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Wednesday 16 Jul 2003
Capricorn Coast, Australia

Gems ahoy!

Well would you believe it, Im in the middle of nowhere in Queensland where there is no TV and all the locals stare at you in disbelief since they "aint seen any foreigners in a good while mate", yet there is STILL an internet access point. Forget Singapore, I nominate Oz as THE most wired country in the world. Theres also a Thai restaurant here?!?

For the past 2 days Ive been investigating all the buzz in the Gemfields region and have based myself in Sapphire, nearby Rubyvale, Emerald and Willows Gemfields.

Yesterday I did a little "research" and took the option most wannabe fossickers do: I bought a bucket of "wash" for 5 dollars instead of digging it up myself! Hell I needed to make sure that I could identify what a sapphire looked like before I headed out and bought a permit to dig them up myself...

As it turned out, my bucket was a little more valuable than the 5 dollars I payed: I ended up locating several small sapphires and zircons with a rough total value of 50 dollars (the value they will be once cut).. excellent!

After a night camped out on the gemfields and convinced I was destined for gem-greatness, I went and bought my permit this morning and hired some equipment for 20 dollars.

I was taught how to dig and sieve the dust from the rocks using the large and small sieves on top of one another (the small sieve catches the small rocks where most of the gems are located). The sieves, containing their potentially-valuable contents are then placed into a bucket device and washed of all remaining mud before being upturned over a table. Then the fun begins... you agonisingly search through the muddy stones until something resembling glass appears.

As it happens, my second rinse turned up a fantastic little blue sapphire with an estimated value of 70 dollars once cut! Fantastic!.... of course the luck of the Irish was not to last too long since thats all that I turned up after a whole day! Still its better than a few of the less fortunate people nearby who havent turned up a thing for a week! Its a bit like the lottery, although you really work hard for the reward.

A national television crew (TEN Network - its quite a big network in fact) happened to be in the township today covering a "TV doco" called "Gems" thats screening in October. Wouldnt you know it, but they ended up coming over to my humble dig-site and pretty soon I ended up giving a mini interview... will be funny to see myself covered in dust on the little screen when its finally shown. I made sure to give a good few "hot sweaty muscular" posing shots as I was digging too... didnt get paid though... grrrr

Interesting day to say the least... I have to decide if I will continue on tommorrow for the next week or if I will continue heading up north.. will let ye know tommorrow

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