Steve Herschbach

Steve's 2011 Australia Gold Adventure

35 posts in this topic

The July 2016 issue of the ICMJ magazine contains an article I wrote reprising my 2011 trip to Australia to hunt gold with Chris Ralph and Jonathan Porter. Subscribers can view the article online at http://www.icmj.com/article-notloggedin.php?id=3479

There was of course a lot more to say about the trip than was contained in the article, and in particular I have a lot more photos to share. I kept a diary while on the trip, and this thread is intended to provide a much more detailed look at the trip. I will keep posting on this thread in a serial fashion similar to what I did with my Alaska gold adventures with my diary providing daily details.

It all started in 2010 at the old AMDS Adventure Forum when I made this post on a thread:

"Hi murph,

You know, for many years it was my dream to go hunt nuggets in Australia. I got Doug Stone's books and read everything else I could and dreamed of those monster nuggets.

But as years went by I read between the lines and figured it is a tough go to find the big nuggets in Australia these days. The fact is you only read about people making finds, but plenty of visitors to Oz find no gold. There is always the home team advantage. It is not so much what you know as who you know, and I'll always have a tremendous advantage in Alaska just because I've lived here all my life. Though I do have a few contacts in Oz that might give me a leg up on the average visitor. Still, it may be that my chance to visit Australia is coming as my circumstances have taken a turn for the better. So maybe in a couple years?"

That in turn generated a response from famed Australian gold prospector Jonathan Porter:

"Steve I will tell you this, if you ever decide to visit Australia it would be my pleasure to show you around. There is still plenty of potential here in Australia, the auriferous areas are just too extensive and in some cases very inaccessible so there just has to be good nugget patches waiting for someone gutsy enough to come along and swing their coil over that first lump. I intend to get into some tiger country this year and could do with a good partner who doesn't need a gold fix every day, interested? - JP"

It turns out that JP and ICMJ Associate editor Chris Ralph had been discussing the possibility of a joint prospecting trip in Australia. I had met Chris previously when I had invited him up to visit my Moore Creek pay-to-mine operation several years earlier. A few messages were passed back and forth offline, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to join in on the adventure. Trying to pick the best time as regards weather was a big priority, and it was decided that the fall of 2011 would be the best bet for putting a trip together. Australia is in the southern hemisphere, and so the seasons are the reverse of what we experience in the United States. Our fall is their spring and we timed it to hit cooler temperatures that would be warming while we were there. Jonathan's advice was critical here. We wanted several weeks to give it a good go and decided the entire month of September 2011 would work well. That gave us plenty of time to plan and make arrangements so we put it on our calendars.

To be continued....

steve-herschbach-with-australia-gold-nugget.jpg
Photo courtesy of Aurum Australis

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OK, travel to Australia and back. First step - get your passport if you do not have one. Other than that it is just jet travel, though halfway around the world. I found my old email from Chris with the flight we both ended up booking. Since we were headed for Western Australia around Meekatharra the flight destination is Perth, which requires flying across the entire continent of Australia from the initial touchdown in Melbourne. We would then drive out of Perth to the Meekatharra area.

Depart Wed 24 Aug. 2011 23:30 from Los Angeles Arrive 08:20 (Fri) Melbourne Qantas flight QF94  
Depart 10:45 (Fri) from Melbourne Arrive 13:00 (Fri) Perth Qantas flight QF475

Depart Wed 28 Sept. 2011 23:10 from Perth 05:20 Arrive (Thu) Brisbane Qantas flight QF652  
Depart 10:55 (Thu) from Brisbane Arrive 07:00 (Thu) Los Angeles Qantas flight QF15

Flights on  Sale Economy for  $1,432.38

The same flight booked just now five years later is $1340.33

quantas-to-australia-la-to-perth.jpg

Notice the nearly 24 hours spent in the air so longer than that with time in airports, etc. The nice part is on overseas flights even the cheapest seats are more like first class. Fifteen hours crammed in typical coach seating would probably lead to rioting in the aisles.

