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Simon & I Go For An E-bike Mission

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A fun adventure with a little gold to show; can't go wrong with that. Better luck next time, Simon!

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JW,

Well told.  We'll get Simon's perspective I'm sure.

Mitchel

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It was a good day, I almost died of exhaustion though, mainly because of this crazy hot air blowing over from the West State of NZ making us cook.  We need to be the ones building a wall to stop all the hot air!   I don't handle heat well, it zaps my energy.  I managed to get my feet wet a few times too, from crossing creeks and so on, then my own feet decided they'd wet themselves constantly all day so I got myself a few blisters.

I should mention the Ebiking 🙂 The bikes are great, they take a lot of effort out of riding, especially uphill.  The ride in is like the worlds deadliest road, you're on a little rocky track with a sheer drop on one side down to a creek in a gully and the track is skinny, very skinny, I'm no expert mountain biker so I took it a fair bit slower than JW, especially on the way down, going up is naturally slow as its uphill but going down he's a maniac, full speed down this skinny little track.  That's why I have such a big smile in the photos on the bike... I made it down alive 🙂

The gold search in this area although obviously not riddled with gold is pleasant as there isn't much junk around at all, mostly just old miners stuff like boot tacks and so on so any signal is worth digging. 

I was getting a lot of grief with my 14x9 EVO, it was going nuts on my legs when I was walking, it was picking up my pick holder and SP01 on my belt also.  The coil is just so sensitive and because we were mostly detecting hillsides I kept setting it off and it was driving me nuts.  Turns out I'd bumped some settings by accident and that had made the situation worse but I didn't realize on the day so I went all day with it nutting off on every step I took as it was detecting pocket zippers I guess on my shorts.

I learnt quite a bit from JW on the day, he was telling me various things as we moved around the area and where gold is likely to settle due to this and that.  Then he tells me to detect a spot as it's a good likely location, a little water drain from their workings I guess it was, I walked up it as we arrived at about the middle of it, and as he said in his account of the day that was the last of me, I got nothing going up so I went off to the side and started detecting elsewhere, John went down once I'd wandered off, and bang, virtually instantly a bit of gold!!!  I walked the wrong way in this little 30 meter or so stretch of ground 🙂

It was good to see John using a GPX 4500 and getting gold, was giving me confidence as sometimes I'm wondering if he just got that bit as it was in the Zed zone, and the 4500 would have missed it..   He was doing quite well with it, especially for someone that hasn't used it in years.  Like riding a bike I guess... 🙂

I think it's the first time I've been to this area and had a skunk, it's the place I've done the most regular gold finds at, last time I think I got 4 bits here, one of which was reasonably sized for our NZ gold.  I think my skunk was possibly caused by fatigue, a combination of being physically and mentally tired, physically from the day/heat and mentally from my GPX nutting off all the time on my belt/zippers.  It just wasn't my day, but day two was my day, stay tuned! 🙂

Below are the photos I took of the day.

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The first day of our detecting mission we actually went for a spin on John's Jet boat around the lake and up the river, it was a great thing to do while we are in this heatwave, it's a brilliant little boat and can go through very shallow water, it just skims across the top of the rocks.  Afterwards we headed out for a bit of a detect but shortly after arriving it rained so we had to bail, that rain went all night and we were happy about it as long as it cleared by morning as we've both found detecting in damp ground gives us a bit of extra depth or just makes the gold stand out more in our soils.  The next day of detecting was the stories above. 

Then I went home for a day, exhausted, I could barely walk when I got out of the car at home, my legs were so stiff, I was walking like a cowboy.

JW had a day off work for a rest and I spent the day doing very little except I had to drive up JW's way again to do an inspection on my rental house up there then I jumped on the forum after dinner to see a message from JW asking if I was ready to go again! He'd clearly recovered quicker than I did but I can never miss an opportunity to go for a detect so I slapped all my gear on charge and went to bed 🙂

The next morning I arrived at JW's house my usual time, he was all charged up and ready to go.   The drive to JW's house is one hour mostly around the edge of the lake, you can time it pretty well, worst case scenario you'll be either 5 minutes early or 5 minutes late, depends how many tourists are driving slow around the lake in their Camper vans as they're difficult to pass on such a winding road, it's named the Devil's Staircase for a reason and the tourists tend to drive slow around it as they're busy looking at the scenery.

