The weather here hasn't been very summer like, while Australia is having heatwaves and severe bush fires we've been wet, with regular snowfall. The lake levels are at crisis point where the nearby towns are close to getting flooding. The rivers and creeks are all roaring with water washing around some nice flood gold 🙂
JW and I decided we'd go prospecting yesterday for a bit of fun, we went to one of our old haunts, we've done this area and this particular spot so many times and every time we think it's hunted out however JW's 10" X-coil got a fair few bits there last weekend and this weekend he was going to try the 12" X-coil to see how it goes there. It was raining heavy at my place when I left and JW's house was also meant to rain all day but this particular spot we were going to the mountains were meant to keep the rain at bay.
Here is a little video of a Dam we drove past showing the flood gates open due to all of the rain, where I was standing filming it I was getting wet from the mist of the water
I didn't notice at the time but if you look hard you'll see two people in yellow jackets standing down at the base of the dam having a shower in the water 🙂
I went not expecting to find anything but I just enjoy the hunt anyway and as it goes with gold, you never know. I wanted to try out the 12x6" X-coil on the GPX 4500 as I've never used that combination at the spot and I've mainly used my QED lately so the GPX is getting dusty. The reason this area is such a challenge for the GPX is the massive high voltage power lines that run through it, they're connected to the Hydro Dam and with all the flooding going on they must be really pumping out the electricity. As I've mentioned in the past the QED handles the power lines fine at this spot although it is very sensitive and I do spend a large part of my day digging shotgun pellets when using the QED here. I am sure a KQED-spert could tell me ways to get around that, maybe changing my mode from Mode 1 to one of the higher less sensitive modes would probably work. It's the reason I don't like using VLF's here too, pellets... pellets.... pellets 😞
When we arrived I strapped myself up with the GPX, all my cords and harness were in a big tangle and fired it up and no audio, bugger! did I forget a cable. In a massive panic I went back to my backpack and searched for a missing cable. It turns out all I'd forgotten to do was plug the speakers into the Steelphase SP01, I'd plugged the SP01 into itself with a loop of the cord 🙂 It shows how long it's been since I've used my GPX, forgot how to plug all the cords in. I really like not having all these cords and harness with the QED.
I've run the GPX at this spot a number of times and it has found me gold, prior to getting any X-coils I used to use my 14x9" Evo here, I had to have the gain quite low and audio in Quiet to get it semi stable but it never really ran nicely, I was never able to get a smooth threshold. I have one of the early Australian made GPX's which I believe were a bit more noisy than the modern ones too which doesn't help.
There are lots of old tailings piles at the spot, most aren't worth detecting as they're just big rocks, and the ones that are worth detecting have been pounded by every man and their dog, including myself and JW many times.
Someone had dug a massive hole, it looked quite fresh, It looked at least 15 inches deep and all they got was a rusty bit of metal that they'd left beside their hole!
The little 12x6" X-coil was working quite well on the GPX considering the power lines, It had a bit of pulsing but the threshold was mostly pretty good considering, I had my gain on 12 most of the day in sensitive extra with audio in boost and was pretty happy with how it was running, a stark contrast to when I used the EVO here I had to keep my gain down at 8 with audio in Quiet and it was still noisy. It's always my go to coil for high EMI areas, the smaller size and I guess whatever else the manufacturer has done has made it a pretty good coil for EMI.
I was struggling to find any good targets though, it was only probably 10 minutes after we first arrived that JW came over to show me his first bit of gold so I knew there just had to be some gold left here. I can't expect to come close to his GPZ + small X-coils though, there is no better combination in my mind for finding these small gold bits at depth.
Here is a photo of the dirty great big power lines with all that flood power running through them 🙂 The weather held up mostly well for the day, a few showers, a few minutes of hail but mostly sunny.
It kept getting a signal on this big rock, it's loaded with quartz in lines through it, hitting it with my pick did very little so I gave up on it. The photo doesn't show the size of it, it was three times bigger than I am 🙂
Seeing I was desperate to find some gold at this spot and didn't have much hope for myself I resorted to my usual tactic of flipping big rocks over, it's worked here in the past. I guess those who have detected the ground before me didn't do it and the rocks added enough depth that they missed the gold under them.
I was regularly finding these little skinks living under rocks, I believe they're rare and endangered so I was always very careful not to injure any of them.
I flipped over this massive rock and a spider ran up my arm and under my t-shirt sleeve, I panicked and shook my arm and brushed at it to knock it off. A side effect of living most of my life in Australia is a fear of spiders, NZ doesn't really have that issue and poison or dangerous wild life aren't really something you concern yourself with however the Australian in me kicked in and I wanted to get it off me quick smart. I did that and looked down expecting a little harmless NZ spider and to my surprise it was an Australian Red Back Spider (Australian black widow). A Deadly venomous sucker that could have killed me and it was the biggest one I've seen in my life. We used to see them quite a bit in Australia but I never expected to see one here. It's a shame I didn't put something next to it for scale to show just how big it was
Shortly after this photo I introduced it to my foot. After doing some research it turns out they do live in the area and they're trying to get rid of them as they're an invasive species that came in from Australia, I am surprised they survive the winters, the grounds often frozen solid here in winter.
