I know there’s a fair few experienced gold miners on the forum that have one or two good gold yarns to tell,so put on your thinking caps and reel us off some good stories about gettin GOLD!
Maybe its about your best day ever!A risky endevour that paid off(or didn’t)or simply a funny yard to share.
So come on all you guys with years of experience share a good yard with us younger guys to get the blood racing in anticipation of the up and coming season! (trev gave us a good one/last post on 'need advice on wetsuits"about his time on the buller) Even if its slightly altered for dramatical effect,I want to hear em!..cheers Mal
I know there’s a fair few experienced gold miners on the forum that have one or two good gold yarns to tell,so put on your thinking caps and reel us off some good stories about gettin GOLD!
I do have to say that Trev’s storey is a good one. Love hearing about others dredging stories.
I have a few good one’s but this one is not about gold.
I picked up a contract to do some prospecting in Northern Canada for a company that had just picked up a huge chunk of land. The claim block was about 300km long by 100km wide. Pretty huge. The plan was to land on each claim and do a quick day trek with a spectrometer and a XRF if we saw any uranium staining on outcrop.
The day before this was all to happen the Helicopter came into camp. I was out there with a chain saw just in case the pilot needed more space. I had cut a huge pad but ya never know. Gotta keep the pilot happy.
It took him forever to land. He did a huge figure 8 and the slowest decent to landing I have ever seen. There I am standing, thinking, this guy has to drop us off in the middle of F*ck no where, AND, pick us up each day. To make sure you understand, this is totally virgin forest with small swamps, outcrop, and the odd grass patch to land. Not open tundra, or alpine. Anyways, after he lands I ask him if that’s plenty of room for him to land. 5 take offs and 5 landings a day there, Need to have him happy. He says, it would be nice if you could just clear all the trees off this hill for me so I don’t have to hover out of the trees. WTF. There was a 100m x 100m clear cut with an full opening to a lake you can land a float plane on. How much more room does he need. I cut a few more trees down to have a beautiful view out to the lake. If this guy needs more room we are getting another pilot!
So the next day everyone has there locations, 3 spots in case we can’t land in 1 or 2. Its a 250km flight one way. 5 groups of 3 people to drop off. By the time the last group gets out of the helicopter the first group is being picked up. I was lucky and got to sleep in and be the last group. We get out on a small outcropping beside a lake and start working. A whole day bush whacking thru stunted spruce trees. No one sound on the spectrometer, and nothing interesting on any outcrop. What a crap day. Only upside was it didn’t rain.
My 2 partners were a geologist from Nigeria I had worked with before, and a guy fresh out of his 2 year Geological technician’s course. Can’t even read a compass! Never worked in the bush, and first time ever being in a helicopter. Green as a crayon.
After 8 hours, we find this shtty spot along the lake that is the only clear thing a helicopter can possibly land we had seen all day. Shortly after we hear the helicopter and get him on the radio. I let him know that we only found this shtty spot and if he can see something else to just land there and we will come to him. He says that it looks fine and he is coming down to land. I had doubts because it was a boulder field and not even slightly flat, but anyone who has been in a helicopter knows that a good pilot can hover while people load in. Don’t even have to be on the ground. Anyways we stand back and he comes down. Just as he is about to touch the ground I see this look of terror in his face. Not something you wanna see in a pilots face. I shout at the other guys to turn around a duck, but being in a open boulder field there is little options for running away, and no big rocks to hide behind. The blaring sounds of a Jet engine less then 10m away blasting your thoughts of what to do.
I have never heard something so loud come to such a quick silence in my life. The only sounds were jet fuel draining into the lake, and mosquito’s in the thousand’s. What ever this guy had done, he had crashed the helicopter and we were well over 500km from any kind of civilization. Right away I assessed the situation and decided we needed to keep our distance and see if the pilot was still alive. Hopping along the boulders, I did a wide arc to where I could see the cockpit of the helicopter, and started yelling the pilots name. No sounds but fuel and mozzies. F*CK! I get a little closer and see the pilot. He starts moving and I am hoping he is not to badly hurts, not pinned under something, and not in the death twitch state. He starts grunting, and making weird sounds so I run over and start trying to pull him out. The 2 other guys are just standing there swearing and in shock. Can’t blame them. I tell them they are gonna have to give me a hand because we need to get the pilot out in case there is a fire. We get him out and move as far away as we can and still be comfortable in the trees.
