I need these bumps and bruises to go away.)

Friday, March 6, 2009


Well, I've finally hit all the caches along the route I "usually" take from my home to work. I decided a little while ago that I'd stop and hit one cache at a time in the afternoons on my commute back to the homestead until I had them completed... well, now what do I do? I guess I'll have to find a new way home...

Maybe I'll have to drive home by way of Hedo Point and down to Itoman before getting to my front door.

My wife would shoot me.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Didn't think you were supposed to run with a poker

Did the poker run event today. Had a pretty good time and met some new people. Some, I found out, are going after "Stay Gone" in a couple of days. I hope they enjoy it. I know I had fun putting it in.

The kids had fun and climbed and played. They proudly displayed their caches for the competitions. Turns out we didn't win any FTFs from the event, but we did win the "search-a-word" and the prize for the most cammied cache.

Little Princess Muggle got a bit upset at the end when she realized that the voting had taken place and she had not gotten her chance to vote. Such a sad little citizen. It took like 10 minutes to get her to stop sobbing.

We all had a really good time out there. Thanks to LARCjpn for putting this all together.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dead quiet...

So for the past week or so the GoeCache scene has been pretty quiet. I guess everyone is catching up on caches they haven't gotten around to before... no one has placed any new. Well, that's not entirely true. I placed one called Nigel's cache the other day. A total of three people have gotten out there to get it. Wow... this is really slow. I expected more people to get out there on a new cache, especially after the lull we've been in.

I'm working on what I hope will be some interesting caches. I've got a couple of spots picked out already which are in the clear. I've got some caches made to place out. wow... it's quiet out there.

I've slowly been hitting those caches I've not found yet. I've been getting about 1 a day on my way home from work.

It's so quiet, I don't even have anything interesting to write about.

Ok... I'll just sign off then.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Am I devious yet?

So I was sitting around the computer tonight reading over the post for my newest cache NIGEL'S PARK and noticed I had a golf ball sitting there. I like to keep spherical things nearby. I never knew why, but they (spheres) make me feel good. So I picked it up and started to play with it while I surfed the web. Then I thought, grabbed two other items within arms reach and went to my work table.
I removed the end cap from the pen, the eraser cover from the mechanical pencil, and drilled a small opening into the golf ball...
The eraser cover from the pencil makes the vial for the cache note (probably coords to another stage) and the pen's old endcap now makes a nice stopper for the vial...
A little paint, and voila...


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Muggle Family Turns the big 50!!!

We hit our 50th cache today at Akano Monument where Muggle Mom made an easy grab. Had the rest of us schmucks wandering around like looney bin escapees. Big day for the family and we got to share it together.

Earlier today, Muggle Dad ran out for a few hours to meet up with some fellow cachers out at Torii Beach to teach some Japanese Boy Scouts about caching and to let them get their first taste, EQ (another geocacher from the island) placed some easy finds of varying type over the stretch of beach for them to find. It was an easy and fun day.

Geez, the day was so terribly simple and lighthearted, I sound moronic with my attempt at describing it. Oh well... I'll have more to say some other time.

Thanks guys for putting that on, and thanks again for thinking of the Muggles to help out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Other workings

Working on a cryptex made out of PVC. We're talking 8 bands of code, 26 different settings per band, 208,827,064,576 possible combinations! Yeah, you read that right, over 208 BILLION (with a "B") combinations in the lock.

Figure that one out on a Thursday afternoon.

Hmmmm. .. Seems like we might have a puzzle cache on our hands.

I made easy caches. I then made a 5-5. Now I'm going to make a couple called "Tipping the Scales" 1 and 2 where it will either be a 1 difficulty with a 5 terrain (think dayglow orange 50 gallon drum on the side of a cliff) and a 5 difficulty 1 terrain (think multiple mind blowing hides in an easy to walk or wheelchair park.)

Got some other tricks up the old sleeve... trying to help some Okinawa cachers know the difference between terrain and difficulty.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Newest Hide Ideas

This first was thought up by Mia... she wanted something pretty, pink, and with flowers.  What else would a four year old girl request in a cache hide?

Here's the result:

The canister screws into its lid inside the pot, water tight from the roots and dirt with a rubber gasket to keep the contents dry.

Chas wanted a Lego... How the heck do you make a cache out of a Lego?!?  So we decided to make a lego and place it in an Ammo can... the trick is getting in the lego to sign the logbook.  Here's the work:

Simon had an idea of his own.. we're just not finished with it yet.  We'll post a pic once it is in a state to do so.