After my scare I decided I'd stop flipping rocks and started detecting the cracks in the bedrock. The grass growth from all the recent rainfall has made life difficult too, normally this place is dry and brown.
I found a good area of bedrock and detected along various cracks in it, ones that didn't have too much grass and found my first bit of gold for the day.
A little guy but a real screaming signal. I was never going to miss this one, it sounded like a 22 shell does.
.247 of a gram! Quite big for me lately 🙂
I checked that spot a lot after that hoping for more, I even dug more soil out of the crack and checked it hoping there was another undetectable bit deeper but I was all out of luck so I moved further down the crack and had target, very faint, not a screamer like the previous one but sure enough another bit of gold.
This one was quite deep down in that little crack there
It looks about the same size but it's very thin, not much to it.
0.103 of a gram.
Here is a little video showing when I get them, it also shows there is no knock sensitivity of the 12x6" X-coil even with my gain up high seeing this question is often asked about various X-coils.
I kept hunting around but found no more gold for the day unfortunately.
Someone went to a lot of effort to prop this big rock up, I checked under it but nothing.
I later switched to the 15x10" X-coil but I had to lower my gain down a fair bit as it was being messed with by the power lines, I knew it would be as my 14x9" Evo is terrible here and it's even bigger.
I also found some weird sheltered spot under some rocks where it looks like some crazy wild animal has been living bringing back the bodies of it's victims. After my Redback discovery I thought this could be anything, maybe an African lion or the elusive Bigfoot so I took off quickly.
I didn't want to join the bones 🙂
And that was it for the day, 2 for me for a total of .35 of a gram. KFC time!
Hi guys. I had a long time friend that I have known since college days come down to stay for a week. He & his wife had never been to Queenstown before & he loves the outdoors so he was in for a treat. I took the week off work to show them around. Trouble with that is it involves a lot of driving & for Mrs JW & I we have done it a thousand times so it wears pretty thin with us after a few days. But at least or friends really enjoyed it & showed it which made it all worthwhile for us.
He of course wanted to go gold detecting. So I took him to a local spot & geared him up with the Gold monster. He had never ever used a detector of any kind. So I thought the Gold Monster would be the easiest for him to use & a good chance of getting some gold. I stuck with the Zed & 10" X coil. I had not actually had the Zed with the 10" X coil at this particular spot although I have thrashed it with all my other gold detectors & coil combinations. We got to the location & I am sure some of you will recognise it from the photos & some of my older posts.
I gave him a crash course on the settings & he took to it like a duck to water. I started him off on full max sensitivity. Showed him the all metal mode & iron reject mode. Told him All metal was the deepest most sensitive mode & that iron reject will lose you a bit of depth & sensitivity but will give you a handle on it being iron (ferrous) or non iron etc. But basically just stick to all metal & dig EVERYTHING. If the detector gets a bit ratty of gives you heaps of false signals just back off the sensitivity. I told him all about VERY careful coil control & bump sensitivity. I pointed out the exposed bedrock areas of the schist & said that is were that detector excels. It love small/tiny gold that isn't very deep down. He was off.
He was getting a nice collection of crap, but enjoying himself none the less. He still called them "his treasures" & put them in his little bottle. I went off in a direction to get away from him a bit & it wasn't long before I had a signal in a good likely looking spot. I was very confident it was going to be gold so before I even scraped I called my friend over. He got no hit with the GM so I then gave it a good scraping & bang...he got the signal. I let him keep at it until he had moved the signal.
I told him to wave the magnet on the end of his pick through the dirt to see if any iron crap leapt up onto it. Nothing did so I told him now to use his scoop to get the signal in that & then just wave the scoop over the coil. To then just tip a bit out in his hand & wave the scoop over the coil again. The signal was in that crevice to the right of the GM.
Doing that until he whittled the signal down in the scoop until he could isolate & see what the signal was.
Twas gold. I said "That is yours....you dug it". No bloody way he said. You found it, it is yours. I only want what I find. Ok I said. Bugger off & find your own then. So off he went, but he had gone through the procedure of locating & isolating a signal. I actually found two more bits in that same run of crevice. Then bugger me....I get another signal, faint, from a big crack in the schist at the right hand end of that first crevice.
The photo doesn't do it justice & is taken after the gold was retrieved. I called my mate back over but he never got a hit on it due to its depth & he couldn't get the little fat 5" coil on its edge down in the crack. Even the pointy end of my pick was right down to its max & I couldn't rake the signal out. I had to smash the schist & create that hole to get the signal out.
