This morning I awoke to a message letting me know ‘Gisell the Gryphon’ had arrived in Greece. In fact, she is now sunning herself on the island of Spinalonga, just off the coast of Crete.
A thrill passed through me and a smile broadened my face. No chance of hitting the snooze button now. I needed to see what else Gisell had been getting up to. After all, last time I paid any attention, she’d just taken an extensive tour of Iceland.
No, Gisell is not a Facebook friend of mine. Gisell is a geocaching trackable I released at Ait Benhaddou in Morocco last November. She looks a bit like a keyring and is currently travelling the world with other geocachers. (Unfortunately, I never did take a photo of Gisell.)
So far she has been to the UK, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovakia, Czechia, Poland, Iceland, Ukraine, and now Greece (as of July 2019).
I’ve been lucky with Gisell. She got picked up in Morocco by someone who is obviously a keen traveller and geocacher. Aside from a brief quiet period over the northern winter, he really got around in the six months or so he carried Gisell.
Then, for the past month she travelled with another cacher, who has just released her in Crete. I can’t wait to see where she goes next.
Gisell the Gryphon was the second trackable I released. I took a bunch with me travelling last year, intending to release around four. I wrote fairly detailed pages for them, and gave them individual goals. (Responsible geocachers pay attention to the stated goals of a trackable, which may be to visit specific countries, for example.)
My trackables all had the same travel goal: “To travel the world via as many villages, towns, cities, regions and countries as possible.” But I specified what type of location they should be dropped at, ready to be picked up by the next geocacher. Gisell’s goal is to be left at places with a good view. And it sounds like she has one at Spinalonga island.
I released my first trackable in Cornwall: Hetta the Hippocamp. She’s currently in Czechia, after arriving in Europe (from the UK) only recently. She hasn’t enjoyed the same level of travelling as Gisell (only 13.2K miles as opposed to 29.7K miles for Gisell), but at least she’s still having fun. She wants to be dropped at places of archeological or historical significance, where there might be ghosts.
The third I released was Kerzah the Kraken. I missed my chance to release her in the UK, which was my original intention, so I released her at the beach near home. (She wants to be dropped near the sea.)
After travelling with me to the UK, Morocco and back, Kerzah has travelled 25.5K miles. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had any travels since I released her, but the cacher who picked her up said she planned to visit South America soon, so… awesome!
Watching these trackables travel around the world, and occasionally receiving an email about where they are, is a lot of fun. Especially when they visit places I haven’t been before. It gets me really inspired to plan my next trip.
Meanwhile, I’m carrying a fair few trackables for other people. I took a couple with me on my travels to the UK and Morocco last year, and, after getting lots of travel miles for them, have since moved them on.
Now I’m carrying a bunch I’ve picked up around the place and am trying to keep logging cache visits for them. I also try to take photos of them near caches occasionally and write little notes for their owners about where they are. Eventually (soon) I’ll have to let them go.
Each geocacher has their own etiquette about what constitutes a visit to a cache. Many like to physically ‘dip’ the trackable into the cache container. I’m not that finicky. My own rule is that I must be physically carrying the trackable to the cache location. (In other words, it’s not enough to simply have them in my inventory and leave them at home.)
Once you release a trackable, you’re at the mercy of other players out there, so you can only hope your little friend is discovered by a kindred cacher who will do the right thing and not let it fall to the bottom of the caching bag. Gisell is certainly having a fantastic time.