Finally got everything cleaned up from this week's amazing hunt. Ended up putting in a little over 10 hours in three separate hunts. Unfortunately after the first 6 hour hunt that netted the most, by the time I could get there the following day they had already spread a layer of base coat over the vast majority of the lot. But I was able to pull a few more keepers out of the area that they had not covered up to that point. I may go back in a day or so and chase every iffy deep signal to see if there's anything left in that small area. Turned out to be one of my best hunts ever. I was able to double my silver count for the year which brought me to 38 silver coins year-to-date.
Well......what a day, I started off this morning at 5 am to head off to a Civil war site. I found the usual relics, lead, percussion caps, but, got tired of not digging and high conductive targets. The first picture is from the Civil war site. I decided to call it a day around noon and headed home to get some things done around the house. As I drove thru town I saw a front end loader and a pile of asphalt at the old zoo. I quickly did a u-turn and drove back to see what was happening, what a beautiful site, 75% of the parking lot had been striped of the asphalt. I was informed that the parking lot was paved back in 1984 and had been a dirt parking lot going back to when the guy was a kid and he assumed before that. The timing was perfect, just as I was ready to begin hunting the guys called it a day, gotta love city workers I started my hunt around 2:00 and hunted until 8:00 pm.
I began finding coins within seconds of turning my machine on and hunted until I ran out of light and gas. They didn't cut all the asphalt out completely, so, I had to use my prospectors pick to chisel thru a layer of asphalt and gravel. And of course halfway thru the hunt, my pick decided to crap out on me, so I had to skip all but solid hits until I could get my pick repaired. I'll go back tomorrow after work and chase all the stuff I left behind today and there was a bunch of it 🙂
I'm a firm believer in the depth ability of Nox after today, I have never dug great sounding targets at theses depths until today. I was getting CTX like depths with positive ID's and strong repeatable tones and only running sensitivity at 18. Most of the silver and copper was 6-10" deep and I had no doubt I was digging either copper or silver coins. The 2 nickles hit at 25-27 VDI , which was a good thing, otherwise I wouldn't have gone after them. The only thing I can attribute the depth to today was the fact I was running my recovery speed at 4 instead of 6 like I normally do. My settings were as follows:
Ground balance 0
Iron bias 0
Recovery speed 4
Tone break -9 to +16, just because of the urgency of the hunt and the digging conditions, I'll drop it down to -9 to + 10 tomorrow
I found a nice variety of coins and some I have not identified yet due to the crust on most of them. I ended up with:
2-Silver war nickles
1-WW2 Eagle coat button
I'm not sure how many Wheats, or what all was dug yet, cleaning in process. I'll post a pic after I get everything as clean as possible. It was by far my best silver day so far, I'm sure there is as many left as I took out still waiting to be rescued! Thanks for looking.
I stumbled out of bed yesterday to our first big frost of the year, it was -3.9 outside, 24°F in the old money
It was a nice still clear day and a perfect day to get out there doing something, fortunately there was a message from KiwiJW in my inbox on the forum asking if I'd like to go for a gold hunt, well I don't need to tell you my answer to that. I was quickly ensuring all my gear was charged and ready to go. The drive to JW's house can be a bit hit and miss depending on the time of the day. A majority of the cars on the road are tourists in their hire cars and they're usually all going the same directions to the same places and in the morning's they all usually heading to Milford Sound.
Here is a video for those who don't know showing what Milford Sound is https://youtu.be/iiBOi_8yVlQ
There is always some tourists heading the opposite direction however, which can make my journey take far longer when I get stuck behind them on a road with many blind corners and few passing opportunities. This one green hire van had me stuck behind it doing almost half the speed limit for about 10 minutes as the Ute refused to pass, so I had to take them both. The tourists tend to drive much slower as they're looking around enjoying the scenery. The snow is forming on the hills too, a sure sign winter is on it's way.
Arriving at JW's we were quick to head out on our mission, we decided to go for a bush walk and view some local gold mining history too, it was the perfect day for it and I do enjoy learning about all the history in the area. We walked a hiking track that had a lot of Gold history. We stumbled across these bars out of an old timers sluice
And found an old gold miners hut still in very good condition, JW was thinking of moving in by the looks of it 🙂
A nice fireplace to get him through the winter, and all the creature comforts of home 🙂
He forgot to take his equipment inside so it rusted away.
The old timers went to extraordinary lengths to move water and gravel around, here is a tunnel they built, with JW entering it
That's JW up there exiting the tunnel. All through solid rock, incredible.
