Day 8: Accurate
I am a team player.
I'm sure that I'm a team player, but at home it's more
often than not team leader. Here, I am beginning to feel a little distant
from the team in which I am essentially a pawn. Let's face it, as
I've said before, what is the use of a virologist here on the NZ
West Coast doing the ‘Rough Science' thing. With the evening
filming it's been difficult chilling out, or even writing my diary.
No chance of writing home, phoning, e-mailing, or writing the book that
I am so passionate about. If it weren't so beautiful here, and the
local people so friendly, I would be feeling homesick. Rough Science is
a great project and a dream job, but it's not always as much fun
as people might think. It's genuinely hard work - a bit like a university
field trip but much longer and much more intense.
down to the river. The scales are definitely an aborted challenge because
the guys really do need help. Yesterday the weather changed for the worse,
and today it is terrible. It's going to be a cold, wet day - very
wet. At least the rain keeps the sand flies down but it doesn't
help filming much. The cameras and sound gear are all suffering and have
to go back to the sawmill to receive the ‘hairdryer treatment'.
In the meantime, after making a second sluice and doing some prospecting
I wander down to a barbeque area at a nearby gold mine and read some information
boards on gold. I would make out that I knew these facts but I would be
lying. Others might, so check out their diaries to see. Even though they
aren't my facts they do bear repeating. For example, did you know
that one ounce of gold is enough to extrude 80 metres of wire? Or that
if flattened one ounce of gold could be made into a sheet that would cover
two table tennis tables? Cool!
Steve (our boss) arrives
at the barbeque area and meets one of the staff, who extends a hand in
friendship. “Sorry I had better not” he replied, “I've
been doing stuff with dead sheep”. Nice quote Steve!
Back to the riverbank.
I wouldn't ever want to be a gold miner but it is genuinely quite
a draw. I can see how it could become an obsession, the feeling when you
see a flake of gold in the bottom of the sluice is magic.
what seems like an age we make our way back to the sawmill. There is still
lots of work to do. We had squeezed an enormous amount of work into two
and a half days and now have to harvest the fruits of our labour. First
the punga that had been used to trap the gold has to be dried and burnt
to release the gold. Then the gold flakes and dust need to be cleaned
up so that we can try the scales that Kathy has made. The scales work
fine - a tribute to Kathy's attention to detail, and we find that
we have about half a gram. Not much to show for all the work, but it looked
lovely - our own gold.