Sitting there thinking, WTF do we do now I remember that we have a SAT phone in the helicopter. The old global star ones that take a half hour to find a signal. Grab it, set it up and wait for that signal. I make a call on the first chance to our company office and the only thing I got to say before we lost signal was the helicopter crashed. Beep beep beep. Took another 10 minutes to get another call in, and by that time the people in the office were panicking because they only knew that the helicopter crashed and nothing else. This call I let them know we were all alive and got them the LAT’s before the signal was lost. Next call the longs, and we were told they were coming for the pilot and we were going to have to spend the night. All good. One of us took care of the pilot and the other 2 started making a shelter.
From the helicopter crashing to the rescue heli arriving it was over 5 hours. 1 hour away from darkness. Best thing was that the ELT the heli had, only give a signal when the rescue heli was 15km away. Don’t count on them saving your life! We get the pilot in and the rescue pilot say there is room for all off us. We all cram in and try to take off. The heli is over 100% on the throttle and then we start to come up sideway. The bearpaw on the back skid has wedged between a rock and is keeping us from coming up. Then all of a sudden it lets go. Sh*t my pants, that was the worst feeling of the day. Wedged between 2 trees there was hardly any room for error and now were are swaying back and forward as we take off. A few trees lost the end of there branches but we made it into the air.
To end the story. The pilot had a bad concussion, I had a cut on my chin from something, and the other 2 were still a little in shock. Woke up early the next morning. 500km back to town, drop off pilot at hospital, do a quick thing for the Safety board on what happened, and then back into a helicopter to camp. It wasn’t until we got back to camp that we found out that the Head geologist from our company was also out in the bush overnight with the CEO of the company that owned the claims. Opps. They both survived on eating blueberries and had the sh*ts like you wouldn’t believe. Funny thing is, there is a picture of me taking out there backpack from the crashed heli to see what there was for food and water. Thought it was emergency supplies. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DAY PACK BEHIND. Even if its only for 1 minute. You never know what can happen.
A few pic. In one there is a metal box. That is right where we were standing. If it flipped the other way we would have been mince.
Cool story bro, hope you bought yourselves some lottery tickets!
That was awesome GoldStampX!!
Keep em coming…Mal
Here is another one.
This all started with my mate who lives in Tauranga now, but grew up in Hokitika, like a normal Westcoast boy would. Possum shooting, moss collecting, and gold mining. Everytime I would come back and see him he would always have these crazy dreams about how to go gold mining somewhere. Sending me web links to all these claims for sale all over the world. One day he sends me a link to a trademe add for a claim for sale. The price is pretty cheap, but I can’t find anything about the river having gold on the internet. We all know how this goes. Kinda put it in the back burner until I get back to NZ.
In the mean time Me and the Wife have found a house we would really like to buy. Contact the realtor and let them know we will be in town on this date and we would like to come see it. Sweet as!
Get back into NZ and call up the realtor to come check the place out. Sorry sir, the house sold at 10am. It was only noon. Crap! So I look at the wife and my mate and go, so… how about that gold claim.
I call the owner up and ask him if its still for sale. Yep, a few people are gonna come look at it this weekend, he tells me. Its Wednesday. So, quick decisions are always a good adventure. Pack the car, leave Tauranga at 9am and head south. Arrive in Wellington at 10pm. Jump on the 2 30am ferry and wake up in Picton at 6am. Stop for a coffee and pie, and hit the road, again.
We arrive in the last town at 9pm on the edge of dark. Grab some food and wood for a fire and head out. Its a long drive to the dusty’s, and I had never driven these road before. Slow and steady. Hit the gravel road and from there to the claim it was around 15km. We stop and find the GPS so I could save any spot that looks flat enough for a tent in the dark. For 15km we were driving with our heads out the window in the pitch black hitting the GPS marker anywhere we thought would work. At the top of the hill the road goes from gravel to mud and we decide its time to go back to the last flat spot. Get tent set up and in it by 1am. Long day!
