Day 27: Extracting
A really nice, mellow
day - apart from sand flies and diesel. Our challenges this time: Jonathan
and Ellen - lucky things - are finding 'treasure' from a map. What a nice
idea! Mike and
Mike are trying to extract gold from the hunks of rock they found on the
mountain. Mike B is 'making' (extracting) mercury from a beautiful pink
rock (cinebar) to help. Rather him than me! Don't fancy working with mercury!
working alone - trying to get gold from black sand. Began by going to
Gallespie Beach to seek black sand. It's a beautiful black beach littered
with crazy, twisted hunks of tree - gnawed by the sea and spat out onto
the beach. From the beach, looking inland, there is an amazing range of
textures. Beyond are smooth pebbles and then there's a layer of those
crazy twisted gnarled tree trunks. And further beyond, old, majestic trees
with beautiful trunks. And snowy mountains as a backdrop. Just gorgeous
that we get to work here!
But, it was hard to
find the black sand. We''d come here two days ago to check that
it was here and it was so easy to find that time. Great lashings of it
- strewn down the beach. But today - where there was sand - there are
now pebbles. The whole character of the beach has changed! Astonishingly
so! But we did manage to find some black sand eventually.
Filmed what we needed
- while being eaten alive by sand flies. They were monstrous! Relentlessly
finding their way through layers of clothes to bite your most tender flesh.
Amazing how such a beautiful beach can be spoiled by such small creatures!
Back at the saw mill I tried out a few things.
using a magnet to cohert the iron ores from the sands. A few bits of sand
leapt onto the magnet but so few it was pathetic. I then tried another
approach - whipping up the sand in water and diesel. The idea is to get
the gold flakes to stick to air bubbles formed by the diesel. Don't know
yet if it worked but felt so sick from breathing diesel fumes - don't
think I want to use this method! So, I'll probably try make a sluice box
tomorrow designed to catch my gold flakes.
Meanwhile still feeling
sick from the diesel!