Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink . . . (I apologize in advance for the length of this post. You super-pros will want to skip the first part of the story as it's written for the rookies.)Last Saturday was an interesting day indeed.The weather certainly was interesting. Mother Nature truly had dealt a mixed hand of cards: one minute the weather was sunny and warm; then it would cloud up and get cranky; the sky would darken like the face of some angry ancient god; heavy clouds, pregnant with the promise of rain would swirl overhead, releasing giant drops of icy water and sticky wet snow; then the wind would fill its lungs and blow a mighty series of gusts to clear the sky yet again. Spring, the season that imitates all other seasons, but imitates them only briefly; spring, the season that is the great imposter and yet the great bringer of hoped for change.As the weather cleared, I broke out my detecting gear. I'd packed the Gold Bug Pro and the Makro Gold Racer for the day; however, before I could head to the spot I'd chosen, I was approached by a young rookie that noticed what I was up to, and he wanted me to show him how to run a metal detector. He'd bought one for himself, but that day he was out without it, and he wondered if I could give him a few tips on what to do to set up a detector and how to go about finding gold.So, I set up the Gold Bug Pro for him, showed him how to ensure the coil wire connection was tight at the box to avoid falsing, how to secure the coil wire above the coil so it wouldn't false either, and how to ensure the connections on the coil rods were snug. Then I spent some time showing him how to ground balance. I spent a while on that subject with him so he understood how to do it properly, how to check to ensure there were no targets under the coil where he wanted to ground balance, some quick tips on EMI, etc. I gave him tips on keeping the coil level on his sweeps to avoid rising on the ends of the sweeps, how to overlap his sweeps for better coverage, how to keep the coil as close to the ground as possible to maximize detecting and target response, how to pinpoint by moving the coil 90 degrees to the original target response, and I also showed him how to do the coil "wiggle" to get the nose of the coil in the sweet zone for target recovery. Furthermore, I showed him how to properly set the threshold and sensitivity, how to adjust for EMI, and I walked him through the all-important aspect of investigating any slight break in the threshold as most of my targets are initially detected in that manner. As well, I instructed him on how to use a scoop, how to sift and sort a target in the scoop properly while using the coil to verify that the target was still in the scoop and how to use the coil to isolate the target by dropping material onto the coil. I also talked to him about the advantages of using a plastic pan for capturing multiple targets for later speed panning. In addition, I gave him my telescoping aluminum rod with the super-magnet on the end, and I went over the advantages of using it first, if he hit on a shallow signal, to quickly check if the target was ferrous or not.I turned him loose on the road and he soon had a signal. So, I went over everything with him again as he started on his target recovery, and he quickly had the target out of the hole. Well, it was a nail, not one from the 1800's, but a modern nail; regardless, he was a quick study, so I let him keep the detector to work the road for a bit, and he soon recovered several shavings of track and bucket steel.Because he was doing things exactly the way I'd instructed him to do, I was impressed (Lots of people I've tried to help learn to detect in the past have either misunderstood or ignored many of the tips I've given them, but not this guy: he was dialed-in and there to learn! It was easy to see his keen desire passion.). I watched him for a bit more, and he was ground balancing properly, using good sweep technique, slowing when he got a response, checking 90 degrees to the original signal, using the scoop properly for target recovery, and he'd really caught on how to use my extendable super-magnet-wand to eliminate shallow, ferrous targets.In fact, he was doing so well, that I invited him to check some bedrock. He soon had several more signals, all ferrous, but he was really doing great. So I said to him, "This section with the hump, the small area completely surrounded by water is virgin. Have at it." So, he went to detecting, and I went to setting up my Gold Racer. He'd call me over every once in a while to check some strange signals he was getting (hot rocks and cold rocks, so I instructed him on their various target ID aspects), and then he'd tear into detecting again. I fired up the Gold Racer and started checking a spot where an old crevice had once bottomed out.The rookie gave a shout and came a running! Now, as I've stated in other posts, "You can't make this stuff up!", he had his hand tightly closed around something, and that something was a nugget that was close to a gram in weight!! Well, I'll tell the world, he was some excited for sure. And, who wouldn't be! Rookie luck? Did he have a natural knack for it? Good questions, but regardless, he'd done it on his first outing ever. Quite remarkable actually, even if you factor in that I'd put him into a target rich environment, still remarkable as I've put others into similar settings in the past, and they've flown right over the nuggets and left disappointed.Do you think he's going to get out and give his detector a good run first chance he gets? Well, wild horses won't be able to stop him I'd say, because he had that dreamy look in his eye as he left, and all of us that chase the gold know what that look does to a person; it keeps the fires lit!I detected that little hump, with water, water everywhere, and got no gold. (I did however wade out into a couple of feet of water just beyond the hump and recover another small nugget.) So, the rookie got the only nugget in residence on that hump, but my day was just beginning.The spot I was working could best be described as small bedrock islands, water, water everywhere (and as it says