Mission Accomplished: The Secret Life of Larval Fish: A Geocaching Adventure.

During my stay in Santa Cruz, I came across a cache which was part of a mini challenge. I love geocaching challenges and tours, which award your adventurous skills. My latest one was the Tri-Cities Geocoin Challenge 2018. Read all about that here.

As I read the cache description, it was clear that I wanted to complete this one as well. This is a small challenge and not mentioned on the official geocaching website. The challenge is an effort of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center to give you more information about the marine life along the coast and especially about larval fish. You get to know why baby fish look so different from their adult counterparts and what fishes are doing to raise their young once.

It is a relatively short challenge and you need to find only 5 caches to earn your wooden coin. I already logged a couple of the caches a day before I actually did the challenge. Because the Discovery Center was closed, I was not able to obtain a passport and stamp it. I came back the next day to pick up a passport and started the challenge a day later, as I would have more time that day. To get one of the passports just ask any of the staff members and they will help you. Too bad that they don’t offer the passport as a pdf to download and print.

It took me a little bit more than an hour to find all 5 caches, stamp my passport and answer the questions. The caches themselves are relatively easy to find. However, the muggles are the problem here. Many muggles use this area to take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful coastline here. It depends what day and time you visit and also on the weather, how many muggles you will encounter.

The hardest one is probably cache #1 directly at the Discovery Center. As groups come out here with their docents. Try to grab this one first and alternate your plans if there is a group or you can just wait it out until they pass. You have to pay to park in front of the Discovery Center. I recommend you to buy an admission for the Discovery Center which will give you 3 hours of validated parking for free. You have to come here anyway to finish the challenge and pick up your coin.

Some of the caches show alternative parking locations, besides the parking lot in front of the Discovery Center. Be aware that some of them are permit parking during business hours and you can’t park there. Obey the posted signs.

After finishing the challenge I enjoyed the exhibits inside and around the Discovery Center. There are skeletons of a Blue Whale and a Gray Whale outside the discovery center. It’s impressive to see how large they are when you can stand next to a skeleton.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

This is a really fun adventure and can be done by the whole family. Kids will enjoy the treasure hunt and get to know more about fish species. If you don’t have a GPS or Geocaching.com account. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is so kind and can give you a little cheat sheet how to find them or they will even loan you a GPS with the caches pre-programmed.

Thanks a lot to the team who put the effort into creating this small geocaching adventure.

The Reward: A wooden Geocoin

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