On this instance I arrived early by a few minutes and off we went, John decided we'd try somewhere new, He had been there before once a long time ago and found a bit of gold so it was worth a shot.

I started out using my GM1000 in this new spot, but for the first time in my life I wasn't able to get a good ground balance on it.  This area is rather abnormal for NZ and is a small salt deposit area with dense salt ground.  The GM in Auto was able to balance but you moved a few steps and had to balance it again, I switched it over to Manual and tried going through the manual sensitivity settings until I finally got down to Manual 3 where it was a stable machine.  At this point I figured it was pointless, this ground is no good for the Monster so I went and got my 4500, It ran fine, didn't even need to bother ground balancing it for it to work.

So we were both on the 4500's again, I believe John's is a Woody modded one and he ran his 14x9 Advantage coil.  I was on my 4500 with my 14x9 Evo coil, I ran my gain down at 8 as it helps with it detecting my belt buckle and my SP01 on my belt.  I'm yet to work out a solution to the EVO detecting metal on my body, especially on hillside detecting as the angle of the coil makes it face into my body and detect any metal on it.  At 8 gain it seems fine only detecting larger items like my pick if its within a meter or so of the coil, but when I crank it up it causes me no end of grief.  On flat ground it would be fantastic to have such sensitivity but it's a pain on hillsides.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around the area detecting which was the usual hillside detecting weaving through the wild thyme bushes and I'd had no success, I didn't know how JW was doing as he was out of communications distance but I was hearing his detector screaming out quite frequently and plenty of digging going on so I figured he'd probably found a couple of bits. 

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As always in our gold areas there was the powerlines nearby, my GPX was behaving though so they didn't bother me too much.  I was spending my time digging pellets, really old rusty brown looking ones from the salt. I got around 20 of the things and I was ignoring the big booming signals after digging 10 or so of them and every single one of them being a 22 shell.  I got a few little shards of metal also.

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The thyme didn't care about the salty ground.

When we had a drink break and discussed heading out for lunch John showed me what he'd got, all trash, mostly 22 shells but no pellets at all.  I was shocked as I spent my entire time digging the things.  It just seems the 14x9 Evo is so much more sensitive than the 14x9 Advantage to small stuff, I even have my gain right down at 8, I forgot to ask what John had his gain set to.  He then changed over to the little Nugget Finder Sadie coil, it's a cool looking little thing and increased his sensitivity as he finally got a lone pellet in the next hour or so of detecting, and I got another 10 or so of them and often at a bit of depth so I'm thinking the Evo is more sensitive than the Sadie too as they were quite big obvious signals with the Evo, certainly not little faint things.  I don't know if it was the EVO, the Steelphase SP01 or a combination of both but the pellets were loud easy to hear signals, John probably heard them from 100 meters away 🙂

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JW swinging his 4500!

I decided at this point I should start to dig some of the louder signals, maybe not the absolute clunking screamers but the loud signals that are like a buried 22 shell sound so I walked along some tyre tracks heading to my next spot detecting along the way and I got a screamer but seeing it was my first one and I was now going to dig them I dug it and what do you know, in my dig hole was a bit of gold, just sitting there, very clear to see, I didn't need to try find it.

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It's my biggest bit of gold in some time, possibly the biggest I've ever got.

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0.62 of a gram! pretty big for NZ gold.  I was a bit shaky when I found it and quickly took off up to JW to show him.  

After finding it I decided I'd make sure there isn't anything else around by using my dumbed down GM on Manual 3 so I could use its discrimination to try narrow down things worth digging.  I marked out the ones that were non-ferrous and dug them all, all junk unfortunately.

We were pretty hungry at this point so off to KFC for lunch, fortunately KFC is only about a 10 minute drive if that from our spot.  After lunch we went to an old haunt we've been to a few times and usually JW gets a couple of bits here, I sometimes get some and we used the Ebikes as it's a big uphill slog to get to the areas with the workings.  Time went fast here, we spent about 4 or 5 hours detecting but neither of us got any gold.  The ride back down takes a few minutes and is pretty fun, you're thankful you're not walking it when you're tired 🙂

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My trusty 'ol Davsgold Pick.

