Sunday, 30 September 2012

Arapuni Geocaching

So the plan was to head to Arapuni on Friday evening, pack up the car after school and head off. There was going to be plenty of daylight to set up.  Funny how plans can change so quickly.

After work on Friday there were drink. After a couple of drinks I decided to have a couple more. Well needless to say we didn't leave friday. Got up early on Saturday packed the car and headed for Arapuni.

After a quick drive I found myself scrambling up a bluff to collect my first Geocache. It wasn't long before we were in the full swing of geocaching.  Collected the puzzle cache, 'Cycling Delimma' then stopped at the start of the Waikato River Trial and started clearing out this area.  Parked under a big tree to double check the different hints and different clues to be meet by some of the locals.  After a quick walk (1hr 10min return) I had collected 3 more and was back at the car.  Having completed a total 5km round trip it was time for a well earned rest.  Sat under the tree and had a little snack before we were again visited by the locals.

The journey towards the camping ground was somewhat slow but very productive in terms of caches.  A quick stop at the Arapuni dam had me collect another 5.  Was really feeling good about collecting the different puzzle cache's around the area and claimed the Waikato Bike trail challenge.  The closer we got to Arapuni I was getting that excited feeling. Claimed two more puzzle finds and that was it for the day.

Eventually we made it to the lake and set up the tent. Its always good to get away from everything and relax.. only my brain was in caching mode and I just wanted to get out there and find more and more.  Cooked some awesome lamb burgers and realised that we forgot the fry pan for pancakes in the morning.  Decided that we would get up early and by one in Taupo then have pancakes at the lake as a bit of a brunch.

Saturday night saw the rain come down and me remember that the tent leaked. Despite weather proofing the tent at the end of last season it still leaked real bad. Must be time to get a new tent.

DSCF7440Sunday was going to always be a great caching day. Had many planned but there was just one that I was really focused on, and that was to visit all the dams along the Waikato river so that I could then claim the 'Power to the People' cache up in Taupiri.

To cut a long day short it was amazing.

DSCF7411Stopped at the first dam Waipapa where the cache was quickly solved and then collected. There were a couple of others close by so with the walking shoes on we quickly headed off.  Beautiful country all around really made me appreciate being up at 8am.

DSCF7416Such beautiful views and great geocaching.  Traveled all the way down to Taupo stopping at the different dams to collect the clues.

DSCF7427On the way down I remembered that Aratiatia was a great sight and that a visit would suit the theme of the day.  After a check on the web we realised that we would be in perfect time to see the dam.  Stopped at the spillway with only a couple of other viewers and waited for the action.

After a long drive and lots of sights we arrived at Taupo where we had lunch and brought a much needed frying pan.  By the time we got to Taupo Chelsea was a little tired as we had done a couple of big walks so she resided to stay in the car a read while I go out caching.  On the way back from Taupo there was just a couple more dams to pick up and a few quick stops to collect Trads.


The day visiting all the different dams really gave me an appreciation for all the engineering work that goes into harnessing the power of the water.  A great series of geocaches.

Again the rain come down sunday night and by Monday morning we were both a little wet around the edges and ready for home. Another great weekend camping.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

World Ostomy Day

Only a couple of days to go before we celebrate a really important event.

October 6

What do you know about Ostomates?

How will we be heard??

Last Day of School

Super excited. Today is the last day of term and I have huge plans for the next couple of weeks. Heading out tomorrow for a couple of day camping at the edge of Lake Arapuni.  Got the plans set for the trip there with a couple of geocaching on the way.  Have had my eye set on several challenge caches in the area so will be great to collect them.

Saturday will be all about cleaning out Arapuni and then setting up the tent.  Have to remember to take my book as I really need to start reading again in my spare time.  Sunday will be an epic day. Planning of collecting a couple of caches on the way to Taupo.  Why Taupo? I hear you asking. Simple. The second challenge cache that I really want to complete requires me to visit all the dams along the Waikato river.  Each cache has a code in it that I need to locate the final.  All in all there are really only about 30 that im looking at collecting for the weekend so its not to bad.

The second thing that I'm looking forward to is getting more of the planning for the wedding sorted. Finding a location for the photos and finishing off the table decorations. Also need to have a look at getting our suits sorted.

