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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dredging Nome Man's Land, The Book

This blog was originally created to chronicle our crews' days in Nome, as the paper journals I sent with them were rarely reporting anything other than the daily height of waves, wind direction and general temperature.  I wanted more.  I wanted the full picture; rather to live vicariously by their words to fully experience Nome, and all it's simple, yet unusual, glory.

The Discovery Channel's incredibly popular reality t.v. series, Bering Sea Gold, certainly helped to inspire my story, as it gave me a much better understanding of the 'rough and tumble' that Nome is, and is proud to be...  A great deal of research was necessary for this project, as I have been so far removed from it (geographically).  Not to mention... it is so far outside the average American experience.

My book, Dredging Nome Man's Land, is an honest attempt to tell our families' story about dredging for gold in the Bering Sea.  The t.v. series might not exactly make the business of gold mining look easy, but, I assure you, it is way more difficult than you can imagine!  There are so many unforeseen variables and challenges to gold dredging that I will explain in explicit detail (thanks to ongoing conversations with the crew and others in the industry) in my book. I sincerely hope to project an accurate feel for the reality of this endeavor.

Currently, finishing up the manuscript to send to my publisher.  Then on to copy editing, conceptual editing, design, publishing and distribution!!!  It's a lengthy process.  Hang tight!  I want all of you to get the details you so deserve!

Any ideas for the cover?

Also, if anyone has any pictures they would like to share for the book, I'm looking...

If you have any ideas for cover or pictures to send...please email to

Thanks so much!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peace of Mind for KY Goldenrod Crew

The KY Goldenrod crew left Nome, Alaska for the season after the first week in October.  The weather had been relentless, and the visibility of the seafloor was poor.  This week Dad talked with his good friend, Harold (a dredger from Iowa he met this summer), and found out that the weather did finally clear for a day or two after our crew's departure, only to be followed by yet another very powerful storm; this time carrying waves all the way to Front Street in Nome!  After that storm the weather turned cold, fast!

                                                    Aerial view of Nome Harbor

As of October 17th, 2012, the Nome Harbor had iced over.  This week, port employees are going to pull the floating docks and the channel buoys out of the water.  The Summer 2012 season is officially a wrap for all small dredge operations there.  Our crew has a little more peace of mind about coming home a bit earlier than originally anticipated... Although, if they'd only stayed one extra day they could have witnessed the splendor of the aurora borealis (that occurred on the night of the day Mom and Dad returned from Kentucky).  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conversation about Dredging

Random guy says:
hi, my wife and i are getting a huge settlement andhave decided to build a dredge, we see how rickidy some on the show are built and desided to go with bigger barge design on pontoons, equipped for 3 divers, is their a law reguarding only being able to have 1 suction hose, or are allowed 2??? our operation would be designed to withstand alot worse weather than everyone was getting scared of to potentially double our time on the water and with 2 suction divers potentially doubling the gold recovery. and 1 more thing if someone has one of those claims on the water that they started for the first time, can you negotiate with the owner of the claim to mine their??? or is it specifically for that owner only…
heres a laugh, with how flimsy those dredges look, wheres all the life jackets and life rafts???
JasonD says:
June 13, 2012 at 10:28 am
The limitation for the “open area”, is for pump-size/strength and hose diameter. (You can have as many hoses as you wish, running below the diameter, at the maximum engine-size. The losses will be greater with each hose added, as the power will be lost to pull-up material. However, silt-gold is the majority, and the rig should be designed for that.)
Pulling-up large rocks is only to de-mud them, and to move them from the hole. The mud on the rocks contains a majority of the “free-gold”, which is sea-placer gold.
Keep in mind, that sluice-boxes are the WORST design for gold capture. Well, the best of the worst. High-loss at any volume of flow. More loss when the gold is smaller than an eraser, and the fill is larger than a shooter-marble.
Every foot of sluice, pays for itself. The best you can hope for is about 35% capture. (Proven by the constant re-mining and higher yields from the same mined areas, year after year.) The good news is… Nome is one of the highest concentrations of free-gold, “placer-gold”, in the sea. So any properly worked area has a decent yield. Key-word: properly. (Most don’t mine proper, they just vacuumed the floor like maids at a hotel, leaving with pocket-change, not wallets of cash normally nested in the cracks of the couches or dressers.)
Good luck. Hope I can make it there this year, or next-year.
P.S. Don’t go crazy on top-dollar purchases. A $2.00 sluice produces the same as any $400.00 sluice. If you know how to operate it. If you don’t, the $400.00 sluice will yield nothing, as will the $2.00 sluice, but your losses will be greater

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Northern Lights in Nome

The Aurora Borealis is one of the greatest wonders of the natural universe.  Several volunteers from KNOM (the local bush radio station in Nome) got to experience it first hand on the night of Monday, October 8th.

"By 10:30 pm there were green lights dancing in the night sky.  Well, at first, we couldn’t see much. There was a long streak of silver silky clouds that could be green, maybe, from a certain angle. So we piled in the car and drove through the deserted, dark town and as we headed towards the mountains, the streak started to change. We were getting excited. The silvery cloud was becoming clearer, and moving, and when we finally made it to the top of an empty hill, it was fully green and beautiful.
Seeing the Aurora was beyond description. Green and pink streams were slowly falling and lifting like rivers of light and we were goofy with joy. We skipped and jumped and hopped, DayneƩ and I held hands and twirled in circles, and all five of us lay down on the cold permafrost and marvelled at the dancing Aurora. Josh said it was like seeing Narnia, if the magical wardrobe was a freezer",
by Eva DeLappe, October 9, 2012.

Tommy was home (in Kentucky) on the evening of October 6th.  And, Dad and Mom home in the wee hours of Monday, October 8th.  Our crew JUST missed it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Quits for Now

It came as a surprise that KY Goldenrod's dredging season came to an abrupt end this week.  Patience wore thin, and we were not successful in recruiting another diver to finish the season. The past week or so in Nome, the weather has been rough again.  Two nights ago the winds were howling at 55 mph, further stifling precious time left in the season.   According to the local miners, anytime between Oct 15th through October 31rst, the ice starts to form over the Bering Sea, halting the summer gold dredging season...

The good news is that our team had been making progress in determining what we may have (in the way of gold) on our offshore lots.  Armed with likely GPS coordinates, the crew was eagerly pursuing those points of interest.   Several times they tried, only to be disappointed in the underwater visibility factor related to the high winds 'murking up' the seafloor.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ancient Beach Lines

Nome forms the southern boundary of a 6 km wide coastal plain at the foot of glaciated hills.  A unique marine gold deposit is situated immediately offshore.   Gold was discovered in 1900 on the present day Nome Beach, which eventually led to a major onshore mining industry.  The total recorded onshore placer gold production from the immediate vicinity of Nome is over 5 million troy ounces thus far.  Evidence of glacial gold deposits extend on the seabed for nearly 5 km offshore in water depths of 20 meters and less.

Anvil Mountain and Newton Pike are situated within 7 to 12 km north of Nome.  They represent the original source of most of the placer gold in the Nome area.  As glaciers receded and the sea level rose, precious minerals were deposited.  Placer deposits are formed by natural stream concentrations of the metal after its liberation from host rocks by deep weathering and erosion. As the liberated gold moves downstream it eventually sifts through the loose stream bed to rest on bedrock.

The gold found offshore Nome is oriented parallel to the coast over an East-West distance of about 25 km.  The submerged beach lines have been identified up to 16 km offshore.

It has been the experience for the seasoned miners of Nome, Alaska to "follow the ancient beach lines" to find the best gold.  They have been (and continue to be) major sources of mined gold in the Nome area.