Travel was helped a great deal by JP providing nearly all the detecting gear including loaner GPX 5000 detectors. Except for a couple nights in Perth all our time in Australia was planned to be camping. I basically just took desert clothing and boots along with misc personal effects and picked up a small tent and sleeping bag in Australia, which came home with me. Chris packed a tent and bag, which I would do now if I had it to do over. Getting anything in Australia proved to be very expensive. It was not so much the exchange rate as the fact that an Australian dollar simply bought half in Australian stores what a U.S. dollar would get in U.S. stores. I tended to think of terms of a dollar being a dollar and that an even trade would be good. Nope, $100 Australian does not get you far at all in Australia. Look not just at the exchange rate but the actual cost of goods at your destination.

Chris was in Reno at that time while I was still living in Alaska. I had the extra flights from Alaska and met Chris in Los Angeles for the flight to Australia. Kudos to Quantas on everything - flights were nice, no issues.

steve-arrives-australia-on-quantas.jpg
Our flight arriving in Perth, Australia. Photo courtesy Jonathan Porter of Aurum Australis

australia-road-map.jpg

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Great timing on this thread Steve, as I've been toying with a "bucket list" trip to the land down under next summer! I know I could probably find more gold plugging away here in the west and southwest, but the adventure appeals to me! Looking forward to your continued posts! :-)

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Well worth the trip Peg! It surely is not all about the gold. The first time going anywhere is great just from the seeing new country perspective, and the Aussie people are simply tops in my book. And gold luck can strike anywhere - there are still huge nuggets lurking in Australia, you just need to put your coil over one.

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dang 5 years already...my last trip was in 2010...time really is flying by!

I never made any money hunting gold in Oz...

I would do it all again, the gold isn't everything. Just a good reason to go hunting.

fred

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Very cool following along with your thoughts outside the confines of magazine space constraints as Chris needed to deal with..

Swamp
 

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This thread fits in well with Freds post for anyone thinking to go to Australia as it would be good to have a good contact there or be on a tour such as the one Fred posted.  I can't imagine it being anything less than awesome than to travel to Australia and have a chance to find some gold at the same time.  

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Good to see you had a good trip downunder.

Next time you will have to do a stint with the Goldhounds crew Steve!

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Ok, in the first post I mentioned how I kept a journal on the trip with daily notes. I had intended for it to provide lots of tiny details about gold finds, etc for this thread. After starting the thread I realized I had no idea where the journal was and so started two weeks of looking through boxes shipped from Alaska to Reno and never opened. I found lots of stuff and have done some much needed cleanup work leftover from our move to Reno, but the notebook never did come to light. I am afraid that because it just looked like a nondescript notepad (picked up at last second in store in Oz) that it may have got thrown out when we were packing up to move from Alaska. Or I still have not found it. Whatever, the show must go on! I will do the best I can from memory.

There were a couple things everyone that goes to Australia looking to bring home gold needs to know. First, depending on where you go detecting you may need a permit or license. In Western Australia you need to obtain a Miner's Right. From the information page at http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Minerals/Miners-Rights-2427.aspx

"A Miner’s Right must be obtained prior to commencing prospecting activities. This allows the holder of the Miner’s Right to pass and re-pass over land, in order to gain access to Crown land for prospecting purposes. A Miner’s Right can be obtained for a fee of $25 at the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), Mineral House, 100 Plain Street, East Perth, or at any Mining Registrar’s office, upon presentation of proof of identity. An application form is available within the attached Miner’s Right pamphlet."

western-australia-miners-right-herschbach-front.jpg

These were obtained in advance for Chris and I. From http://www.australiasgoldenoutback.com/things-to-do-australian-outback/Outback_experiences/Gold_prospecting_and_fossicking

"This gives you authorisation to prospect on:

  • Unoccupied crown land that is not covered by a granted mining tenement.
  • A pastoral lease that is not covered by a granted mining tenement – provided prior notice is given to the pastoralist.
  • A mining tenement - providing you have permission from the tenement holder. 
  • A granted exploration licence, after having been granted a three-month section 20A permit.

