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Thursday, February 19, 2009

How Does The Timing Of The Published Geocaches Work?

I noticed something rather interesting today whilst Geocaching. Let me explain things as I remember them happening and you tell me if this is normal or not.

It was getting towards the end of the work day for me and about 3:45pm. I get out of work at 4:00pm and was getting everything in order for tomorrow. Just before I actually left for home I took a final look at one of my Pocket Queries that tells me if any geocaches near my route have not been found yet and in fact are still FTFs (first to finds). There was one at the southern portion of the loop that goes around Raleigh, NC and I wanted to see if it was potentially still a candidate. It was indeed still there but what caught my eye was a geocache closer to where I work near Oxford. When did this pop up? I checked and sure enough no one had made a claim on it yet. I don't remember getting an alert on this one, but oh well, lets give it a shot.

At quitting time I went into my car and drove over to cache site and low and behold there it was and I signed the clean sheetz. Now with me was a cache sheet to another geocache out of my normal driving range that also was an FTF. If I hurry I might be able to get this one too before the sun went down. So I started driving towards it and getting ready for the 45 minute ride to get there. At about 4:20 or so my BlackBerry goes off and I have new emails. I read them and see three newly published geocaches near where I live. Hot-diggity, forget this one I'm going for the FTF frenzy. What I found odd was the last of the eight or so that published included the one that I had just found. That's odd. For some reason I knew through my pocket query and google maps of a geocache before it was announced via email. Now in the back of my head I guess that makes sense but I just never noticed it before. The drive continues.

At about 5:10 or so I get down to Garner and start looking for my three FTFs to come. I drive up to #1 and quickly make the grab. Much to my horror someone had beaten me to the FTF! Well shoot. I halfway smiled when I realized it was Ian the geocacher I had just met a couple of days ago and goes by IKranak. Okay that is only one, wonder if he...? yup, as I opened geocache number two, there was Ian's signature. Heavy sigh, maybe got bored and didn't know about number 3..... Well shoot. There again was Mr. IKranak's happy signature on the almost clean sheetz. Phttttzzzzzz. Hey I had the thrill of the hunt and three more smilies to my list.

Then I get an email from another fellow geocacher asking when did I sign the logs? I texted back to him explaining what happened and when. I wonder if he thought the quick finds were something new as well. I read Ian's logs and he just happened to be filling his automobile with gas around the time the geocaches went live on geocaching.com but did not post via email yet. He was using Geocache Navigator like I was using my pocket query. Either way we gained a few minutes advanced notice (manually of course) before the official publishing.

Have you ever seen this behavior before with Geocaching.com? Wonder since the new format/update if the timing is a bit off for some reason..

Your Thoughts?

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