We wake up the next morning, eat something, 3 cups of coffee, this isn’t Tauranga weather anymore honey, and head down to the river. Its misty rain and about 6deg. Find a good spot in the river to do some test pans and right away find good signs of flood gold. 5-10 flakes a pan. Head back up to camp to get a fire going so I can feel my feet again, and decide what to do next. We decide that tomorrow we will go farther up river and test anywhere we can. Only problem is we are to pussy to get wet, and both sides have cliffs at some point that we would have to get wet to get around. Next choice is take the high road. We wake up the next morning to snow covering the ground. Head down the to river anyways and we follow a goat trail for 2km up river. Never testing anything along the way. At the spot we picked to go down and test, we battle thru thick brush and gorse to get to the river. Do a few test pans and everyone has gold. Slightly bigger then the pans lower down. Good sign. I do a bunch of pans anywhere I can and every pan has some gold. Lots of tiny little flecks but it will all add up one day.
So off to town we go to talk to the owner. Until now WE have never spoken. I had my mate call him the first time. I don’t have a kiwi accent as I grew up in Canada, and got dicked around on the west coast trying to buy a claim, as he thought I was just a terrorist, I mean tourist. So we meet up with him and right away I can tell he is thinking I am full of sh*t. I tell him I have cash and if he can find me a dredge and make it a good deal for the package I will buy it. Sweet as! Check all paper work to make sure permits and land access is all good, call farmer to make sure I can get keys to locked gates, Sweet as. Everything is in place. Leave the owner with a few grand and let him know I will be back in 2 weeks with the rest and head back to Tauranga. This time we took a few days.
So 2 weeks later, Me, Wife, and my Mate load everything back into the car, this time he is coming. His dreams are now a reality, and he is pumped. Do the same trip over again. Tauranga 9am, Wellington 10pm, Ferry 230am, Picton 6am. Spend the night in a hotel as its the last night of luxury for a week. I head over to the Old owners house to arrange him dropping off the dredge during the week, and pay for the whole package.
Head out early next morning, find the old hut near the claim and settle in. Over the next few days we went for a walk up river and around checking things out and waited for the dredge to arrive. When the dredge arrived we dumped it in the water, made sure it was running, tied it up and headed back to the hut. Tomorrow we are gonna get a bunch of gold. The dreams start…
Wake up next morning and walk down to the dredge. Get it all warmed up, air tank full, balls shrunk, ready to dive. That day was a nightmare. I was just making sure that everything was going to run and last before I made a big decision on where and how to get it farther up the river. My wife and mate were expecting OZ’s. I was dredging in 4-5m deep water with a pretty swift current and had them holding a rope tired to the nozzle so when I wanted to come up, the hose wouldn’t end up heading back down river. The plan was one tug, more rope, 2 tugs pull up. FML. One tug, nothing, one more, nothing, one more. nozzle is ripped out of my hands. I head up. WTF are you 2 doing? O sorry, thought you pulled twice. Ok lets try that again. So this goes on all afternoon. I am wondering if when I am under water they replaced themselves with monkey’s. At the end of the day all 3 of us are pissed at each other. There is hardly any gold, and its a long walk up hill to the hut. I didn’t know till after that my wife was bitching the whole time about how this was a stupid idea, we were suppose to buy a house and now we are here gold mining, he is gonna drown, the bugs are bad, the weather is crappy, you know how women get when they don’t wanna be some where. Well I was the last one back to the hut, I stopped to do the clean up while they went to make something to eat. I show her the gold and if anyone says gold fever isn’t real, you just haven’t found enough gold yet. She was as happy as could be. This is the best idea ever, I am glad we didn’t buy that house, bla bla bla. My mate is looking at me like, SHE IS CRAZY MAN. There was maybe 5 grams for the day. Not much for all the drama that had happened while I was under water.
After a few more days we head to town to get more food. We go shopping, my mate showers. We get back and he has decided he is gonna go home. Not what he was dreaming about. Otago isn’t the West coast and there is no pungas to build a hut with. He had forgot his tent poles and didn’t wanna buy a new tent. Sweet as mate. Head home and enjoy Christmas with the Family.