in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner), Nor any drop to drink! (I certainly would never drink any of that standing water, so that's why I always pack a bunch along in my five-gallon multi-purpose mining bucket.Those plastic buckets are such handy items for toting all manner of prospecting items to a site!)Well, I carefully waded through a couple of feet of icy water and hit a bedrock rise. I slowly started working the bedrock with the Gold Racer. I soon had a soft signal that sounded like small gold. Just to be sure, I worked that spot carefully with the wand, but no ferrous. Then I took my small pick and scraped the surface, and sure enough, there was some clay riding on top. More scraping revealed some little rounded stones, iron-stained sand, and small bits of ironstone. I swept the spot again, and still the same soft, yet sweet tone. I then worked out material from all of the little cracks and crevices, tossed the material into my plastic pan, then swept the spot again. Still a soft tone, but not as loud, so more scraping with the pick and checking with the detector's coil until the area was completely silent.By this time, I had quite a collection of material in the pan. So, I waded into a deeper spot and panned it out. Well, lots of golden goodies in the pan were peeking out of the super-heavies, and as you can tell from the previous pictures, lots of small stuff, but pretty nonetheless. (Please remember that the purpose of the last two outings has been to deliberately target areas that I've either already swept with the Gold Bug Pro or to check virgin areas just to see what the Gold Racer can find.)To make a long story short, I kept at it for several hours while working those little bedrock islands, and I had many similar encounters with soft signals (with some of them broad in nature [some had great concentrations of fine gold!]) that had me doing lots of pick work to worry material from the bedrock until the detector went silent over the areas the Gold Racer had so expertly sniffed out. As I was about ready to pack up, I looked out at the water and noticed a boulder, about the size of a laundry basket, and thought, "What the heck, why not try to wade out to it if the water's not too deep?" So, I did.Well, the water was getting deep fast, and the tops of my boots just held the deluge at bay. Very careful not to swamp my boots, I slid the coil of the Gold Racer around the boulder, and eeep! I had a solid tone, not a quiet signal like all of the others from earlier. Well, immediately the brain thinks ferrous, but the meter said gold. So, I wanded (hit it with my super-magnet wand [making up my own word?]) the area, no ferrous! Tiptoeing around the boulder to keep my feet dry, I started to work the signal underwater. (I've posted about the frustrating nature of trying to capture underwater targets before, and this outing was no exception.) However, after multiple failures, I finally had the target in the scoop along with a whack of clay and broken bedrock.I tiptoed back to shallower water, then hit the bedrock rise where I'd left my pan. I threw the material into the pan, worked the clay and bedrock material until it cooperated, then panned it down. Bam! A sassy nugget was revealed. A 3.5 gram little beauty! A keeper for sure, no catch-and-release with that one.I packed everything up and hiked or waded back to where I'd left my snacks and water. After a refreshing break, and because the sun was beginning to head west behind the mountain peaks, I broke down the Gold Racer and packed it away. I loaded my tools back into one of my buckets but noticed that my wand was missing! What the?!?Well, the last place I'd used it was way back where I'd found the nugget, so I fired up the Bug Pro and headed back across the bedrock wetlands to find my wand. On the way, I kept the Gold Bug Pro lit, and I let it sniff around underwater every time I had to wade. Three small nuggets later, I hit the bedrock rise adjacent to where I'd found the 3.5 gram nugget. There was my wand, right where I'd put it down when I'd panned out the contents from the scoop.Now, I find it curious how on a return trip to the exact same place I've already detected, the brain sharpens the eye's focus somehow and the eye notices details I've missed the first time around. This time was no exception.There was a small ledge, just above the water's edge, that held some iron-stained gravel and dark material. I couldn't remember having seen it on the first visit, but this time a switch had flipped for sure, and the old brain was screaming, "Run a coil over that spot you dummy!"So, I did, and EEEP!! Now, the Bug Pro really yells (unlike the Gold Racer) when it sinks its teeth into a meaty signal, and I'll tell you what, it surely had my attention. I scraped off all of the loose material, no target in the scoop, but I threw it in the pan just in case. I scanned again, and EEEP! Now, here was a bit of an enigma, wrapped in a bit of a mystery to boot. I was staring at solid black bedrock. So, just for the heck of it, I ran the wand over the spot, but no friends.After I'd swept the area again and the meter was pinning close to 60, I carefully went to work with the pick and broke out some material. I grabbed it with my hand to put it in the pan, and the weight was more than the small amount of material should have been. A very black 4.7 gram nugget was resting in my palm.As for the material I'd tossed into my pan, there was good flake gold in it. I swept the edge of the bedrock and was rewarded with some nice soft signals, so I broke more bedrock until it went quiet, and then I panned it out: more pickers and flake gold, a nice catch.Well, darkness was not becoming my friend, especially as I had to wade to get out, so I abandoned my workings and headed back to the truck.What a great day! (For me and the rookie.)
These pictures of the gold are the combined take from the two Saturdays, close to 20 grams all in, with the fine gold excluded from the pan shots. The coins were found on the Fridays of the two weekends, working an old home site while learning how to use the Gold Racer in a target rich environment for testing purposes.
All the best,Lanny