It is important to note that gold prospecting and fossicking cannot be carried out in national parks, nature reserves, on Aboriginal land and heritage sites, within townsites or other classified areas such as cemeteries. You must seek permission from the landowner to enter private property, such as farmland."

seven-golden-rules-for-prospecting-australia.jpg

OK, you find some gold, now what about taking it home? I have never heard of anyone having trouble taking gold nuggets from Australia to the U.S. unless they are extremely valuable or historic in nature. Unless you are talking pounds of gold you just put it in your carry on and take home. Still, I tried to find some legal guidance and there is not much out there. This is from https://www.border.gov.au/Exportinggoods/Documents/111026volume12version5.2.pdf (pages 143 -145)

Class B Objects – Export Permit Required
Class B objects, include:

• Natural Science Objects of Australian origin as prescribed in Part 3 of the control
list:
- any palaeontological object;
- any mineral object (not otherwise referred to in this item) with a current
Australian market value of not less than AUD$10,000;
- any gold nugget with a current Australian market value of not less than
AUD$250,000;

- any diamond or sapphire with a current Australian market value of not less
than AUD$250,000;
- any opal with a current Australian market value of not less than AUD$100,000;
- any other gemstone with a current Australian market value of not less than
AUD$25,000;
- any meteorite; and
- any type specimen of present-day flora or fauna, a palaeontological object or a
mineral if:
- it is not lodged in an Australian collecting institution; or
- a permit or an authority issued under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is not in force.

Unless you have an extremely valuable find there appears to be nothing to worry about, but if anyone can add any clarification or details I would appreciate it. In any case, rules do change and anyone traveling to Australia will want to seek out the latest information.

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Bummer about your journal.....hope you find it. But I'm sure you'll still be able to share lots of useful info etc! Thanks.

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 I dunno IP.

22 minutes ago, IdahoPeg said:

Bummer about your journal.....hope you find it. But I'm sure you'll still be able to share lots of useful info etc! Thanks.

Seems like losing a journal would be the perfect excuse to go back and write a replacement.

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Another huge concern if spending a long time in Australia is the question of transportation. Options include both renting, or buying at the beginning of the trip and selling on departure. Renting is very expensive and so the buy and sell option is popular. There is a great thread on the subject here on the forum at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/2182-renting-a-caravan-or-motorcoach-for-queensland/

In our case once again having JP as our guide paid dividends, as he had friends who were willing to rent us their Toyota 4-Runner for the duration of our visit, and with Chris and I splitting the cost it was extremely reasonable. Better yet I own a 4-Runner myself and so I am familiar with the vehicle. However, the driver seat is on the right hand side and the side of the road you drive on in Australia is reversed from what we do in the United States. Tips for driving in Australia

We had a tight schedule on arriving in Perth. The first night we went straight to a hotel to rest up from our flight. The next day was slated to pick up the truck and do our shopping for supplies. Jonathan also had Chris and I lined up to do a little speaking engagement at Reed's Prospecting Supplies.

Perth is the capital of Western Australia and with a couple million people is a large, vibrant city. Wikipedia entry about Perth. Since Perth is on the coast it has a warm and moderate climate not unlike the California coast though a bit wetter overall.

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Our hotel in Perth

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Downtown Perth, Australia

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Reed's Prospecting Supplies -  Photo courtesy Jonathan Porter of Aurum Australis

We had our little visit at Reed's which ended up being the subject of a Minelab Treasure Talk blog. The blog mentions me talking about snakes in Alaska but I was talking about being warned about them in Australia - no snakes in Alaska to worry about! The chats went well and I was able to pick up a Walco pick, which had become unavailable for general purchase in the U.S.

Our shopping completed and truck loaded up, we were ready to head out early the next morning. We had a long drive to the Meekatharra area that with an early start should put us in camp that evening.

