Voluntary Cache Maintainers
Voluntary Remote Maintainers The list of people who will be happy to undertake maintenance for you should you prepare them in advance. This list is especially useful for when you wish to place a cache that is far from your home, but close to theirs. This is also called a holiday cache.
What does undertaking maintenance entail?
It is very unlikely that your cache will be hidden by you and never require you to revisit the location again.
Sometimes things happen:
- Animals find and destroy the cache.
- Bushfires go through and melt your cache into insignificance.
- A tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, displacing your cache.
- A river rises, washing away the hiding place and the cache with it.
- The container succumbs to the ravanges of time, heat and / cold and perishes.
- A previous finder does not replace the lid properly and the contents get wet / damaged.
- The container is damaged in some other way.
- Someone pees on your cache (yes, this has happened, ewww, nasty).
A well maintained cache is a cache that is worth doing. Often you will see logs that indicate that the cache requires maintenance. As a good cacher, you should be prepared to visit your cache as needs be to:
- Check the integrity of the container.
- Remove broken / soiled items.
- Replace a log book or non-functioning pen.
- Restock the cache with swaps.
- Check whether the cache has been placed back in just the right area under the shrub / bush / bridge.
- Are the magnets holding up.
- Has the bush grown so much since you left it that the terrain or difficulty rating need changing.
How often should I maintain my cache?
Maintenance does not mean every week, every month or once a year. It should mean that you visit often enough to keep the cache in good condition.
How do I know when to maintain my cache?
Sometimes you will get a Did Not Find (DNF) log on your cache or a Needs Maintenance (NM) log. Does this mean you drop everything immediately and rush out to the location and see if it's still there? Probably not. Sometimes people and satellites have bad days. An easy find for one cache may take another cacher multiple visites (personal experience here). If your cache is rated accordingly it could also mean that you are just rather tricky and a DNF could be what you intend to receive more often than not.
A run of DNF's, however may mean that your cache has been compromised. How many is a run? Oh, say 3 or 4. Again, this does not mean that you immediately drop and run to the cache location, especially if it's a tricky hide. Still, you should keep in mind the relative experience of the cachers who are logging the DNF's. Someone new to the game may not be as thorough as someone who has found hundreds of caches. Someone who has more experience may just be having a bad hair day. On the other hand, your cache may indeed be missing.
This is probably going to be the case if your cache was hidden near a trail or in a public / exposed location. Especially if there is only one tree within 50 meters of GZ and the log indicates that the tree was searched thoroughly.
When someone logs a Needs Maintenance log against your geocache listing it strongly implies that the seeker has discovered there is an issue that requires maintenance. The Geocaching Australia website will flag the date that the Needs Maintenance log was created and will display status on the geocache listing page. This is used to highlight to other seekers that there may be an issue with the geocache. The Needs Maintenance status date can ONLY be removed by the geocache owner logging a Maintained log against the geocache. Simply deleting the Needs Maintenance log will not remove the status. So as a geocache owner you should be able to track your geocaches that have a Needs Maintenance date set and perform some maintenance on your geocache.
When someone logs a Needs Archiving log against your geocache listing it strongly implies that the seeker has discovered there is an issue that requires the listing to be archived. The Geocaching Australia website will flag the date that the Needs Archiving log was created and will display status on the geocache listing page. This is used to highlight to other seekers that there may be an issue with the geocache. The Needs Archiving status date can ONLY be removed by the geocache owner logging a Maintained log against the geocache. Simply deleting the Needs Archiving log will not remove the status. So as a geocache owner you should be able to track your geocaches that have a Needs Archiving date set and perform some maintenance on your geocache.
So my cache is gone / broken / missing, what do I do?
Be prepared to visit your cache as needs dictate to ensure that the cache is all well. If you find that you can't get there immediately and you suspect that the cache has been compromised, temporarily disbale the cache. This gives future hunters and indication that something may be astray with that cache so they don't waste their time trying to find something that is not there.
On the other hand (there are lots of hands here), don't leave your cache in a temporarily unavailable situation for too long either. People would prefer not to have their lists blocked up with hundreds of Temporarily disabled caches. A decent rule of thumb would be 30 days to get out there and check on the cache.
If you do get to the cache location and find that the cache is missing, you can replace it (prepare in advance and take along a replacement container) or you can archive it. Archiving means that the cache is gone and will not be replaced. Avoid archiving a cache without going to see if it's missing. It's preferable to avoid leaving plastic boxes out in the wild. Be responsible and remove the remnants of the cache if you are going to archive it.