Over the next few weeks I went and got everything organized to be taken down to where we were gonna put a camp. The only flat spot we came across on the river. Bought a quad bike, bunch of fuel cans, talked will all the helicopter company’s to see who was gonna be in the area and when, and arranged for a Helicopter to sling the dredge in. Everything was a go, and we were finally going to get to do some dredging.
Well that’s about the end of the story. We do find gold, not tons like our dreams, but enough to keep us happy and doing something we love. I am sure some of you have seen the video I posted. That sums up the rest of the story better then I can. The real point is, I took a gamble and it paid off for us. If you do everything and make sure its legit, just like 80% of gold claims, only the gold amounts will disappoint you.
Hey thanks GoldStampX,I guess the point of this story is that gold mining is a life adventure,the experience in itself is part of the reward.
You could simply sit on the couch watching re runs of Gold Rush(nothing wrong with re-runs of Gold Rush) having never experienced the majestic site of the early morning dew glistening off a moss covered bank in an isolated stream deep in the west coast rainforest or the vibrant colours and shadows of a central Otago sunset skyline…while being viscously attacked by a swarm of blood thirsty midges as you carefully pan the last of your days precious gold…lol.
We are lucky that most of the gold in NZ is to be found in some of the spectacular scenery in the world and its still reasonably accessible.
This is all part of the bounty for me,sampling pans up a south Island river(fossicking areas of course!)trying to find a lead,little flake here or there,up a side stream that shows a little sign,find a flat spot to make a cuppa or bivy for the night.
I am from the North Island(goldless Wairarapa) after taking my family around the South Island by camper van for two years in a row some time back,I developed a full on love affair with this wild mainland isle especially its gold.
As far as gold fever is concerned I am experiencing what you would call extreme withdraw symptoms at the moment because I didn’t do any gold prospecting last summer.
Instead I worked everyday,long days building our rather down sized family house,cozy,nothing flash but this time its pretty much ours,meaning inevitability I can spend more time with the family on south Island adventures and NOT working all the time.
So this season is starting soon and as you can probably tell I’m pretty amped(hense wanting to hear some good gold stories,com’on ya slack buggers)so I’m starting to get a bit of new gear together,bought a new wetsuit,gloves,socks after taking into consideration all your guys wetsuit advice(thank you ,went for Ocean hunter cammo,good value,cheers Gav)just made up 13kgs of lead weights for weight belt tonight(hopefully that will keep me on the bottom) ,Garrett pinpointer, a new large steel pan and some creivousing tools from Gold dredge NZ,retired me old steel cap work boots which are now my new sniping dive boots and last but not least a new gold bottle,which I intend to hopefully make tinkle sounds with when I get some more chunkier gold in it.
So for those of you who wonder whether I’m just a paydirt community trawler just fishing for some free advice and locations (yes I guess that is sort of true…lol) I do consider that I’m in it for the right reasons and if anyone out there is keen to tag along a help me in my quest to have semi-sucessful gold adventure (weekends)then feel free to reply,PM me or direct email firstname.lastname@example.org as I’m keen as…or alternately you can just send me your honey hole GPS co ordinates…lol!!! Good luck for the season guys!..I want to hear one of ya say the words like they say on that “Aussie Gold Hunters”…crickey thats the biggest nugget we’ve every found!!!HaHa
@GoldStampX - loving the stories mate! Only just noticed them. Helicopter drama sounds pretty crazy. Great seeing the photos to go with it too - cheers
I would be nice to hear some other peoples stories. Even if its just a short one. Gotta get everyone motivated for the big gold haul were all going to get this summer.
I have added some pics of some of the crazier things that have happened in the 12 year I have been doing mineral exploration.
Well after all this talk I finally got a chance to head down south last weekend and spend a little quality time with my spade and pan around Moonlight area.First two days spent up river randomly digging holes here n there with little success but on my last day I found a nice side bank of flood gravel that showed a little promise so I just kept diggin…and diggin…and some tiny specks started to show …which turned into larger specks …which turned into …one large flake…yes! My very first decent flake!!!..Result!!!On my return home I showed off my gold haul to my wife(in a well presented round glass bottle that made the gold look a lot bigger than it actually was)and she just gave me that funny look and asked how much was that worth??..think fast …to me a million dollars!!