All in all its going to be a really fun couple of weeks. Oh and so far this year i've found 832 caches.... the count down is on to 1,000

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The babies grow

Two weeks on and the Axolotl are getting a little bigger. Feeding them twice a day. They are hungry

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

All hatched

I can't believe it. I arrived at school today ready to watch the amazing moment when the axolotls were going to break out of their eggs only to find that the ALL had hatched already.  The vase is now fill of tiny baby axolotls swimming around. They are really fun to watch.  My next mission is to find out what they eat and start feeding them.

The eggs have hatched.
Check out the middle of this picture. Can you see the
baby Axolotl floating to the bottom of the tank?
Axolotl baby
A baby close the to top.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The babies hatch

Turned up at school this morning with a large glass vase and some water plants ready to set up a tank to put the eggs in.

Filled up the vase with water and placed the plants. Then begun the very careful process of transferring the eggs from one tank to the other.  As I was moving the eggs across I notices something move.  There was a very very small axolotl swimming around amongst the rocks. I knew that I had to catch it before the big axolotls ate it. In catching one baby I uncovered 3 more.

So to recap, I now have 4 babies and a few eggs in the vase.  Cant wait till they start to grow bigger.

Have also started looking at how I can make the adults start breeding again.  Could quickly become a breeder.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Axolotl update

It's been two weeks now since the Axolotls laid their eggs.  The axolotls, to begin, with were very protective of the eggs, always approaching the glass when we were looking in.

However some time during the first week the axolotls decided they actually didn't really care that much about the babies and that they would rather eat them.

We started off with about 50 eggs spread throughout the tank and slowly group by group they started to disappear.  On the other hand the axolotls are now looking rather fat and healthy. Must be all the extra food they are eating.

After two weeks we are down to only a handful of eggs that are clinging on for dear life.  They have changed a lot in the last week with their legs now visible as well as their gills.  A couple of the babies have started to grow eyes so it can't be long before they start to hatch.

Will wait for that day with great excitement.

Non-event Weekend

I can't believe it. A weekend went by and I had no plans and just relaxed.

Normally I have some kind of activity planned for the weekend, weither its a tramp, cache or house work.  Well this weekend I had nothing, ok well I did want to do the lawns but that was nothing major. So there we were sitting in the lounge on Friday night quickly trying to make some plans for the weekend.
'How about we go camping?'
Now theres a suggestion.  Camping.. but not normal camping in a tent, camping in the lounge.  Not one to pass up an idea we quickly cleared a space in the lounge and started blowing up the air bed. Grabbed the sleeping bags and blankets from the cupboard and the bed was made.  Pulled out a collection of DVD's and piled up the food and we were ready to camp.  With the rain coming down outside it was almost like camping for real... only dryer and with a TV.

Eventually we both drifted off to sleep as the air bed slowly went done.

I was woken at about 1am to a noise in the kitchen.  Once my sense came to I remembered that I had closed the cat door so that the cat could come but not out.  Why? You ask.  Over the past couple of weeks we have been having a cat come in and spraying everywhere.  Tonight was the night that it would end.  Feeling like the camping experience was getting a little to real, I approached the would-be possum with caution.  Peering around the corner I spotted the cat staring back at me with huge eyes. Game on.

Grabbing the towel that I had prepared earlier I quickly made a plan. The cat was to wired for me to cat and 'deal with' so instead I would have to get it on the way out.  Unlocking the cat-door so it could escape I retreaded down the hallway and implemented my plan.  Calling to Chelsea she scared the cat towards the cat door. Waiting till the last moment so the cat wouldn't retreat I leaped out right in front of it.  The fear in the cats eyes was price less. It tried to stop running but just slid on the lino flooring towards me.  'Got ya' I called as I started.... ummm... lets just say dealing with the problem.  After a short exchange the cat dived for the cat door and I was left feeling victorious.

Decided, like any good hunter, that after such an epic battle that a feed was in order so raided the fridge and fell back onto the air bed with my snacks to watch TV.

Camping wouldn't be complete without pancakes for breakfast so at 11am when we finally got up there was a large meal of pancake drizzled with maple syrup and even a couple with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

For a Non-event weekend, it was pretty fun.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Geocaching Clusters

ClusterSo Hamilton has had a huge influx of Cluster caches. It started off just as a gentle game and has become something of an addiction.  It all started with Jane (Kiwis69) placing a very simple cluster puzzle that at first glance had you looking for the collective noun for a series of pictures.  On closer inspection the puzzle was even easier than that.