They did some serious work to the landscape too, It's hard to believe how much soil they washed out, I guess with water monitors.
Now we both had the itch to find some gold we left our bush walk location and went to near the creek location I found my last tiny Equinox gold
Now it's down to the business end of the story. JW pointed me to a bit of bedrock and said that will suit the Equinox, It looked nice and so did the path down to it, I always think back to JW's path that just keeps on giving at another location, every time we go there he finds gold in the path, I never have, well this path turned into my path that keeps on giving.
The little track down to the bedrock. It wasn't even 2 minutes after we started detecting and I had my first hit, bouncing between 3 and 4 on the VDI's.
And about 2 inches down in the gravelly soil was this little guy
Skunk broken straight away, a nice .1 of a gram. It's sitting next to the EQX06 logo on the coil.
A couple of minutes later right near it in the path another hit again between 3 and 4 on the VDI's
Things were looking good for my path so I decided to go back to the top of it and try again in case I missed something, and right at the top another 1, 2 on the VDI numbers but this time it was solid rock with lots of quartz through it, I didn't know what to do so asked JW, he said smash it out break it up so I did just that.
The bit of rock in the scoop is still giving 1, 2 on the VDI's. JW helped me smash it up further narrowing the bit down with the signal, we got it this small in the end, still a 1, 2 on the VDI's
I'll have to smash it up more I guess and find out what surprise is inside! I can't see any gold yet.
Now time to head further down the path to the bedrock JW pointed out for me
It was on quite a cliff edge, you'll just see the creek far down below in the top of this photo
Another 10 or so minutes and I had another hit, this was getting crazy
This one was coming up as the standard 1, 2 on the VDI's.
I was having a ball at this stage and finally knew what it felt like to be JW, pulling nuggets up all over the place with his GPZ 7000 🙂
Not even 10 steps later another hit! Unbelievable!!
This one was in a crevice and a bit harder to get to, coming up in the negative VDI numbers, sitting around -6 to -3 but I knew from my tiny gold experience the other day it's likely to be gold and not junk in this location on those VDI numbers.
I scraped all the soil out trying to get to the target and finally found it, it was a lot harder to track down so I knew it was tiny.
If you look hard you'll see the spec in the scoop.
And next to the EQX06 on the coil.
My smallest detected bit so far I believe, 0.010 of a gram, smaller than last weekends 0.011 of a gram. The same settings as last weekend, horseshoe mode all metal, sensitivity 25, iron bias 0, gold 1 and manual ground balance. I would never not use horse shoe all metal mode when tiny gold hunting, you'll miss all the little gold as it often goes in the negative VDI's and you'll just get a blanked out target.
Now I was getting to the end of my cliff drop off point, and the end of my little spot
It's a very long drop from up here down to the creek below, kinda scary for me being here but I make my way to the edge anyway, wobbly knees and all.
Looooonnnggggg way down. Last attempt at my spot was to detect the mosses on the edge of the cliff, hoping some gold had been washed into them and soon after another hit at 1, 2 on the VDI's
And that was it for the day, John sacrificed this good spot by pointing me in it's direction while he went off detecting elsewhere. Thanks John.
On the way out we walked past a nice waterfall
Another enjoyable day with 0.269 of a gram in my bottle 🙂
The small 6" coil for the Equinox is great but surprisingly the 11" is quite capable of finding all of the tiny gold I found on this day. It's just not as maneuverable in among the rocks and crevices as the little 6" but it's still incredibly sensitive to small gold. The 11" is good if you're needing to cover a lot of ground quickly, it does a good job of it without losing much at all in sensitivity. Even the 12x15" coil is still pretty sensitive to tiny gold, it will lose the 0.010 gram piece but will get the slightly bigger ones well.
The Equinox is a brilliant detector, just has happy finding this tiny gold as it is coins and jewellery in the parks and beaches, very versatile.
This year is starting off pretty good for me. Nine v- nickels, only one buffalo. 25 Indians, one 1866 2 cent piece. That war nickel is the high number one(I'm proud of it.. lol) I'm feeling pretty good about the silver. Three rings and quite a few coins. Still hunting pk1 iron bias 3 recovery 7 and 5 tones. My user profile is set up for trashy areas the same way in pk1 but it's got stuff notched out and depending on the location it may get tweaked (more notched out) lol.