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The grass growth was insane, it's normally a dry baron place this time of year but we've had a wetter than usual summer.

Off to McDonalds for dinner, we'd walked over 8km's swinging detectors according to my watch so we'd deserved some junk food 🙂

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This post is in response to Simon's first post on this thread. Not the 2nd. :smile:

Hey Simon. Glad you took those pics & put them up. I am getting slack at the finer detail pics showing the workings etc. Those photos will give the readers a perspective of the nature of the terrain we are up against & on that scorcher of a day making it even more difficult. I lost count of how many liters of water I swallowed & threw all over me. I too hate the heat.

The majority of those pics Simon has shown were taken from the area of the high up workings that are up on the top of a spur & where the water drainage outlet from the workings spilled out steeply back into a little creek beloooooowwwww.....That is shown in his second pic. You got the workings & from the center of the pic & going off on an angle to the bottom left is the drainage ditch. You will see the gravels in the banks of the ditch & it was there I told Simon to have a swing, and where I ended up getting my last small bit of gold down to the left out of the picture in some bedrock.

To the obstute observer you will notice in most of Simon's pics the horizontal "lines" of water races either coming out from gullies or terminating at what is now the chewed out sluiced workings. In his first pic I actually sat there for a while, while Simon was detecting away, observing that very panorama. Not so much for the view, which is stunning as is the whole area, but I was looking at those two immediate water races. The top one looks like it cuts thru those two schist outcrops as it winds its way around that spur. There was no way it couldn't, but I didn't believe it. Nothing short of walking over there to really find out. But I was never going to do that on this day. You will also notice behind that spur the chewed out sluicings & the spurs behind that one & the water races. Crazy. They are all at about the same height as the workings in Simonds second pic. All river worn rocks & cobbles. So obviously an ancient river bed from eons ago. You just scratch your head as to how & why. I still do, scratch my head, & I fully understand faulting & folding & land upheaval. It is just on such a massive scale. I guess that's what you get when your country is on a tectonic plate.

What also gets me is how did the old timers even know to "look" up here for gold. You can imagine the first rush day miners turning over the creek & gully floor. That goes without saying, but to look way up here????? I did notice the odd lone prospect hole. So obviously there had been a bit of blind stabbing going on until they hit what they were after. You have to admire their grit & determination & labour. Not to forget that this is mostly under snow in winter.

I am starting to prattle so I will bugger off. Thanks Simon for your account & the pics.

Good luck out there

JW :smile:   

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38 minutes ago, phrunt said:

 I was ignoring the big booming signals after digging 10 or so of them and every single one of them being a 22 shell.   John showed me what he'd got, all trash, mostly 22 shells but no pellets at all. I even have my gain right down at 8, I forgot to ask what John had his gain set to.

"I was on 13". 

I don't know if it was the EVO, the Steelphase SP01 or a combination of both but the pellets were loud easy to hear signals, John probably heard them from 100 meters away .

"I am sure I would have heard them back in Queenstown. There is no mistaking which direction Simon is. :laugh:"

I decided at this point I should start to dig some of the louder signals, maybe not the absolute clunking screamers but the loud signals that are like a buried 22 shell sound so I walked along some tyre tracks heading to my next spot detecting along the way and I got a screamer but seeing it was my first one and I was now going to dig them I dug it and what do you know, in my dig hole was a bit of gold, just sitting there, very clear to see, I didn't need to try find it.

"Very important lesson learnt right there. I know you have heard it many times before but now you have first hand experienced it. DIG ALL SIGNALS. I know it can be a pain & why I had a pocket full of .22 shell casings & there lead bullet heads. But now you will be thinking how many of those ignored signals you walked away from were gold?"

It's my biggest bit of gold in some time, possibly the biggest I've ever got.

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0.62 of a gram! pretty big for NZ gold. After finding it I decided I'd make sure there isn't anything else around by using my dumbed down GM on Manual 3 so I could use its discrimination to try narrow down things worth digging.  I marked out the ones that were non-ferrous and dug them all, all junk unfortunately.

