How My Family Finds Gold
When her friends tell her 'My family goes bowling,' or 'My family goes fishing,' my youngest child smiles and says, 'My family finds gold.'
How my family finds gold might be of interest to other families who are looking for a way to spend quality time together. The best family activities provide plenty of time and opportunity for heart-to-heart chats and cementing the relationship between parent and child.
Finding Gold Instead of Going Fishing
One of our older children used to love going fishing. It was a family activity and a chance to sit and chat about what was happening in our world and the world at large.
Our youngest child comes finding gold with us and we go fishing far less often.
The best part about finding gold is you don't have to throw the little ones back!
In the winter when it is too cold for swimming at the beach, we occasionally go for a stroll along the sand together with metal detectors out. You'd be surprised how many people lose coins and jewellery and even rings during summer.
When fishing in a nearby river we bought a little boat and an engine, life jackets and all the appropriate gear. It cost much more than our gold-hunting tools. We no longer have the boat and we very rarely miss it.
Given the choice, I suggest you go for the gold with your children. With a cheap hand rod you can still occasionally go fishing at the end of a pier.
Treasure Hunting With Your Children
Family Finds Gold From a Florida Shipwreck
In September 2013 the Schmitt family found over $300,000 in gold treasures off the Florida Coast near Fort Pierce. The gold coins and chains are believed to part of the wreckage of 11 Spanish ships that sank during a hurricane in 1715.
The treasure was only 150 yards offshore but apparently the Schmitt family had been actively searching for gold in the region for the past 13 years.
What began as a hobby escalated into a professional business. The Schmitts invested in a boat and technology, including machines that hang from the back of their boat and blast jets of air onto the sea floor.
Metal detectors indicate possible sites to explore, then divers search for booty. The September find was allegedly buried 15 feet below the sea floor.
As exciting as it would be to discover a small fortune of treasure, I'm not sure I would be prepared to dedicate 13 years of time and energy - not to mention the expensive equipment and the frustration of fueling a boat and coming home empty handed day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
It is great to dream of your family finding gold. But at what cost?
My family finds gold on dry land, and we don't spend a fortune looking for it.
Looking for Gold on Beaches
Precision tool for locating your target
As soon as my metal detector goes off, I grab my Garrett Pro-Pointer to help me find the precise location of the gold, ring, coin - or rusty nail - hidden within the sand or soil. It speeds up the process and makes finding the target much easier.
Finding Gold on the Beach
After watching the video above, I was tempted to write to the Garrett Detector people and suggest they make another video showing the easier way (lol).
You'll notice the people have 'pinpoint' metal detectors with them. Not surprising, given that Garrett makes the Pro-Pointer. I'm just surprised they don't use them more promptly. Perhaps they also manufacture the sand sifters as well.
If you are detecting on a beach, as soon as the coil makes a noise, pull out your little directional detector and use it to quickly find the target.
There are two ways to use the hand-held pinpoint detector:
1) Swipe it horizontally. There's a raised part to point downwards.
2) Point it vertically. The nose also has a detector.
We very quickly locate precisely where to dig using this helpful little device. It is incredibly accurate in sand.
Another advantage in countries like Australia and the UK is the higher value of our coins. Instead of finding pennies, dimes and quarters like Americans often do, we find dollar coins and two-dollar coins on our Australian beaches. :)
I have never dropped a large metal detector in water before, as one woman does on this video, but it seems to work for her.
Pan for Gold
Learn How to Pan for Gold
Panning for gold is a basic skill that all potential prospectors should develop.
There are many skills demonstrated on the internet and the video above is one of the better ones, but gold panning is best demonstrated in person.
It helps to have someone with experience watching your technique and providing feedback.
Choose a Plastic Gold Pan
Best Gold Panning Set
This is what I recommend if you are new to gold panning. In addition to pans in a range of sizes, you get a sieve plus a bottle for sucking up your gold, small vials for storing your gold ... and information to help get you started.