KiwiJW and I had a busy weekend, he'd just flown to Christchurch (The South Islands biggest city) to pick up his new Toyota Landcruiser or as I call it the monster truck and he had to drive it back down to Queenstown to pick up his caravan to tow it up to Christchurch to swap it over for his new Caravan. I went on the journey up to swap it over, it's about a 6 hour drive each way through some stunning countryside and a very nice drive. We were going to spend the night up there but decided it's best to take the drive up and back in one day so then we had the next day free for some gold detecting! Great idea! John now has two big new toys to enjoy, the Monster truck tows a caravan like it's not even there 🙂
The spot we decided to detect is a place John had taken me on my first ever successful day detecting for Gold, I had tried to go back there a couple of times and got lost trying to find it. I was sure there was more gold there but it's in a difficult to find place in wild bush. My last attempt at finding the place I only just got out of the bush before dark and I had no light with me, I almost had to stay the night.
John found the spot with ease and off we went detecting.
He was using his Gold Monster 1000 and I used the Equinox 800 with 6" coil. There is a lesson in this post for Equinox users on finding tiny gold.
The thing I like about this location is being as remote as it is there is no junk except that left behind by the old gold miners, and that junk doesn't bother me at all. Shotgun pellets are my enemy and fortunately these aren't a problem in this spot.
If you get a good target in this spot, it's more than likely going to be gold, although my first target was mostly reading VDI 1, 2 on the Nox but jumping regularly down to -7, -8 then back up to 1, 2, a bit of an all over the place reading. It was down in a crack in the bedrock and I spent about half an hour smashing away at the bedrock to get it out, I wasn't sure what to do so asked JW who said just keep smashing away and he came over to help, we eventually got it out, much faster with JW's help and it turned out to be a tiny little bit of metal, possibly lead or zinc or something, but tiny. How it got so far down in the bedrock I don't know. This was my only junk find of the day.
Next up was another target, this one was constantly in the -5 , -6 range but I knew this spot had small gold and I also knew there was virtually no junk here, the only targets in this location I ignore is ones that go a solid -8, -9 on the VDI's which is what the hot rocks in the area do, rocks bigger than a car or even a house can show a -8, -9 over the entire rock surface in this area, anything else could possibly and likely is gold.
This little scraped out area to the left of my coil is where this target was located, in this photo I'd done a scrape to get to the bedrock to improve the signal before recovering the target. You'll see we are high up on a creek side, probably about 50 meters (164 feet) above the creek. Gold can be in the most unlikely places. That edge there has a big drop down to the creek and it's just rock with a thin later of soil and some grass growth of it. Now that I'd done my scrape with about 5cm of soil the target ID had improved drastically from the -5, -6 it was getting to a very repeatable 1, 2, I knew this was unlikely to be a shot gun pellet here so I was confident I had my first bit of gold. I scraped the leftover soil into my scoop and narrowed it down and here is the little sucker.
You'll see the little spec in the middle of the scoop.
and here it is next to the EQX06 on the coil.
All 0.011 grams of it.
John was digging away with his GM1000 beeping like mad and he was digging for quite a while in one spot so I knew he was on the gold. I figured I'd go explore further away and leave this area for him and passed a number of old rock piles and an old shovel head.
The new location paid off and I quickly got another signal bouncing between -6 and -3 and knew it was going to be gold again
If you look closely once I'd cleared the leaf litter away there was a crack in the bedrock, still detecting as -5 or so but I knew it was gold
It's almost identical to the last piece and the same weight
I next walked up to the cliff edge again where it drops off to the creek and started detecting the rock along the drop off, It wasn't even 10 minutes and I had another hit, again in the -6 to -3 range never once flicking into the positive numbers but my confidence was high it was also gold until there appeared to be two targets. It was in a crevice in the rock again but seeing there seemed to be two targets right near each other I was worried it was a hot rock spot.
I cleared away the leaf litter and recovered the targets from the crevice, still never once reporting positive Target ID numbers
Out popped this nugget, my biggest so far. Next to the EQX06 again as usual
And now to recover the second target. Still stuck in the negative numbers on VDI due to the crevice not letting me get the coil close enough to get accurate ID's
Another little tiddler 🙂
The consistent thing happening was all nuggets were coming up in the negative VDI numbers until I was able to get the coil very close to them, you can't rely on positive numbers like the usual 1 and 2 VDI's on this tiny gold. Anything -7 or higher can be small gold. I experimented and checked out -8 and -9 targets but they always ended up just being rock, even small portions of a large rock were coming up as hot rock at -8 and -9 but the -7 and up numbers were consistently gold.