"Yes....but at least by digging them you NO none were gold. You won't die wondering."

 

 

 

 

I am glad you got a piece of gold. It has been a while. Again...I thought we would have done better there. I got nothing, gold that is. So, Simon got one up on me.👍  What I didn't tell him, after we had stopped for a drink & I changed over to the sadie coil was that that spot where he found his gold was exactly where I was going to go to next with the sadie coil. By the time I had fitted the coil he was on the spot. It was one of the very few bedrock areas & why I put on the sadie. I didn't need the depth but wanted the sensitivity & smaller coil for negotiating the thyme bushes. He beat me to it. I got skunked for the day. 1 nil to Simon. 😜

Good luck out there

JW :smile: 

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It's a rare day I beat JW in gold tally, well it's a first! I've been ahead before but never for long.  I've beaten him in numbers once on my first ever gold detecting adventure but he flogged me in weight 🙂

It's not really a competition but a bit of fun, I do like when he finds gold, he deserves it with the hard yards he does... it proves they're out there waiting to be found, great motivation.  If we were both always getting skunked it wouldn't be too motivating but seeing JW rarely doesn't find a few it keeps me going!  His gold collection is a sight to see, incredible.

This latest trip is the first time I've really gelled with my 4500, we were in sync.  It behaved nicely and did what I wanted it to do.  I like my new SP01 audio enhancer, I fiddled with all 3 modes on it and settled for mode 2 using my dual stereo speaker setup.  I tested over shotgun pellets before digging them which mode made them stand out the most and mode 2 seemed best to me for my settings.  It has nice clear audio, much better than not running a booster using the standard GPX amplifier.

I've had a few settings issues in the past with my 4500 it seems, not intentional, bumping of switches and not checking they're in the right place before starting, I'm not overly a big fan of the switches... My dream machine would be a Zed style detector with VLF multi frequency discrimination and the weight of a VLF, maybe styled like the T2, and of course water proof, maybe one day hey Minelab. I am hoping the guru's are Minelab may read that one day and a light bulb go off in their head and they get to work on it 🙂 

I had a great time and nothing beats going home with a rattle in your jar. I just wonder if it was because of my new lucky hat.

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Thanks for sharing the story. Beats most of the reports I read over forums and F/B -  Generally its just a photo of a few bits of gold.

Congrats on the gold and great photos. Love the country over there. Must visit one day (especially since my Mum has been living on the north island for about 15 years lol).

 

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That` is the WTG Phrunt for a bit there I was thinking of branding you NZs Billabong Bill, tis the way of gold on a high when you score, a bit of a bummer when you don`t. On Ya...…….. 

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      Well we caught the flight and I found that economy seats are, well economical.  I had a middle seat for a 15 hr flight.  My row mates were tolerable, but the aisle seat went to sleep and I hated to be an ugly American and wake him up just to stretch my legs.  At about the 10 hr mark, I couldn't resist and woke him up.  He was pleasant enough about the whole thing.  Curiously, the young lady next me boarded very last and arrived in sweaty dither.  She later told me that the Departure board showed only one Sydney flight, the same one I encountered the day before, and that she discovered the mistake in time to sprint through the terminal and security was very kind to move her to the head of the line, just in time to make final boarding.  She was much younger, fitter and prettier than me, so she pulled it off in time.  
      We arrived Sydney and went to claim our baggage to clear customs for our continuation flight to Perth.  Surprise, no baggage.  We went to the claims desk to make all the necessary notifications and almost missed our connection to Perth sans baggage.  
      To make a long story tolerable, we're in Perth with 3 of 4 bags.  3 arrived at the hotel last night, the 4th won't arrived until after we make our flight to Meekatharra.  Qantas assures us the 4th bag will get couriered out to us verily.  Naturally, that bag has Dennis's detector in it.  I guess he can dig targets for me and Paul in the meantime.
      So, the journey begins...  Stay tuned for our misadventures in the Summer of OZ.
      I'm typing at 5:00 am local, suffering from jet lag.  Hopefully Steve will edit as necessary.  
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