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We were up before dawn for a long day of driving ahead with about 400 miles to our first camp site. JP was in his rig and Chris and I in ours. I was designated driver and settled into driving a vehicle with everything reversed and on the opposite of the road from what I am used to. I would hate to do this in busy city driving but the leisurely pace of cross country driving made it easy going.

The countryside started out as green farmland and forest that slowly turned to desert as we headed northeast towards Meekatharra. Except for stops to fill up on fuel and top off water supplies the drive was quite uneventful. The sun had set as we finally turned off the main road and followed a track in the dark to our first campsite. JP got his rig set up and Chris and I pitched our small tents. A long day and our first night of many in sleeping bags.

We were up again before dawn and putting our loaner GPX 5000 detectors together. The machine was a new model at the time, and Jonathan gave us some recommended settings he had been using with success. Find Gold Timing, Gain of 14, Motion Slow, Stabilizer 8. I rarely strayed from these settings for most of my stay in Australia.

JP gave us a brief idea where to look for gold in the area and he used a term we would hear a lot in the next month - "scattered gold". I wandered off to a likely looking spot and got my detector up and running and scanned away. My detector was only on a few minutes when I got my first signal, and what do I dig, but my very first Australian gold nugget! It was just a small piece of gold but the ease and quickness with which I found it seemed to bode well to me. Gold in the first few minutes, a month ahead and an expert guide. I just knew we were going to find a ton of gold!!

steves-herschbach-first-australia-gold-nugget.jpg
Steve's First Australian Gold Nugget -  Courtesy Jonathan Porter of Aurum Australis

Part of the plan for the trip was to shoot video for later release as a series of short takes for the Minelab website. Jonathan is an expert at filming and editing and he put together some great footage. It is just a shame these later YouTube copies are of lower quality than the originals but it does make for a great way to help document this tale and provided Chris and I with a video scrap book of our trip. Here is the first video that shows everything I have described so far.

 

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My leisurely pace with these posts had a purpose as I continued to look for my Australia notes. And I found them! Along with the notes was my Miners Right certificate, which I just scanned and added to the post above on the subject.

Now I can pick up the pace a bit.

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17 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

...Australia notes. And I found them!...

Glad you found your Aus trip notes.. Specifics of location's geologic makeup etc will definitely enhance your sharing of the adventure with us..

As you discovered on the trip, and thanks to the GoldHound's sharing of vid, I also have a new understanding & respect for ironstone.. Now totally understand and appreciate why they went / go to such extremes in order to work contact zones..

Swamp

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Chris and I knew we would be tent camping our entire trip in Australia. Since we had no detectors to take room in our luggage Chris just went ahead and packed a tent he already had. I did not have any small tents at the time, so not knowing just how expensive things were in Australia I figured I would buy one on arrival for use on the trip, and then haul it back home.

We did our shopping in Perth at a sporting goods store. I made a big deal to Chris about how I wanted to have a tent I could stand up in since I would be living in it for a month. There was a nice looking tent set up in the store, and a bunch more were stacked up inside it. I grabbed one and off we went.

It turns out the store had stacked a pile of small pup tents inside the larger tent I thought I was buying. The small packed size should have been a clue, but the high price seemed right for what I thought I was buying. In the end my little tent ended up being smaller than the one Chris had packed! Your basic crawl in and out backpacker tent but after I got over the initial surprise it worked out just fine. It did eventually make the trip home with me.

The camp revolved around JP's fantastic custom truck and trailer combination. The truck features ATV space in the middle, a design I had not seen before that allows easy drive on and off ATV stowage. The trailer has an easy rear flip up access for sleeping and well thought out kitchen facilities that pull out of the side. There was a separate pop up field shower. All fine tuned by years of prospecting experience with everything a person might need in the field.

