Whilst out caching this week in Hemel Hempstead (See On The Trail of a Fox – GeoDate in Hemel) we found a TB. Nothing unusual about that right? Well so we thought but when we got it home we found that it was actually 2 TBs on the same chain. To further confuse us, when I tried to log them I noticed that they were showing as being in an unknown location. Now this was odd. Usually it tells you which cache the TB is in or which geocacher is holding it. It was time to do a little digging.
By looking at the tracking history of each TB, the first thing I noticed was that both TBs had been marked as missing at the end of 2014. If a CO has determined that a TB that is supposed to be logged into one of their caches is physically not in the container then they can mark the TB as missing so it won’t show up in their cache’s inventory. Reviewers can also do this. Looking back a bit further I noticed that both TBs had last been logged into a cache in 2013… the same cache in Bovingdon. OK so that explains why their location was showing as unknown but how could they be in my hand, and what was I meant to do with them?
I turned to my friends on the Beds, Bucks & Herts Facebook group and within seconds I got an answer back from alibags, a cacher with a great deal of experience. The most likely explanation appears to be that someone took the TBs out of the cache in Bovingdon back in 2013 and forgot to log them, and then that they had them at all. Finding them recently and feeling embarrassed that they still had them in their possession they decided to drop them anonymously into a cache so that they could get back into circulation. OK, so that answers how they got there, but what do I do with them?
Well the answer to that one is actually quite simple. In order to put a TB back into circulation you simply log them. Obviously you can’t use the “retrieve from a cache” option, so, instead you select the “Grabbed from somewhere else” option, and bingo, the TBs are live again and in your possession. Then I was advised that if I was feeling nice I could dip them into the cache I found them to indicate where I got them and then drop them off somewhere else like any other TB. So that is what I did.
The only thing all of this didn’t explain was how the two TBs got attached to each other. Well a bit more investigation revealed that they both shared similar goals, to travel around the Cornish coast. I imagine that at some stage a well-meaning cacher had connected them together because of their similar goal. OK question answered. Finally I got to thinking how pleased the owners would be to see their TBs back in circulation. So I took a look at the profiles of the owners and one of them still seemed fairly active on the site but the other one hadn’t logged on since 2010. I read their profile information and determined that this was the account of a son or daughter who used to cache with their family but had finally broken out and created their own account. I noted that they had quickly acquired the TB after doing this and then a couple of months later given up on caching all together. Shame. But wait, I noticed in the profile details they had listed the caching name of their family and so I looked up their profile, aware that this could now be classed as GeoStalking, and they were indeed still caching. So I dropped them a note to let them know that the TB of their son or daughter had surfaced again and would soon be back in the wild and hopefully heading for Cornwall. No reply yet but no matter, I feel good about doing my bit to set things straight.
I guess the lesson to take away from this is to always log the TBs you find in caches within a reasonable amount of time of finding them.
Thus endeth the lesson for today.