Nick and I both spent periods of our childhoods looking for opal - Nick at Lightning Ridge and me at Yowah. We have returned to both areas in more recent years as well as trying olivine fossicking at Mount Shadwell in Victoria.
Sapphire fossicking was new to all of us, so we joined a tag-along tour to learn the basics. The day started at 8:30am when our guide met us near Anakie. We then drove in a small convoy to Glenalva fossicking area, which is known for its shallow wash (ie less digging)!
Our tour booking included the use of all equipment as well as the benefit of an experienced miner's supervision and advice.
I have uploaded a short movie to our YouTube channel (linked in a page above), which shows the full process we followed throughout the day - repeatedly!
As usual, Nick did most of the digging. We all assisted at various points, to the best of our strength and ability.
It took a while to get our heads around what we were doing.
All looked quite straight-forward when we watched the demonstration but seemed less so when working independently.
Fortunately our guide was able to double-check our digging site and method. He confirmed we were on the right track and a little while later we found our first two stones - which caused huge excitement!
We found five stones in total, over the course of around four hours. By lunch-time we'd had enough so handed back tools and mugs before heading off, well-pleased with our treasure! First stop was the small chemist at Sapphire to acquire liniment for Nick's cramping muscles!
We also bought ice-creams in Rubyvale, before taking our stones to be assessed for cutting. Three were considered suitable and we chose the best to be faceted. It will be posted back to us in about 12-14 week's time - so we'll have to be patient till then!