This was one of my first FTF in Hamilton as I raced out of school one day and collected it.  Turns out Richard (Zorgon) didn't pick up on the additional hint for a while and kept working on the puzzle. As a result he ended up getting the answers to correctly solve 'A Cluster' so 'A Cluster 2' was born.  To be honest I never really solved this one properly. I managed to work out a ruff idea as to what the answers might be and as to where the cache might be hidden. Ended up heading out late one night and sure enough after a bit of hunting around located GZ and signed the log. 2nd FTF.

Thinking that was the end of the Cluster caches I felt proud claiming a couple of FTF. Then it began. Kiwis69 posted 'A Cluster 3' saying that you can't have 2 caches and call them a cluster.  This is where it gets good. The to main ideas for solving the cache had now been exhausted and she had come up with a very creative puzzle.  While solving 'A Cluster 3' I used a technique that got me thinking id jump on the wagon and start placing some Cluster caches aswel.  With the puzzle solved quickly I was off to collect yet another FTF.

Thats it I thought to myself as I picked up this cache. Its time I placed a couple and started contributing to the series.  That day I went off and placed 'A Cluster 3'.  The same day my 'A Cluster 4' turned up. Again A quick solve and I was off to collect another FTF.  After collecting the cache I decided to place another and name it 'A Cluster 5'.  Shortly after starting to create 'A cluster 5', 'Clusters last stand' appeared. Surly not... Last... never.  A solve for and another FTF saw me really feeling good about these caches and the publishing of mine showed that the Cluster series was still live and kicking.  Then it happened some else placed 'quietly relieved its not another cluster' and I missed the FTF.  Another day passes and there was no new caches then Un-Clustered appeared. A clever puzzle that saw me back on the FTF wagon.

Last night two new Cluster caches appeared - Cluster 6 and Cluster bonus.  Grabbed Cluster 6 for yet another FTF and soon started collect the clues for Cluster bonus.  Missed two clues so will have to go back tomorrow and collect them (One of them was my caches... how bad is that that I forgot where it was).  Had my Cluster-bug cache published and now Cluster 7 is in the pipeline.

All in all its a lot of fun and people are starting to get annoyed with it.... Best we keep going.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Raglan caching


Had been doing a lot of procrastinating over the winter months and not a lot of tramping.  With me having to travel further and further to collect a cache it was time to revisit a mountain that I have already climbed to collect two new caches that have been placed.

I made plans during the week as to what ones I was going to get and decided to climb Karioi first then head into Raglan town and collect the ones there.  Upon reflection super glad I decided to do it this way.

Was suppose to get up early and head to Raglan today but with it being nice and cuddly in bed I slept in and didn't end up leaving Hamilton until 7.30.  It was a quick trip to the Te Toto gorge car park and by 8:30 I was ready to leave.  Just as I remembered, it was up all the way. Was at the Lookout after only 1hr and decided to keep going to the summit to collect the furtherest cache, A different Point of View, before I get to tired and not want to go on any further.

Another quick trip across the ridge to the summit had me a the turn off to my first cache for the day.  The trip to this cache was ... challenging... There was several times that I lost the pink markers and wasn't sure which way I should be climbing.  Was pretty slow going in sections but there was also some good tracks to follow in parts.  Eventually checked the gps to find that I had going past the cache, just a little. Headed up the last burst to the peak to find that the fog had lifted a little and there was some nice views of Raglan.  To make matters worse on the way to the peak my bag got snagged on a branch and opened, no major you say, but all my cache notes had fallen out. Took a little bit longer than expected to find the cache but eventually spotted in and signed. Then ducked down to get some shelter from the wind and had a well deserved tin of pears.

Feeling refreshed I then headed back to the main track. This was a quick trip as I had figured out where the track was ment to go taking 3hr so far.  Once back on the main track I felt relieved and started heading back to the car.  Quickly found myself back at the Look Out point and thought that I'd just see how far it was to the next cache, Another Way Up.  625m  What a tease. Even though my legs were screaming at me I decided to give it a crack.

