Frosty's Fossicking Frolics

Mt Surprise Gem's tag along to O'Briens Creek.

Wednesday 29th May 2013
Mt Surprise Gem's tag along to O'Briens Creek - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and Marg slept well, but I slept awful, tossed and turned from 3:30am and finally got up about 6am.
Today, we had to meet at Mt Surprise Gems at 7:50am with 2 other couples for the 42kms tag along to their own claim at O'Briens Creek. We arrived at 7:45am, and were first there, we chatted with Peter and Pam and then the 2 other couples arrived together, they are friends and travelled in the same 4WD. We left 'bang on' 8am and Peter gave each couple a map with directions and said that he would wait for us at the O'Briens Ck campground and as we all had a UHF radio, if we got into trouble to call on channel 6, we all arrived at the campground without any drama. We 'forded' the raging Elizabeth creek all of about 8" deep without any trouble and Peter lead us to his claim. He explained the rules and safety issues and gave each couple a pick, spade and seive and led us to his fossicking area.

We followed Rocky (Peter's dog) to his fossicking area, Peter explained what to do and let us select our area to fossick and away we went. My body is not built for a pick and shovel, but I managed to move plenty of dirt and Marg and I had a ball. It was warm (high 20s°) and we drank a lot of water, after an hour and a bit we adjourned back to Pete's Hilton (a very old rundown shed with 3 walls), where we sat in the shade and had morning smoko. Peter supplied cheese and bikkies, sweet bikkies, tea and coffee, sliced fruit and cold water. I tried everything except the tea and coffee. Nature called and I visited the Hilton's outside 'thunder box', it served its purpose, very well.
After morning smoko, it was back to digging in the hot sun, with the sweat running off my glistening body, anyway enough of those thoughts. At midday, we finished and packed up, put our equipment in Pete's storage box, compared our hauls amongst the 3 couple, we were all happy with our finds. We said our goodbyes and headed homeward, but first, we drove down the track on the northside of O'Briens Creek to check it out as we are going back there tomorrow by ourselves. Driving back, we had more time to take in the scenery and all the cattle, tomorrow, we will stop and take photos. We arrived back at camp at 1:20pm and I was absolutely knackered with little sleep and did I tell you about all the digging I did in the 'hot' sun. Well, I had a big nanna nap this afternoon and now feel as fit as the bulls we passed today.

Dinner was pizza from Bedrock Village CP, $18 each but bloody nice. A quiet night watching TV and then hopefully I will sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow, we are off to O'Briens creek on our own. Wish us luck.

Our group on the Tag Along. Peter is on the left.

The fossickers in action.

Peter ordering 2 beers.

Morning smoko break.

Peter's Hilton of O'Brien Ck.

Our haul. Quartz crystal (left) Topaz (right).

Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves.

Thursday 30th May 2013
Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and Marg slept well, but I slept like a 'big' baby, and finally woke about 6am and turned on Sunrise.
Today, we had no deadlines to meet, so we left when we were ready, it just happened to be at 8:53am. We stopped in at Peter's Gem Den to buy 2 new seives and a stand. As we headed off to O'Briens Creek, we passed a pilot walking from the airport to town.
I digress, it turns out that Thursday is the day that the Royal Flying Doctor visits Mt Surprise's Clinic and a car picks up the doctor and nurse and equipment from the plane, and leaves the pilot to secure the plane and he then walks the 3 plus kilometers to town, mainly for exercise and to waste time as he has to wait until the Clinic closes before he flys the Doctor and Nurse and equipment back to Cairns. It takes 35 minutes flying time from Cairns to Mt Surprise, compared to Marg and me, it will take 5 days with some extended stops along the way.
I did think of doing a U-Turn and giving him a lift but there was no room in our back seat, it was full of our gear. So we drove on and arrived at O'Briens Creek at 9:44am, parked the mighty Navara and got out and we both walked along the dry creek bed looking for a likely spot that oozed topaz, we picked a spot and set up our gear, which consisted of dropping the spade and mattock on the ground, putting the 17" seive on its stand and setting up Marg's chair.
I dug gravel, filled the seive, put the seive on the stand and shook the dirt out of it, so only the gravel and TOPAZ was left, then I emptied the contents of my seive into Marg's seive. She then checked the contents for any topaz or quartz crystal, while Marg did that the digger aka me, filled the 17" seive and started the process again. After 3.25 hours of shifting a 'mountain of soil' with sweat glistening in the hot sun off my toned body, I called it a day. I was absolutely 'rooted' that's a technical term for a tad tired. In summary, I drank 3 bottles of water, we found 4 topaz and 8 quartz crystals.
We left O'Briens creek at 1:05pm and after stopping a few times to photo the cattle, we arrived back at camp at 2:01pm.

After a beautiful shower, I wandered over to Peter's Gem Den to confirm today's haul (4 topaz and 6 quartz crystals), while there I ordered a coffee and sat outside in their coffee lounge with their dog 'Rocky'. Back at camp, we relaxed in the shade and later walked up to the CP Office and bought a soft drink.

Dinner was steak for me and Marg had chicken cooked on our outside BBQ. Needless to say, it was YUMMA. Another quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we are off to O'Briens creek again. Wish us luck.

Crossing Elizabeth Creek (in flood).

Me in action.

Marg in action.

Our fossicking spot.

Entering O'Briens Creek campground.

O'Briens Creek campground prices.

Shift your bum.

Pretty please. I don't think that she is listening.

We were being watched.

More onlookers.

Lunch time.

Today's haul - Topaz (left) Quartz (Right).

Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves - 2nd Day.

Friday 31st May 2013
2nd day - Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and we both slept well, and finally woke about 6am and turned on Sunrise.
Today, we are off to try our luck again fossicking for Topaz at O'Briens Creek. We left camp at 8:31am and arrived at the same spot as yesterday at 9:15am. We setup our gear at the same hole that we started digging yesterday, where we found 4 topaz. Well today didn't go according to plan, after 3 hours of hard, physical labour, with the sweat glistening off my toned body, WE DID NOT FIND ONE TOPAZ, Marg was not happy and I was BLOODY WELL . But for some consolation, we did find some quartz crystal, nothing startling but something. We sat in our chairs on the dry creek bed and ate our lunch, the scenery was beautiful.

We drove back to camp arriving at 12:54pm, showered and feeling refreshed again, I drove over and topped up with fuel and air, in preparation for tomorrow's drive to Innot Hot Spring.

Dinner was chicken and vegies. YUMMA. Another quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we are off to Innot Hot Springs (139kms) for 3 nights.

O'Briens Creek fossicking area - Location (S18.019077,E144.035335)