Other Tools for Finding GoldClick thumbnail to view full-size
Prospecting in Historic Gold Fields
The most obvious location to find gold is where gold has been found before. The world is peppered with old gold fields where thousands flocked in the hope of finding a fortune - and many were successful.
Modern day prospectors often choose to explore old gold fields and search through the discarded piles of rock and diggings. We have the advantage of technology to help find gold.
Learning About Gold With Your Children
It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we see just how quickly our children grow up. Passing years suddenly turn into decades. Many parents wish they'd spent more time having fun with their kids. Or at the very least, more time.
Can you think of a better family activity than searching for gold?
At home you can conduct research together. Which part of a river is the best place to pan for gold? Which way should the river bend, and why do you look where the water slows down? Where is your nearest gold mining location?
You have the fun and excitement of going to your chosen location, hopes high. You have the fun of working as a team, deciding the very best place to pan and developing your skills.
Ideally you will be successful and find at least a little gold to take home, but even if you don't find treasure, you'll have spent quality time together. Don't get so obsessed with the search for gold that you ignore your children. Talk with them. Take a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy it. Your kids won't want to come with you next time if they don't enjoy themselves.
Children often consider the process and the conversation to be the best part of their day out. Even if you never find that elusive nugget, you should be able to create lasting memories of fun and adventure.
Visit a Gold Town Where You Can Take Lessons in Gold Panning
There is a little town on the east coast of Australia called Mogo. It surprised me to find such a vibrant community, with lots of arts and crafts outlets, cafes and clothing stores, in the middle of what many people would call 'nowhere'.
Like many tourists, we stopped for a snack and a walk around.
While dining outside a Mogo cafe I noticed a stream of people wandering up a side road. At the end of the road was a historic mining venue offering lessons in how to pan for gold.
On another road trip, I noticed a tourism sign leading to the Peak Hill Open-Cut Gold Mine. Of course it was worth a detour.
Peak Hill Open-Cut Gold Mine Offers an Education in Gold MiningClick thumbnail to view full-size
Finding the Source of the Gold
Like most hobby prospectors, we first panned for gold in river beds—and enjoyed it immensely. We were not always successful but with every outing we learned a little more about finding gold.
A turning point for us was when we became friends with a couple of geologists. They insisted that instead of looking for alluvial gold that was 'diluted' in the sand and silt in the bottom of rivers, our time was better spent looking for the source of the gold.
If there is gold in a river, it had to come from rocks in the river's catchment area.
We listened and learned, and went on a field trip or two with our geologist friends. Suddenly it all made sense. Armed with the knowledge of what we were looking for, we moved our focus from the river beds to the rocks above.
Learn What to Look for When Prospecting
Learn About Your Local Rocks to Find Gold
You will need to do your own research and establish exactly what kind of rock is likely to hold gold in your local area. But once you understand what you are looking for, the search is a great deal of fun.
We have a number of indicators to watch out for, including granite. I get really excited when I find rocks (like the one in the photo below) with little pock marks. Those pock marks on the surface used to hold gold. The surface gold has been washed out - but there may well be more gold within that rock.
To extract the gold from within the rocks, we designed a small rock crusher and had it made up by a local metal fabricator.
Pock Marks Indicate Gold
Crushing rocks to find gold
Treat Yourself to a Treasure Hunter Package
This kit will get you started. It doesn't have the pans you'll need (and every prospector needs to pan at some stage) but it does have a metal detector, headphones, a plastic digger etc. Everything you need to search for jewelry and coins on beaches ... and to identify gold nuggets in the ground. :)
Gold Comes Wrapped in Many PackagesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Going for Gold
Now that we are set up with our own little crusher, we can bring rocks home, crush them at our leisure and then pan the gold.
Of course we still go on occasional gold panning adventures down by the rivers and we enjoy a stroll on the beach with a metal detector, but my family finds more gold in rocks these days.
Looking for gold as a family activity is much more fun than fishing ... and I love the fact that we never have to throw the small ones back!
Searching for Gold on a Quiet AfternoonClick thumbnail to view full-size
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