We pooled our money for food for all. JP offered to be camp cook for the trip, with Chris and I alternating on cleanup duty. JP is a great cook and camp entertainer and the three of us proved to be good camp mates.

jp-camping-rig-australia-2011.jpg
Jonathan's Truck & Trailer

chris-ralph-tent-australia.jpg
Chris' Tent -  Photo courtesy Jonathan Porter of Aurum Australis

steves-pup-tent-australia.jpg
And My Little Home Away From Home

At other times of the year this may have been uncomfortable but the weather was very pleasant, with daytime highs in the 80F range and nighttime lows in the 60F range. Great for sleeping!

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JP shot video constantly and we were under strict orders to call him on the radios we all carried if anything exciting happened. JP had his own radios and I had a pair of Garmin Rino combination radio/GPS units for Chris and I to share. Great little device the Rino, I highly recommend them. A best feature is that by toggling an alert button you can send your position (direction and distance) to the holder of another Rino, making it very easy to keep track of where your partner is if needed. This distance measuring is also great for rough survey work.

The video was edited and released later and they are not presented in the order in which things occurred. This second video actually jumps ahead to near the end of our trip where we visited a small wash where JP had found gold in the past. I ended up finding one of my favorite Australian nuggets at that location, a very delicate gold specimen I dubbed the "Dragon Nugget".

The nugget weighs 1.45 grams and here it is cleaned up....

herschbach-australia-1_45-gram-gold-nugget-front.jpg

herschbach-australia-1_45-gram-gold-nugget-back.jpg

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Australia was suffering from a years long drought while we visited, but there had been some rain before we arrived and the desert was in full bloom. Still, JP told us wildlife populations were decimated by the drought, and so Australia tourist items like the kangaroo were actually very rare sightings. Not good news for a camera guy like me. However, we did run into an Argus monitor, more commonly called the yellow-spotted monitor. This could also be a sand monitor - I am not a lizard expert. Male specimens of this lizard species can grow up to five feet long! There are 25 species of monitors found in Australia that as a whole are locally called goannas.

This one was only a couple feet long but was kind enough to pose for photos before taking off like a rocket. Those things can move!

argus-yellow-spotted-monitor-australia.jpg

argus-yellow-spotted-monitor-australia-tongue.jpg

I did see a few kangaroos on the trip, but it was usually just a glimpse as they disappeared into the bush. Here is the only photo I managed to get of one from across the valley....

australia-kangaroo-herschbach-2011.jpg

A very common sight in Australia is the termite mound, an amazing structure that can reach considerable size, though all the ones I saw were just a couple feet tall.

australia-termite-mound-herschbach-2011.jpg

Here is the first week of my notes. You can see we wasted as little time as possible but still lost a small chunk of time just in travel and logistics.

From my notes:

Wed Aug 24, 2011 - Leave Anchorage in morning for Seattle. meet Chris in Los Angeles. Fly all night to Melbourne, then on to Perth. Meet JP and his friends (not mentioning names in case they do not want to be named). Check into hotel - no shampoo or hair dryer but they give you a small container of milk. Day lost in flight, now Friday.

Sat Aug 27 - Go shopping (sticker shock!) and then do meet and greet and Reed's. More shopping and get loaded up, then dinner with JP's friends.

Sun Aug 28 - Drive 400 miles west, set camp in dark.

Mon Aug 29 - Refine camp, get detectors together, start detecting. I go 30 feet, find first nugget! Total for day 1.8 grams.

Tue Aug 30 - Hunt old patch downhill of large quartz reef. Wander all over, see kangaroo and lizard. Weather 50s at night, 80s by day.

Wed Aug 31 - Hunt banded iron reef, got three nuggets, one weighs 2.3 grams.

Thu Sep 01 - Hunt flats, get 4.9 gram nugget, 5.9 grams total for day.

Fri Sep 02 - We play with Gold Bug 2 on granite exposure, get tiny bits. Big rain storm chases us back to camp, passes quickly.