For those wondering my settings were Gold 1, sensitivity 25 (max), Horse shoe pressed for all metal mode, I had manually ground balanced although in this location there was extremely mild soils. The other thing I had changed was the iron bias, I'd set that at 0.
Detecting around more I got another hit, this one was on more flat ground and was coming up the usual 1 and 2 on the VDIs
Another little tiddler. I was confident now I had learnt the secret to the Nox and small gold. Never ignore those negative numbers. I was lucky in this location there was next to no junk so it made this lesson easy, in other locations this method could lead to digging tonnes of junk.
I went back to John's area to show him my finds and he was still at this same spot digging away in the same hole he was in when I left. We were both sitting on 5 nuggets each although his were bigger! It's extremely rare for me to have as many nuggets as John with his mighty GPZ, near impossible so I had a chance to beat him this time I just had to find one more!!! I was going to walk back to my spot and keep trying in that area but I walked past a nice crevice, I checked it and nothing, no signal at all but I knew the Nox coil can't get down in crevices well which later I learnt isn't exactly correct, it's coil edges just aren't sensitive all the way around like a concentric coil so I started clearing out the crevice, I got a large part of the dirt and leaf litter out of it and checked it again and I had a hit, another -4 to 1 signal bouncing around a lot. Here's my winner! I knew I had gold. John hollered out what's all that noise, I said I'm onto something
I had cleaned out the crevice pretty good and had a signal in there somewhere but It had me stumped, it wasn't in the crevice, it was in the rock itself in the crevice next to it which seemed to come to an end. I smashed away at the rock and a big chunk broke off and inside it was some really fine plant roots from the little bit of grass that you'll see in the broken off bit of rock below..
The coil is sitting in the first cleaned out crevice, the gold wasn't in this one, it was in the one below, that big bit of rock with grass on it was the one I broke out. The grass roots were where the bit of gold was to be found. This piece of gold was deep, at least 3 inches, I am shocked I was able to detect it, I thought it was going to be pretty big as it was one of my best signals of the day and it was deeper than anything else I'd detected, but no, it was tiny.
The embarrassing thing about this recovery is I sat the piece on my coil in my usual spot next to the EQX06 branding and stood up to get my phone out of my pocket to take the photo and knocked the detector over, the gold went flying. John heard me say something, I don't recall what I said but I sure was angry! It took me a good 15 minutes or more to recover the bit again, I was thinking it had fallen down in the crevice deeper than it was before and with the Nox coil not being overly sensitive around the edges I was struggling to find it, I had no target signal at all anywhere, I wasn't even sure it dropped in the crevice. I now see why people talk favorably about concentric coils with their sensitive edges. John pointed out I should have tried to use the tip of the coil rather than the sides, that's it's sensitive spot so I wasted a lot of time as it didn't cross my mind to try the tip/tail of the coil and used the sides, silly mistake on my part, the tip of the Equinox coil is indeed very sensitive. I just gradually cleaned all the soil out of the crevice with my fingers and scoop and eventually found the nugget.
And my total for the day
I also found a tiny spec in my gold jar, it must have broken off one of the "bigger" ones so if I was desperate and JW got 6 also I'd have a secret number 7 to win the day The Equinox can easily find Gold you would only ever expect to find with a gold pan.
The little spec is on the scales, too small to give a reading, but I'm 100% certain it's gold and it was a new jar, I'd never used it before. The Equinox is an absolutely crazy sensitive machine to small gold, It's hard to believe how well it can do on the tiny stuff. I'm sure Multi IQ is the secret.
Next we were off to KFC for dinner and back to JW's for a nap ready for another day prospecting
We did a lot of exploring new places on this day, had a look around gold areas I'd never been to before and John was giving me a good history lesson of local gold mining. John took me to this old this trommel he knew about so I could see one on our exploring, we weren't detecting here, just having a look around at the old mining history of the area.
We were thinking of using this to start up our own Kiwi Gold Rush show, John named the trommel Mini Me, and if you look closely you'll see our shiny new digger in the background.
Jw next to "mini me"
We went to a new location I'd never been to before later in the day detecting, I ended up with a skunk using the Equinox at this spot getting just an insane number of shotgun pellets and 22 shells as the gold just seemed to be too deep for a VLF. JW showed me how it's done with his GPZ, doing extremely well with it of course but that's his story. All I will say is the GPZ is an amazing machine, in fact it's insane how well it works and the tiny gold it can find at massive depth is just mental, I continue to be amazed how good the GPZ 7000 is, one day I will swing one.... one day.... as long as it doesn't lead to a divorce 🙂