Recently my dive buddy and I started a new underwater geocaching game. For those of you familiar with geocaching, you just replace your GPS with a compass and scuba gear and you’ve got underwater geocaching; for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, geocaching is a treasure-hunting game wherein you use GPS on land, or underwater navigational techniques when diving, to hide-and-seek containers with other participants in the activity.
Usually the underwater cache is a brightly colored box containing a sheet of waterproof paper where you enter your name and the date you found it. It also has a “treasure” (marbles, magnets, rubber duckies, etc.) that you may take, provided you replace it with another treasure for the next cacher. There are websites (this one’s for the U.K.) where you log your finds and report the state of the cache. Websites also provide dive-site names and hints to help you find the box.
Geocaching is fun for both newly qualified and experienced divers. Tyler, who just started diving, enjoys geocaching and says, “I’ve had a couple of chances to go underwater geocaching. The first was at Wraysbury (a training lake near London) where some silty conditions prevented us from finding the cache and our search saw us swimming back from the wrong side of the site. Twice.”
“The second was on a trip to Portland (Dorset, UK) where a couple of caches were placed earlier in the weekend. I only managed to find one of the two caches there, which I’ll naturally blame on poor viz (but really they may just be cleverly hidden). Trying to spot the caches brings a fun, extra challenge to the dives. I’m looking forward to trying to find more in the future, as well as to the post-dive discussions on who in the club found them and how could others have possibly missed them.”
Most of the caches are easily accessible to all types of divers, but the hunt is fun for even the most jaded and experienced diver. Just remember sign the paper underwater, and don’t take it up to the boat to ponder what to write over tea. The game is still in its early stages with relatively few caches (although well spread around Europe in places like the U.K., Russia, Austria and Italy). We hope to place more soon and to get more people involved placing, finding and maintaining the caches thus making it more fun. So get caching and dive safe!