The track down was easy to follow but then there was also some placed where I wasn't sure which way I was suppose to go and Murphy's law was in play... I choose the wrong way. Found myself at climbing a ridgeline that I didn't need to and ended up perched on top of a steep ridge in flax bushes.  Had to arm crawl my way across and down to safety.  Should have just gone around.  Eventually got to GZ with my legs cramping and burning.  Found the cache quickly and signed the log. Another 2TF.  Now to begin the log and slow trip back to the main trail.  At times I found it easier and faster to move on my hands and knees.  Made it back to the track with a total time for the day of 4hrs so far.  Was really tired and sore by this stage but glad that I had collected the two caches.  Got my march on and started heading home.  Meet a lovely couple heading up and stopped to talk with them for a while. A welcomed brake.

Made it back to the car total time 5hr 30min.

Was I going to get any more for the day... heck no. I was done.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Pizza time

After rushing around the supermarket collecting all the ingredients for our pizzas, preparing and making our pizza's and believe it of not, working out how to turn the ovens on. Our master pieces entered their ovens to begin the cooking process.

4 Meats - 3 Vege and cheese. What more can a man ask for.

The taste... Heaven.

And then the kids turned up for the production.  As to be expected they were all excited but not as pumped as when I realised that a new cache has been published. Quickly heading to the printer to print off the 1,000,000 QR codes and begin scanning.  After several minutes ok about 20min i'd finally scanned all the codes - got the coordinates - been given a green tick from GeoChecker and was ready to find the cache.... Now to get rid of the kids.

Finally after them being all picked up I headed off to GZ. Cache was very quickly in hand and DAM IT 2nd again. This FTF thing is dam hard to do.  Still all in all a fun night.

Clowning Around

This year Melville Intermediate proudly presents 'Clowning Around'. A home grown play that addresses bullying and self asteem issues head on.  The play was written by one of our very own teachers, Sue Bleaken, with the musical direction provided by Mark Bell.  The show consists of 130 students taking on a range or roles, from lead actors and supporting actors to including the Rock Band and ballet performers as well as our local gymnasts, zumba, CPA, jugglers and magicians.

For weeks the actors and performers have been practicing and mastering their different roles with it all coming down to a two days of dress rehearsals then 2 Matinee and 2 night performances.

Tonight (5 Sep) is the first of the night performances.  After 2 matinee's that were quite successful the cast and crew are now ready for their night shows.

Me.. well I just get to sit in the design room with the gymnasts until they go on... for 5min then back to the design room till the end. 1hr 30min of sitting around for a 5 min performance.  That is the hardest part of the show for me but luckily most of the students have more than one role in the show.

So now why am I blogging this... well it's Wednesday night, and that means Pizza night.  Last weeks pizza was a success and our student teachers (Emma and Georgia) want to be a part of the amazing pizza night.  So the plan.  We are headed to Pack n save later today with each of us only aloud to get 3 items - 1 meat, 1 vege, 1 essential.  Oh how I love Pizza Night.


My great class


I'm sitting at my desk with a feeling of grave agitation and high anxiety. My hands were shaking, my eyes were watery and I have a driving desire to go outside. Whats wrong with me... I look up at the tab section of my internet browser to find 3 Geocaching tabs starring back at me.  Oh man I think I have a problem.  The past hour I have spent looking at my stats (not that they have changed since I last looked, 30min ago.), planning my caching weekend by reading all the cache descriptions and working out what caches are closest and how many I need to find a day to reach 1,000 finds in a year (1.04 just incase your wondering).

After a few minutes of reflecting on my symptoms and looking on the Internet I self diagnosed that I am suffering from “Obsessive Compulsive Cache Craving Syndrome” or OCCCS. There is no question, I am addicted to Geocaching!

How do you know if you are addicted to Geocaching... Well I read through a whole lot symptoms, and check off most of them.

You know that you are addicted to Geocaching when: (Bold the symptoms you suffer from)
… a colleague brings out their Tupperware lunch box and you automatically reach for your pen to sign the log book.
… you can’t walk down a path without thinking, “Hmmm, that’ll be a good place for a cache!”.
… you type in your home co-ords and not the phone number.
… your idea of decorating the Christmas tree is to conceal all the presents at its foot, beneath a camo covering of tinsel.
… your idea of gift-giving is to hide the gifts in the garden with co-ords and a clue.
… you are watching TV and think “That’s a beautiful place, I wonder where the nearest cache is?’”
… you purposely take the kids to McDonalds to buy them a happy meal so you can pinch the toy to use as a swap.
… you leave your PC and First To Find running overnight, with the volume cranked right up – just in case…
… you give directions by which caches are passed, instead of which pubs are passed.
… you start having nightmares about muggled caches.
… you sort through your pockets at the checkout at the supermarket and can only offer Geocoins.
… the Easter Egg hunt you organise for your nephews involves the use of GPs units and is in the form of a Multi.
… you automatically look around to ensure that you are not being observed before opening your lunch box at work.
… you routinely gauge everyday object for their suitability as cache containers.
… you spend more money on trinkets and swaps than you do on fruit and veggies.
… your party invitations include GPS coordinates.
… you always look up caches before you go anywhere.
… you waypoint your car at the shopping mall.
… you panic because you forgot to waypoint your car at the shopping mall.
… you consider moving because you’ve already found all the caches in your area.
... A dollar store is exciting.

