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I was having breakfast at Warren College, Sydney last November when Claus-Sebastian Wilkens from Institute of Aerospace Systems, Germany asked me if I was aware of ‘geocaches’. Geocaches – what? I expressed my ignorance. He explained that Geocaching is a realworld outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online (www.geocaching.com). I realized that this was something which is popular among GPS enthusiasts.
I got acquainted with Claus during the IGNSS conference that was held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia during November 13 – 15, 2011. He came to make a presentation there.
So, when Claus told me about ‘geocaches’ I got interested. He asked me if I could join him for a treasure hunt at Coogee beach. After the conference, I was relaxed and planning my date with Sydney city. I thought why not and agreed to accompany him. Coogee beach, how far from UNSW? By bus 5 minutes and if we walk may be 15 minutes, someone told at breakfast table.
Cluas looked at his GPS and told that it seemed there was considerable distance and we might not be able to reach there in 15 minutes. Since I do not mind walking, rather walk a lot, insisted to walk. We kept on walking, walking and … and finally reached the beach in around 45 minutes. A long walk on sunny morning was quite exhausting. Claus was being guided by the GPS towards the treasure and I kept following him. Finally, we reached the place where the geocache was supposed to be hidden. We looked around, here and there, everywhere, but it was not found. I gave several unsolicited advices and vague ideas to locate the treasure but that also did not help. He kept on trying and finally gave up… Actually, he did not. He told me that we could try the treasure hunt at UNSW campus itself. There was a location in the campus where we could search. The long walk to Coogee beach made us wiser and we returned to UNSW by bus. At campus, search for treasure started again. We tried, err…rather I will say, he tried but again could not. I asked if he could ever locate the geocache. He started defending, “you know Bal, it is a container, hidden around the indicated place. It is not that easy to locate but not that difficult too.” He told me that he had located it several times earlier but that day… Claus could n’t. Would you like to try?
As far I was concerned, I got my treasure. The ‘experience’ itself.