Saturday, May 14, 2011

Geocaching

I've had a GPS for awhile, but never got around to finding things with it. I actually looked up coordinates of hidden caches in Africa last year -- but never followed up. On Thursday my boss at Plan Ceibal was asked about geocaching, so she forwarded the idea to me. Fortunately I had my GPS in my backpack and could explain the whole thing.

So today I decided to geocache for real. I wasn't prepared. There was no arrow to point me - I just knew I wanted to head northwest. Following the compass and GPS led me to dead ends, dirt roads, to a marsh blocking the beach... I was lucky there was a full moon tonight because it was awful dark by the time I was closing in. Finally I was only a minute (1/60th of a degree) or two away from the destination. I walked up the road to a light which I guessed would be the entrance to the beach. As I was about there, I startled some dogs and they ran up barking. I was thinking that I had made an awful, awful mistake. I waved them off and moved around them to the beach. There were two fishermen, who were even more startled.

Here I had to assure them that I was not looking for my hotel; I was miles from anything like that. I could explain that there was a game with maps, and I had to take a picture of an unusual place. The fishermen told me there'd be nothing, and that I was lost, as in, they weren't sure how I could have gotten this lost. I had my GPS, and explained that I knew there was something very near us... eventually one caught a small fish which gave me a chance to walk the remaining 100 yards or so. At long last, I was at the ruins of a stone turret on the beach. The night sky, partly illuminated by Buenos Aires over the horizon, the waves reflecting the night sky, and the red and green flashes of dozens of boats far out from the shore... Worth it. I checked the GPS over and over until I was standing in exactly the right spot. Checkmate.

I showed a photo to one of the fisherman and he explained that he was trying to tell me about that, and how it was built by Argentinians. I still need to work on my Spanish =( Before I had gotten far up the road, he caught up to me on his motorbike and took me halfway home. I thanked him, used the GPS to plot the rest of the way.

1 comment:

  1. started you read your blog via planet olpc. cool trip via gps.

    ReplyDelete