Almost all lighthouse lovers will have just enough pirate in them to appreciate a good treasure hunt, and today’s version of that is “geocaching” — a modern day search for hidden treasure. “Modern” because today’s treasure map is not a yellowing piece of crumbled parchment, but a Global Positioning System or GPS, a small technological device that locates a site using coordinates obtained by satellite. Geocaching, (pronounced
geo-cashing) is a relatively new sport that is sweeping the globe. Thousands of waterproof containers are scattered throughout the world. A recent estimate places the count at 213,500 caches in 218 countries. Geocachers can find the location’s coordinates by connecting to the World Wide Web.
The treasure is usually a small, concealed container, which has a logbook, a pencil and some trinkets. The treasures are a large variety of items, some insignificant, some collectible and some that are all of one thing like a key chain cache. When you take a small treasure, you leave something else behind for the next treasure hunter. Some people even have their own signature item that they leave in every cache. Some caches are a series of locations and clues that lead you to the main stash.
Lighthouses have become a favorite location for geocachers. A search of caches, having to do with lighthouses and beacons, turns up more than 300. They are generally in attractive, family-friendly locations where enthusiasts can enjoy both hobbies. After locating the treasure, many visitors spend a portion of the day taking in the lighthouse’s distinctive environment. Some comments that can be read on the websites say things like: “This is such a delightful place. I could have stayed here for days….saw a man doing a watercolor of the lighthouse. I never knew this existed.” So many hunters have chanced upon a lighthouse and ended up taking a tour or investigating the history of the lighthouse. Many people plan their vacations around visiting lighthouses while others plan theirs around geocaching. Now, the two can be combined to double the pleasure of your recreational outing.
A list of just a few lighthouses that
have geocaches nearby are: St. Augustine’s Lighthouse in Florida, Lime Kiln Lighthouse
in Washington State, Split Rock Lighthouse
in Minnesota, Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, Marblehead Lighthouse in Ohio and Muka Head in Penang, Southeast Asia. For more information on geocaching,
go to www.geocaching.com.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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