Here is a photo of that 4.9 gram nugget found on Sept 1, 2011...

herschbach-australia-2011-4_9-gram-gold-nugget.jpg
Steve Finds 4.9 Gram Nugget -  Photo courtesy Jonathan Porter of Aurum Australis

The third edition of the video series features me experimenting with the GPX 5000 iron discrimination system.

 

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australia-wild-goats.jpg
Wild Goats Seen In Old Mining Pit

I have a tendency when detecting to want to "go big". My thought process on this adventure was that we were going to be spending a lot of time on known patches. That is great as it is almost a promise of gold. However, I was very doubtful that multi-ounce nuggets would be found in ground that has seen a lot of searchcoils. The reality unfortunately is the big ones are usually easy to find. You rarely need a super detector, you just need to be first over the nugget with your coil.

That being the case, I made time almost every day to wander off on my own. If JP took us to a new location, I would hit it quickly in a cherry picking fashion. After about an hour though I would just wander off in a large loop intended to eventually bring me back to our location for lunch with Chris and JP. We would compare notes, and depending on what happened in the morning, an afternoon game plan developed. I very often would wander off on another walk about. My Rino GPS was a huge aid in doing this. The terrain was often hilly with scattered bushes that made it easy to get turned around when detecting for hours without paying diligent attention to my whereabouts. On at least one occasion I found myself looking at the GPS and not believing that it insisted I was heading in exactly the opposite direction than I thought I was.

western-australia-outback-2011.jpg
Lots Of Country To Get Lost In!

My goal was to find some small patch or large nugget off the main diggings. It also just love wandering and exploring and so this type of detecting works for me whether I find gold or not. I always made sure to hit the main area again at the end of the day which usually meant gold found on most days.

This go for the proven locations but also try new locations strategy was also something we worked into our overall game plan for the trip. Jonathan's friends had arranged access to a private lease that had seen few if any detectors, and which had at least some decent geology going for it. The idea was to spend so time exploring this relatively unexplored area in hope of making the big find. From my notes:

Sat Sep 03 - I got skunked but JP finds his first gold with Gold Bug 2. Decides he likes the little beast.

Sun Sep 04 - Australian Father's Day. I find only gold of day, 1.1 grams.

Mon Sep 05 - Hit hilltop scrapings with Gold Bug 2, Gold Bug Pro, and Minelabs. Get four small nuggets. Quit early and head for Meekathrra for supplies, then meet new crew at camp at end of day.

chris-ralph-australia-fisher-gold-bug-2.jpg
Chris Ralph Using Gold Bug 2. Note Surface Rubble Pushed Into Piles And Rows.

Tue Sep 06 - Drive to lease location and set new camp.

We now had a few ATVs at our disposal as the amount of area to explore was very large. One ATV was outfitted with a drag coil for really covering some area looking for new patches. The rest of us scouted around in pairs on other ATVs looking for likely locations to hunt. The results....

Wed Sep 07 - No gold.

Thu Sep 08 - No gold.

Our hosts really wanted to keep the entire crew on task but at this point Chris and I were ready to move on. Our time was limited and this big gamble was not paying off. Nobody was finding anything at all, and after seeing the geology a couple days Chris was pretty doubtful of the potential. We made our apologies and offered thanks for the opportunity, but with not one nugget found by several teams so far it was not looking good. If even a single nugget had been found we would have stayed on.

JP knew a spot he had always wanted to try but had not, another blue sky idea. We headed there.

Fri Sep 09 - No gold.

Sat Sep 10 - No gold. But JP finds spiny anteater!

Five days no gold, with Chris and I feeling the days slipping by. The decision was made to spend the remainder of the trip back on the known patches eking out what gold we could in the time we had left. No regrets however as you have to constantly be doing some of this blue sky prospecting if you have hopes of finding that patch of gold that still lurks out there somewhere, undiscovered.

spiny-anteater-australia.jpg
Big Find Of The Week - Spiny Anteater

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This is magic, I mean your sharing of your notes, your diary. Tis reality, takes out that "romantic myth" that it is just laying around in OZ and makes that spiny anteater and other such finds the real treasure of OZ. But having said that, it was just laying around and still is but not as plentiful and where???????? Many thanks for sharing Steve, not just with us your current members but for the future readers, perhaps we should leave some evidence of "living in the electronic gold detector age". We are very privileged to live in this era. 