I am sure a few of you will recognise this photo location from past posts.
These were the last pics I took of this little adventure with my mate. But he did end up finding two bits of gold. Not bad for a complete novice. I was very happy for him & of course he was chuffed. I ended up with 10 bits for 1.73 grams which blew me away as I know how hard & how often I have been over this area with all my detectors & coil combinations over the years. It is where I very first used the Nox 800 with both the 11" & 6" coils with good success. The GM many times & my mate still found two bits. Just goes to show....no one gets it all. Least of all me.
To be continued. (I need a coffee)
Sniping & Crevicing for Gold Nuggets
Join Prospector's Gary AKA (Two Toe's) and Jeff (Smithsgold) as they embark on another Adventure to find the Mother Lode. Gold Nuggets are there Target and they will work the Bedrock Crevices above and Below the water to find there Treasure. Sniping for Gold underwater is one of my favorite ways to find Gold and sometimes the most rewarding.
( SG 013 )
Today I had to drop my wife and daughter at the airport in Queenstown near JW's house, they're off to Australia for a week to see family. It's too hot for me this time of year over there so I decided I'd stay home. JW had the day off work today due to the weather so we decided we'd go for a detect, it's been wild weather lately.. so much for summer, fresh snow on all the mountains this morning and during the day the snow kept coming down. By the end of the day the mountains had a good coating. My wife's flight ended up being delayed over six hours due to the weather so they had a boring time at the airport waiting while JW and I were out detecting.
The snow was building throughout the day. This was not long after we arrived, much more by the time we left.
This area is known as my nemesis, I've only ever found gold here twice, once was with my Gold Bug Pro when I first started prospecting and another time was when I first got my 12x6" X-Coil also using the QED, both tiny bits of gold. I've struggled to use my GPX at this location as it's right next to power lines and the area is riddled with hot rocks, really annoying hot rocks, the QED handles the power lines fine. The hot rocks combined with millions of shot gun pellets make this area a nightmare for VLF's too. I consider it the hardest place for me to find gold out of my known prospecting areas. It does however have gold, and the gold is often very small stuff, it's a real challenge for me here.
I wanted to try the new 15x10" GPX X-Coil this time as last time with the 12x6" X-Coil I spent a lot of time digging shotgun pellets, I was hoping the bigger coil may just be big enough to ignore the pellets but still be sensitive enough to find some of the tiny gold.
The hot rocks aren't all big either, a lot of them are tiny
This is from dragging my pick magnet across the ground for a few seconds.
The area is quite the challenge to swing a coil too, very bushy and rocky.
The growth of the plant life has gotten a lot worse since I was last here a month or so ago
The rocky areas are often old tailings piles, a majority of them aren't worth detecting though as they're just rocks, no soils involved. This one above wasn't too bad but had no gold unfortunately.
There was plenty of the hot rocks in this area giving me grief. I couldn't run at this location in Mode 11 (No ground balance) as it made the hot rocks so much worse, nutting off all over the place so I stuck with Mode 1, the most sensitive of the ground balanced modes and it mostly handled the tiny hot rocks fine but the bigger ones still set it off. You can't just kick them away unfortunately as a lot of them are buried.
I did managed to find one bit of gold, at first I dug a hot rock but after removing it the signal continued, there was actually two signals after I removed the hot rock however whatever the second signal was it dropped down further into the rock pile to be lost forever.
I'm up quite high on a cliff edge here, you'll see the flooded river below, it's usually a really nice blue water but during flood it goes brown. You'll see the area I dug out to get my little nugget, I have no idea of the depth of it as I may have initially been tricked by the hot rock.
It's a tiny little thing, It had a nice target signal though. I didn't expect at the time for it to be gold as I thought the signal was too good, I was expecting another hot rock.
0.072 of a gram.
The afternoon was getting pretty wet, we were at it rain, hail and shine, the weather kept changing. At one point the hail hurt, got me right in the eyeball!
I just put a plastic bag over the QED to keep it dry, same with the speaker and rear control box. Someone needs to make waterproof covers for it 🙂
That was it for me, I was too wet, I went to see how JW was doing, he of course did better than me with his GPZ / 10" X-Coil combination, I truly believe that combination should be illegal, it makes it unfair on the rest of us I'm sure he'll let you folks know how he did, one of his bits gave me a shock.
There has been a bit of talk with people asking if the X-coils are bump sensitive, seeing my gain and sensitivity settings are on maximum I figure if anyone is going to get bump sensitivity it's going to be me and I get absolutely none so I recorded a video showing it, the video also shows me testing the response on my little nugget after I found it.
I really like the 15x10" X-Coil, it's such a sensitive coil with good ground coverage.