Sunday, 15 February 2009

Camping and Fossicking

This post is all about our camping trip, we drove up the Midland Highway, took the Fingal turnoff, called in at Mum's at St Marys, drove to St Helens where we had fish and chips for tea and then drove onto the designated fossicking area on the Weld River at Moorina, just passed Weldborough.

The midlands is very dry at the moment, not much water in central Tas but it's still beautiful.

We set up camp, had to work quickly as it was getting dark.Not a great picture, it was taken the following afternoon, can just make out my DS lounging on one of the chairs.

The river is very picturesque although it's not as beautiful as it once was, some development nearby has pushed trees across the river.

That's DH in the blue, checking out a dig site.

Sieving for sapphires is hard work, DS and I had our own spot while DH worked away at triple our speed.

Firstly you shovel the river gravel into a set of sieves, we use 3 sieves. The top sieve collects the large river rocks, we never find anything significant in this sieve but one always hopes.

The second sieve collects rocks bigger than 8 mm and the 3rd sieve collects anything smaller.

After a shovel load of gravel is put in the sieves you wash them through in the water

You look through the top two sieves to see if your fortunate to have a good find, then the third one you wash through some more, there's a real technique to this because when it's finished and it's up ended onto a dry area it looks like this

All the heavier stones have fallen to the bottom and when it's tipped over they end up on top. The black stones are spinel, large ones of these can be used in jewellery and are also good for putting in rock tumblers to help polish rocks. The sapphires, topaz, zircon and quartz are heavy too and can be found amongst these. The blue ones really stand out on a sunny day.The job then is to find them with tweezers.

Here's what DS and I found, DH had heaps compared to us but I can't find where he's hidden them so I could take a photo.They're not all gem quality but they look very pretty in glass bottles. The big dark one under the 5cent piece is a good sapphire although the photo doesn't show it.

DS also tried to find them using goggles and snorkel, no luck but he had fun.

DH also had a go and came face to face with an eel!

One of our walks back to the campsite we spotted this little fellow rummaging around the forest floor, an echidna.

I get very excited when I see native animals in their own habitat, haven't seen a Tassie devil but we've heard them. There were possums around our campsite at night that upset my dog, she slept in the tent and growled whenever she heard them. I didn't see any snakes! Tassie has 3 snakes and they're all venemous, we usually see one but thankfully they stayed away.

There was a total fire ban in the North East of Tasmania which meant no campfires, so we used the gas cooker for meals. The sky was clouded over at night which meant I couldn't count Satellites or wish on a shooting star. We had a lovely time away from the gadgets and the TV. I did a little sewing but not much.

It was sad to come home and hear all the news about fires and floods. One of my PIF ladies, Ann, has asked me to donate the PIF article I was to send her to the Bushfire Relief. Ann and I have decided I'll make up a bag of sewing goodies and send it to a representative of the Victoria's Quilting Guild to find a person in need of such items. Thank-you Ann for suggesting this, it's a very generous offer! I'm feeling very warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about how we've all come together over such a terrible event to help out, the world feels so much smaller now!

Hugs to all!



Roseanne said...

I went the same week end that you did came home found out about the fire .I was so sad. To think of all them family that lost love one and all the wild live that died in the fire. what about the man that started some of them fire.

Amanda said...

What a fun holiday, and how exciting to find treasure! I don't think there's anywhere in the UK that you can do anything similar, though our sons tried a 'pretend' wash for gold at a theme park when they were very small, which they greatly enjoyed. I used to love camping when my bones were a little younger, but we're hoping to buy a campervan soon which should be fun.

wonderwoman said...

lovely post Jo,looks a beautiful place. i think everyone has been touched by the tragedy in aus and its so lovely how quickly everyone responds by doing what they can.


Kerri said...

That looks like a lot of fun. A great relaxing weekend. I dont blame you not wanting to come home. Its nice to have the peace and quite. And nice to have a look at the stars at night. They are amazing. We go camping normally about April/May, so hopefully we go this year again.

Susan In Texas said...

Looks like you had a lovely time. The saphire hunting looks like fun. Your yield looked pretty good too. We went on vacation a few years ago to a place in Arkansas in the US where you can tour a cave and sieve for diamonds. The tour was fun, but we took a pass on the sieving after looking at the setup. Seems like we were only home a few weeks when it made the national news that someone found a diamond worth thousands and thousands of dollars there. lol Maybe we should have tried our hand at sieving. 8)

Happy quilting!

PS We've been following the Aussie fires here in the states. Just tragic!

Anonymous said...

A lovely place to go fossicking.
We are fortunate to be part of this generous nation.

NoƩmia said...

What a nice camping and lovely time spend with family.
The stones are beautiful it's amazing how easily you have found so many!

Julie said...

It looks like a nice trip! Your five cent piece is very pretty. I thought it was a button. LOL.
I am so sorry to hear about the fires. It is heartbreaking.

Rose said...

Oh wow!! that looks like fun!! Great way to spend time with the family!!

Leanne said...

It looks like a wonderful place I have never been to Tassie I must put it on my Bucket List.

Stina said...

Amazing...thanks for taking us a long your campingtrip... we can dig for gold here ...but saphires... I would love that...:o)

Purpleflowerpatch said...

I've never been gem fossicking so your photos were REALLY interesting to me! Wow - you are so lucky!

Julie said...

Looks like you had a great time away. We used to do a lot of camping and fossicking. I would love to get back to it when the kids are older.

Kris Meares - Tag Along Teddies said...

Hey Jo! Not sure I'd have the patience to go fosicking, but the scenery of your camping spot looks so peacful and restful. Hmmm ... not sure I'm visiting if there are usually snakes though!! EEK!! Glad you're back home safe and sound ... and well rested?? ready to stitch up a storm!! Bear Hugs! KRIS

Sandi said...

Looks like you had a great time camping with your family. A lovely looking camping spot. When I was younger, our family used to go on fossiking trips. One time we went to Qld (from Sydney where we lived then) and we too looked for sapphires (and zircons & garnets). I remember all the sieving and shovelling gravel too, then picking out all the pretty stones.

Simone de Klerk said...

It really looks like you had a good time! I love the part where you are looking for sapphires! I've never heard of that before! And what a great gesture, to the Victorian Quilting Guild.

julia said...

Jo - it seems that you've had a wonderful time.
Great finds ~ your DS must be very proud to have found sapphires...the collection is beautiful...
I'm glad you haven't been visited by snakes...!
Hugs, Julia

Fiona said...

It sounds like you all had a wonderful time and the photo's are fantastic.

Hugs, Fiona