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      Just wondering if this ever happens to anybody else? This last time I am 95% sure I was talking to a ghost woman
      in the Maine woods and trying not to be attacked by her snarling white Labrador dog. She seemed to know I was searching for something? I was trying to find a gemstone deposit I had left alone in them woods 30 years previous when I had found this perfect dark blue pointed hexagonal  crystal under a rock formation, long as my index finger, and flawless, sun shining thru it but could not bear to break it off...dammit...was in the right place at the right time for a change...might have been a dark blue topaz crystal I am thinking now...
      Somehow she knew I was looking to find it I am thinking? This woman looked just as real as anybody else that I see every day and ditto for her dog but I thought it was rather odd she was out in the deep woods wearing short shorts and the ferocious pooch NEVER once barked at me, just was snarling, growling, teeth bared, looked like it wanted to tear my face off, and unleashed, and she did nothing to calm it down...She also had a leather thing on her belt, by her hip, which she kept pointing towards me.It looked too small to be a pistol holster, am guessing it was about 3 x3 inches square.
      I had a heavy knapsack of rock busting tools and a 6 foot crowbar in hand but was exhausted from my hike up and down steep hills
      and trying not to fall down in the rocks along the creek. I was standing beside the creek, admiring the tumbling mountain waters
      when I turned around and the 2 of them were right behind me.
      She asked for my name and I gave her my first name. Then she says she was out for a walk in the woods to see who might be out there. I had got all my permissions arranged but she did not accuse me of trespassing. Just wanted to know what I was Searching for? I told her I was kinda lost and my car was parked by the ford. But she seemed to NOT know what a ford was until I explained it to her. So then she points up the hill behind her and says that trail will take you back to your car.
      I only took my eyes off her and the angry dog for a few seconds but when I turned back , she and the mean dog had totally vanished
      , no branches cracking, nothing...I took this event as a sign I should give up my search for the crystal deposit and hoofed it back to my car. When I went by the shop where I had to get the permissions, I related my tale. One of the workers lived barely 1/2 mile from where the incident happened and told me she didn't have a clue who the woman was?
      Dunno if I will ever get brave enough to go look for the crystals again now? Heck, how do you test if you are talking to a ghost
      vs a real person and that snarling dog? Heck, I couldn't move a muscle without that beast tensing his hind legs, looking to tear me to pieces... I never heard of ghosts guarding mineral deposits ,only pirate gold....

      -Tom
    • By LukeOzDigger
      Hey everyone, just wanted to start a new topic on Drywashing for gold in Australia.
      Here's a video of me and my mate Pete out on a quick overnighter' it's still dry enough here at the moment but finding time to get out before it starts raining might stop us from more footage this season.
      Steve' feel free to move it to a more relevant section if needed, also if others want to add info video's etc to the same topic feel free just keep the topic on Australia.
      enjoy'
       