... You plan your vacation with cache density in mind.
... You get the Geocaching icon tattooed on your body (Tempted)

... Your friends call you giving the coordinates of the new caches they hid even before they are posted on the web site.

... You do groceries based on the type of containers the items come in. 

... Your house has no small items left in it. All trinkets are hidden in caches somewhere.

... You pray your boss doesn't find out how much time your spending geocaching or reading the forums instead of working.

If you suffer from one or more of the symptoms above then it is likely that you too suffer from this affliction.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

New Additions

So there I was in the middle of teaching my class Algebra and patterns when all of a sudden one of the students starts yelling "Oh my gosh whats happening to the axolotl's?'


"They are doing something weird.. theses stuff coming out.. oh my gosh they are having babies"

"They can't be" I reply "Axolotls lay eggs"

Axolotls lay eggs!! I think to myself. Oh my gosh they are laying eggs.

I'd been waiting for this moment all year. I had heard that axolotls have the ability to change sex and lay eggs so that they have something to eat.  Now ill be honest, it has been about a week since I feed them last as I have run out of food and been so busy I havent had a chance to get to the pet store.

After a watching them lay eggs the class are not fascinated by the look of the eggs. Im guessing that lots of them have never seen such a sight.  Im not sure how long it will be before the eggs hatch, I be keeping a close eye on them though.

My Weekend

With the car all packed up ready for a relaxing weekend at Whangamata I had a quick look on to see if there were any caches close to my travels.  The short answer was no but then again what does 'close' really mean.  Decided that 'close' was 20km there was a couple that I could get.

"Thanks to Zork V" was the first cache on the trip. The second that I turned off the track the wife asked "Where are we going?"
"Just to get a cache"
Oh... how far is it?"
"Not far...."

Luckily that was enough

Approaching GZ as the sun started to set was a magical experience. Full moon on one side. Sun setting on the other. This cache really had some great view.

By the time I'd collected the "Thanks Zork V" cache and reached Paeroa it was dark.  That was going to make this a little harder to find..... On the other hand...With the wife asleep id have more time to search.

Felt like a long way to GZ but finally the gps beeped to say I was approaching.  Parked the car at the top of the hill and begun searching with a very weak torch.  After looking all over there was nothing for it but to call another cacher who had recently found the cache and ask for help.  He got me looking under the right tree and sure enough the cache was soon found.

Arrived at Whangamata and set up for a great weekend. Went to sleep early because it was going to be a long day for Chelsea as my slave.
To wake her up at 1201 or not now that was my first dilemma.  Decided to let her sleep and in the morning would wake her up to get her to cook me pancakes.... and oh how they were good.

The day was going to be a good one. Started off with pancakes then geocaching.  What more could I want.

The third cache for the trip this weekend.  Collecting this cache brought back a lot of memories.  For many years as a young one I used to wonder why we had to drive around the hill and why no one had made a road through it.

Then one day it happened. Someone decided to cut a path through this hill.  Quickly pulled into the pitstop and had my slave collect the cache.  A great spot.

Us at the topThen moved on to Tairua where there was a couple of caches to collect.
This was my second attempt at find the cache up on top of the Tairua hill. Its a nice climb to the top with beautiful views of the surrounding towns.  This time the cache was quickly spotted and signed. Grabbed the TB that was taking up residence to move on.

After these caches we moved on to Cooks beach. Id like to say that this was an enjoyable experience but there is a new cacher in the area who I believe is quite young. They have placed many caches in the area however have put little effort into them and the hints are hopeless. By the end of the day I was fed up and angry. Lets just say I let my anger out in the logs.

Once back at the batch I was time to get into the full swing of Slave day. Can't really get into to much detail but dinner cooked, drinks refilled, food passed to me it was all a great day in general.