No officer, he’s not planting a bomb, he’s hiding a geocache.
Olsen claims he’s hidden the most in Canada -1,213 in our region.
To say Olsen is passionate about the hobby he got involved in five years ago would be putting it mildly. For the past five years he’s been finding and hiding these little weather-proofed boxes that contain a logbook and several trinkets. Participants use a GPS unit or app on their iPhone to determine the locations of these hidden “treasures” after choosing which ones to pursue from the geocaching website.
“Olsen says geocaching has changed since 9/11.
“You have to be sensitive about where you put them. You don’t put them around federal or provincial buildings or public buildings.”
He takes pride in where he places his geocaches and has a particular goal in mind.
“People come here from all over the world.
“My geocaches and those hidden by others will take people on a tour of the area,” he said.
He planted his 1,000th cache at the Cape Forchu lighthouse and likes the thought of geocachers visiting other attractions on the site while there.
“I’ve had lots tell me afterwards that they went in and had a wonderful meal and would like to come back.
“I try to draw them to places like that.”
For every person that finds one of his geocaches he receives an email. He’s received many gifts just for the fun or the entertainment the search provided.
Because he’s now retired, except for working part time as gym supervisor at Meadowfields School, he has more time for geocaching, including maintaining each hide.
Olsen goes by the name of Ervind on the geocaching site.
He compares the geocaching community to a family, with events “all over the place,” like the Jingle Mingle held before Christmas in Shelburne.
“People love to go to them. These are people with good morals, decent people. They’re trustworthy. They come from all different walks of life,” said Olsen.
Something he especially likes is the family involvement. Youths like geocaching because it involves the computer and reading GPS coordinates.
“When I see these pictures of the families and the little kids holding up their little trinkets… it’s wonderful. All you can see is teeth. It’s a reasonably cheap activity for parents to do with their children too,” he said.
Besides geocaching, he also combs beaches. He earned $800 from his efforts last year. Most of that money came from the empty bottles he recycled. Some of his discoveries contained the proverbial message in a bottle.
The more interesting ones have been wedged in beach stones for many years. One little girl threw her bottle from the Bluenose ferry off the Maine coast.
Another family from Germany tossed a bottle overboard as they sailed across the Gulf of Maine.
“They sent me back a picture of their little girl when I contacted them,” said Olsen.
Now when he finds a bottle containing a carefully folded or rolled note, he tries to find a young student to open it with him.
“They get so excited. They want to know what’s inside. We pop it open and they say ‘Wow!’” he said.
Recently he discovered a very new looking bottle.
“It was fired off the Milton dam and I found it behind the hospital (a few hundred feet away.) I called him up and he was so excited that someone had found it…. until I told him where,” laughed Olsen.
After hearing about a shipwreck and its cargo of coal from a senior in the community, Olsen explored the tip of Cape Forchu and collected 60 pounds of assorted lumps of coal. He brought his find home and burned some in his stove.
Last summer he found a two-to-three-foot-long silver cylinder marked with a Department of National Defence logo and instructions to call the police.
Olsen tossed it into his bag with his bottles and called the RCMP when he returned home.
“They called the military and they said not to handle it,” he said.
A truck with a bomb sign on the side arrived in “record” time. The men told Olsen that the flare never detonated and that it likely came from a helicopter on a search and rescue tasking.
“They told me if it went off inside a vehicle it would have destroyed it by fire,” he said.