February – Cacher of the Month Part 2

Caching Name:      Joe Wessels
Real Name:            Joe Wessels

 1. How did you become involved in geocaching?   It began in 2005 while researching for a GPS receiver I could use to navigate with when flying my ultra-light powered paraglider (PPG).  I had taken a longer than usual flight one day from an airport in Maryland, flying over into Delaware and (luckily) returning back to the airport.  The scenery below while flying over into Delaware captivated my attention so much that when I turned around to fly back I didn’t notice I had wandered a few miles north of my original route.  I realized this once I encountered the high-tension power lines that run north – South near where the airport was supposed to be.  The power lines were there, but the airport wasn’t.  It took me a few minutes of flying circles to spot the airport which was South of me and fly back to it.  The experience made me realize the possibility of landing somewhere where I didn’t want to and I needed something to keep that from happening.  During my research I discovered references to geo-caching and my curiosity led me to the Geocaching.com website where I learned about geo-caching and saw several caches on the map not far from my home.  After finding the first cache, I was hooked.

2.  How did you choose your caching name?  Lack of imagination – the account was free and I thought it would be a short term affair.  That was almost 9 years ago.

3.  What type of cache do you prefer seeking – traditional, multi, and puzzle, virtual?    Traditional is currently my first choice, as time is usually a factor.  Virtual caches would be my 2nd pick, because they show me places and information I would not normally pay attention too.  It was definitely a memory making and mind-growing experience.  But, I find I am tiring of the easy traditional finds and am slowly warming up to puzzle caches.  Ask me again in another 9 years.

4.  Which caches were the most challenging, either physically/mentally?     There have been several caches that have caused me to exert myself, but none as much as “GEOCACHE” (GC1NGQ1), in New Jersey (now archived).  We found in April of 2009 as part of Jamie’s Birthday celebration geocaching excursion.  It was a bugger to get (between making a bridge to get over the water causeway and getting pricked by the holly tree stickers), but we got it.

Mentally challenging ~ most rehobch and hostanut geocaches have been responsible for my staying up late at night and giving me migraine headaches.

5. What are your current geocaching goals?  Get at least one cache anytime we travel.  Life in general and other interests compete for available time.  It would be nice to fill the 5×5 square of difficulty and terrain grid someday, but I’m not in a hurry.

6.  Where have you always wanted to go caching but haven’t?    The remaining 23 States

7.  What is your most memorable caching experience?     The Alaska Geo-caching cruise vacation Jamie and I took last summer (June/July 2013).  We discovered the geo-caching cruise while making plans to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  The cruise ship left out of Vancouver Canada, and we were able to make some stops along the way before leaving to visit the Groundspeak Geo-Caching Headquarters in Seattle Washington and also the site of the first geo-cache placed in Oregon.   The Geo-caching cruise itself was a terrifically enjoyable experience!  Over 70 geo-cachers from ten states attended.  And we also converted several other passengers and crew members on the ship into geo-cachers during the cruise.  Four Events, a flash mob dance with bubbles, geo-caching stories, on-ship geo-caching, and meeting a lot of really great people, in addition to finding a lot of neat caches in Alaska made for a vacation only exceeded by our honeymoon.  Oh, and the cruise itself and all that comes with that put the whole thing in the category of Great Value for an even Greater Time!

8.  What do you like about geocaching?  Golly, where to start?!  Geocaching takes me outside of myself, making me look for and see things I would not normally pay attention to.  How the angle of the sun will either highlight a well hidden cache or help to conceal it.  The need develop situational awareness to help me stay aware of my environment and what may be there that could harm me, like a snake hiding in the crook of a tree, or how wet the side of a hill is I am climbing.  And the never- ending lesson of learning to not let my assumptions of where I think the cache may be hidden cloud my vision of what I am actually seeing at the cache site.  Geocaching has done so much to enhance my life that it’s not possible to list it all here.  But I’m always more than happy to share my thoughts over a cup of coffee with anyone that wants to listen.

9.  Do you have some favorite caches in the area?   By in the area, I think of the whole state of Delaware.  Some of my early favorites were caches placed by Hart612, who is no longer around.  He had some great hides that would make me scratch my head and sometimes use sailor language.  A couple of current caches that readily come to mind are “Joe the Plumber” (GC2QEM8) and “Springfield” (GC25FT5).  Of the 2,577 caches I have found in Delaware, I know there are many more that I am forgetting now that would qualify as favorite, but age takes its toll in the memory department.  If we got together and started talking about caching in Delaware and comparing notes, I would remember many, many more caches that I would call a favorite.

10. Do you have any other hobbies or interests?    While geo-caching ranks right up there in the fun category for me, I have to say flying my ultra-light Powered Para-glider really touches my soul and puts a smile on my face.  It’s a back-pack two-stroke motor with a four foot propeller and a harness seat connected to a paragliding wing.  I’ve been flying for 12 years now and have had the pleasure and joy to see the good earth in a unique way few others have.  I have taken a few thousand photos over the years, while flying, and uploaded some of them to geo-cache web-pages.  I am also a pretty fair Do-It-Yourselfer (DIYer), having completely remodeled our house over the course of a year and nine months.  My latest endeavor in trying to keep the brain cells from rotting away is learning to play the harp.  Coming up to the two-year mark on lessons and it’s actually starting to make sense (no previous musical experience).  I can play a well-recognized version of Happy Birthday to You and Old MacDonald for the granddaughter.

Thank you for the opportunity to chat about Geo-caching.