    • By LuckyLundy
      Robin & I, planned to met our Friends in Las Vegas!  After carefully stuffing everything from her high heels, camping gear and detectors into her Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, we hit the road to the Luxor Casino for a weeks stay.  Needless to say, my Partner Mike and I, planned on leaving the Wives back in Sin City with our $, for a couple days of chasing nuggets on the Arizona side of the river.  We met up with another friend, who Winters in Glendale, AZ and hit the hills in and around Gold Basin for a fast hunt of some old patches.  Mike, didn't let us down and we scored several nuggets with some great Weather and comradeship...it's the hunt and the sweet sound of a nugget under your coil.  Nuggets are just the bounus!  All good things have to end and we headed back to Las Vegas and our Ladies and finished our Las Vegas gambling, drinking & eating spree.  Now, to re-pack that Jeep to head down to 29 Palms to hunt the Dale District with Robin.  She has never hunted there with me, but seen the nuggets I'd bring home and the many stories and pictures of some very special nuggets.  Well needless to say, she was nursing a very fun last night with her Girlfriend on our drive South.  We arrived and I stopped and tossed the Jeep empty and then loaded up our mining gear and hit a nearby patch...Robin, was moving awful slow, lol. So, we went back to our gear and I setup camp before it got to dark.  Set the tent up and made it almost as comfy as that Kig size bed back in Vegas, lol.  Next Morning, she looked like she didn't sleep a wink.  I made some strong coffee to knock the last of her Margaritas out of her and gave her a pointy finger and I set off for the hunt in the chilly desert morning with her sipping coffee.  Well every now and then I'd pop up on a hill and I'd think I could still see her sitting there?  Couple hours later I look over that way again and see the hatch back of the Jeep was shut, well she must be feeling better and she is hunting?  Well 4 hours and no good, but I was hungry.  Headed back to camp for a fast sandwich and I hear her say any luck!  Robin was in the front seat of her Jeep reading a book!  I told her no luck, and there is no gold here, lets load up and drive back home! She was happy and she had that Jeep nearly loaded before I finished my breakfast, lol. Yes, all that stuff fitted into that Jeep!  Well until the next hunt...good or skunked, they are all fun!
      LuckyLundy
       

    • By Jim_Alaska
      Silly me, I didn't think you could do any worse than getting skunked, but today proved that there is something worse. Somewhere along the way, in a very rough and steep hydraulic pit I lost my detecting pick.  
      I didn't just leave it laying, it somehow got brushed out of my pivoting hammer holder on my belt. Too darned wiped out to go back and look today, I'll make a special recon trip tomorrow and find it. I just hate "do it twice" type things.
    • By Condor
      I took my well worn Polaris 500 out for some exploration in an area that produced gold last year.  It had been giving some fuel problems so my son replaced the carburetor and all the fuel and vacuum hoses.  It ran fine at home, so I thought it was good to go.  I got out to gold country and about 3 miles out from camp it crapped out from a want of fuel.  I could get it started and running only if choked.  I had no tools with me and decided to walk back to camp and futz with it tomorrow.  This morning I packed basic tools and plotted a walking course that would at least take me past some spots that had produced gold last year.  After numerous hills and gullys I crossed a gully that had some exposed bedrock so I detoured and noticed signs of digging in a portion of shallow overburden.  Sure enough someone had scrapped a signal and given up thinking it was just hot bedrock.  I pulled 2 tiny bits of gold out of the same hole and noticed that this particular gully ran NW in the direction I needed to go anyway.   As I got further up the gully I could see that the oldtimers had handstacked portions of the gully and someone in the near recent past had detected it, marking target spots with a few stacked rocks.  I can only assume they detected it with a VLF because I started finding gold with the Zed in the deeper sections and in the banks under handstacked rocks.  After 3 decent nuggets I was stoked and forgot all about that crapped out quad.  As always good things come to an end.  I got to the end of the gully finding all the gold pictured below. 
      I climbed a high spot to get my bearings and found that the quad was only 1/2 mile away.  I got down there and futzed with the quad and found that I could get it going with minimal throttle and choke locked.  I poked along until it died again with no sign of restarting.  After futzing with the fuel lines a while longer I found the newly installed hose had pulled the fuel return cock fitting out of the carb.  I jammed it back in, she started right up and ran like a scalded dog. 
      So, if my quad had not crapped out and forced me to walk over some new ground, I probably would have come home with a few crumbs.  Although, I still have high hopes for the area I intended to explore, you just never know. 
      Bye the way I was running the Zed WFO, HY Normal, Sens 20, Volume maxed, Threshold at 1(only because there is no 0).  Very quiet ground to work in, minimal trash.  The lack of threshold is making some tiny nuggets pop through, maybe its just me, but I'm really liking these settings.
      Until next time, keep er low and slow.