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Ellen McCallie's Diary

Day 8: Properties of Gold

I've almost gotten the alarm clock to work. The first night I forgot to set the thing. The second night I set the alarm for 6 pm, not am. Last night I got the time right, but didn't check the volume!

As Jonathan is basically done with his challenge — a radio has metamorphosized into a metal detector — he'll get to help us with the gold. He really wants to pan for gold. He gets this glint in his eye and smile on his face whenever he talks about it. I hope he strikes us rich.

Photo: Kathy and Ellen near the sluiceMike, Mike and I are moving along. Martin, the director, used to pan for gold during University. (Should I mention he never found any?) Derek and John, camera and soundman respectively, are as knowledgeable as ever. Heck, we should just film them! They have a tendency to solve our challenges before we even get started.

Evening, same day
It rained and rained and rained and rained. Others stopped for coffee breaks. I didn't dare, I didn't want to get cold. As soon as any of us stopped doing rigorous physical labor, we froze. The wet chill got us. Jonathan and I kept warm by tending to the punga fire. We were burning the aerial roots of the tree fern riffles we'd caught gold in — or at least we hope we've caught gold in them. Once the organic matter is burned to ash, we can pan it for the gold that got trapped in it. But the punga aerial roots are very dense and they were very soggy. It took all evening to just burn the first batch. We haven't even separated the gold out yet.

Photo: Ellen soaked by the rainWe filmed the ending sequence. It went pretty quickly, only one take. It was amazing how well it went, but by the time the pick-up shots are done, it was an hour or two later and I was chilled to the bone. We drove home, jumped out, got the sauna going, and eventually got warm.

A good, solid episode full of sloshy, wet rats, running around acting like scientists.

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Photo: Ellen McCallie
Metal Detector Interactive