2008-09-21 49 -123

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Sun 21 Sep 2008 in 49,-123:
49.2776262, -123.1564544

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About 250m offshore of Kits Beach in Vancouver.

This is the first part of a bicycle multihash by Robyn and thepiguy. The second part is here.


  • Robyn attended, with Успех (who stayed on the beach with the other bicycles), T-Rex, and a rubber raft.
  • thepiguy was there with Josephine, and his own rubber raft.
  • Srs0 was there with his bike (that doesn't have a name), and shared thepiguy's raft.


Robyn and thepiguy were planning on (and are currently working on) a multihash today, so I went early with them. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to join them for the second part of their hash due to other commitments, but the one I did make it to was fantastic!

For me, the expedition began at 05:15, where brought my stuff out to the bike and discovered that something had happened to my back tire, again. As I prepared to change it, thepiguy rode up and I told him the problem. I quickly fixed the back wheel and, at around 05:30, we headed out. We made good time and reached the beach by the hashpoint at 06:01, while Robyn arrived around five minutes later. The boats were inflated by 06:30 and all three of us were out on the water and at the geohash for 07:00, just in time for a sunrise geohash (the sunrise for the day was officially 06:58, which was achieved)! Admittedly, the only way that we could see that it was the sunrise, thanks to dark clouds, was because it was getting a bit brighter.

There were quite a few "what the heck are we doing" moments, namely when we got into the little rafts in the water and paddled a quarter kilometre into the bay all in the dark. Thankfully, thepiguy had thought up a method to get us in the general area without having to constantly watch the GPS, namely by using his forward and rear bike lights lined up on the shore.

By the time we all got back to the shore, cleaned up, and deflated the boats, which took longer than it took to inflate them, it was 08:00. Robyn and thepiguy went on to continue their multihash while I took the big inflatable boat from thepiguy and brought it back with me so he didn't have to carry it for the rest of the way. Robyn was going to drop her boat off somewhere too.


Excellent writeup srs0. Here's a quick recap from another point of view, in order to add my favourite expedition quotes.

The expedition started for me at 05:30, when I left the garage with Успех, loaded down with raingear, food, a dry change of clothes, a rubber boat, pump, oars, and of course camera and GPS. Because of the darkness, I overshot the turn-off to the geohash location and had to come back, making me arrive on the beach slightly late. I suspected that the flashing bicycle lights near a log belonged to the geohashers I sought, a suspicion that was confirmed when I found two men behind the log, breathing heavily, one on his knees, saying, "I can't get my mouth around it! It's too big!" I doubt it's the first time this beach has heard those words, but it may be the first time they have been associated with launch preparations for a flotilla of inflatable boats.

The launch went pretty much as I suspected it would. As I explained to thepiguy and srs0, I would bring normally bring a lifejacket to go boating, but these are technically pool toys not boats, so legally we're swimming to the geohash. The challenge ahead of us was to not literally be swimming at any point. That and making boats with no keel and flexible oarlocks go in a straight line. I wish I had a tracklog of our zig-zag progress to the geohash.

Approaching the hashpoint we gained a better appreciation for just how far 250 metres is in a small rubber boat on the ocean. I had srs0 grab the rope on my boat so the two could be together at the hashpoint. "I hear air," he said. There was a brief scramble to discover whose boat was deflating. Mine. I eyed the distance to shore, knew I could swim it, and figured I could row fast and get back before the boat sank. But srs0 reset the plug in the inflation valve and the hissing stopped.

We drifted around a lot, but with much consulting of compasses and GPS receivers we each managed to get within tolerance of the geohash and declare the mission a success. Fast forward through more zig-zag rowing, thepiguy breaking a paddle, and me losing an oar while taking photos and having to hand paddle to get it back. It's possible that hand paddling is more efficient than rowing with inflatable oarlocks. Back on the beach I discovered that it takes longer to deflate a raft than inflate it, but eventually I got enough air evacuated in order to stuff it and the accessories in a duffel bag.

I took my photos with a disposable camera because I didn't want to risk the real camera in the sea, so there will be a delay for processing and scanning.


You guys both forgot to mention the second group of people that showed up on the beach!

We had been out of the water for about a half hour, Robyn and srs0 were deflating the smaller raft, when a group of three people in their early twenties walked down the beach towards us. "Are they geohashers?" We whispered between us. But our hopes were quickly dashed when we noticed the empty bottle of vodka they had with them and heard them talking about how they were "soooooooo drunkk!"

They stumbled around on the beach making drunken comments about us and our boats, before coming up to us and asking if we had anything they could roll a joint on. Oh Vancouver, how we love you.

Another 20 minutes later, they were now both drunk and stoned they started debating whether they should go swimming. By the time we left, they had decided swimming wasn't the best idea because they might catch pneumonia and get sick. The fact that they could hardly stand and would more likely drown seemed less important to them, but at least they didn't go in the water.


The pictures with the geohashers at the actual location and the GPS confirming the location will follow. The person with those pictures is currently out attempting a multihash.