Day 29: Extracting
Slept about 9 hours
- and still felt shattered. Sore throat, headache and achy back. I don't
feel miserable, just dreamy and off in 'Kathy Land'. Not 'with it' at
all, almost hypnotically attracted to horizontal surfaces, to curl up
I knew I had to get a lot done. Tested out the sluice box. I fitted the
pipe with holes in and watched, in satisfaction, water gushing down evenly.
Kate scooped the first sand onto the tray and it seemed to go down nicely.
Then I played around with it - changing water flow and angles until the
flow seemed stable.
We then began the
slow process of pouring on the sand. Too much sand in one go and the layer
of 'sludge' gets too thick and the gold just tumbles down across the top
of the sludge without getting the chance to get trapped in the fibres
of the fleece. So it was a very slow process. And it's such an act of
It poured with rain
all day. Jonathan and Ellen were meant to find treasure after being dropped
off by helicopter but no chance. Cloud cover was too low and there were
thunder storms. They had to find it in a river valley instead. I managed
to stick to my plan (with help from Kate and others) and got it all working
in the first two hours. We got all the sand down before lunch.
After lunch, we cut
up the material and washed down the box. It was very exciting! The fleece
directly under the splash pan was sparkling in gold! We washed out as
much as possible then dried off the fleece and corduroy in preparation
for burning. I began panning what we washed out. It's so hard! The gold
flecks are so tiny and the black sand is so heavy. Kate and I were losing
gold in the sand. It just takes forever and you feel like you're losing
then the joy of seeing a speckled patch of gold at the bottom is quite
I got other people to burn the corduroy and fleece. I really should have
thought about the burning for more than just a millisecond. Up 'til now
we've been burning wood and sacking. Fleece is a plastic: it melted and
stuck into a gooey mess. Even the corduroy, which I thought was probably
cotton, must have contained some other polymer. It melted too. It all
melted - and trapped the gold. I'm just mad not to have thought about
this. I'm just so used to "let's burn it all to get out the gold".
So, I got quite a
lot of gold but not as much as I might have got. The Mikes got an amazing
chunk from the potato. Quite mad! A brilliant technique. And Jonathan
and Ellen's wicked treasure was - a gorgeous, huge chunk of gold. Hurrah!
Now we just have to work out what to do with it!