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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gold Diving From KY Goldenrod offshore Nome

The KY Goldenrod lost her arm this past summer 2012 while in Nome.  The conditions in the Bering Sea simply do NOT allow for the smooth operations with a mechanical arm.  The seafloor is filled with cobble, rock, and heavy black sands.  The arm was set up to do the job that a diver can do;  move rock and suction beneath for gold.  However, our crew simply could not keep the boat from shifting away from the dig site during mining (something spud bars are excellent for, but would surely sink our operation).  So, off with the arm.

We are converting our dredge into a 10" suction nozzle diver operation.  Before, we had two 8" hoses leading to two separate sluices aboard.  Now, we will have the single 10" suction hose that will vacuum the contents of the seafloor and be equally divided and emptied into the two sluice boxes.

I will be in Nome this coming summer, and am looking very forward to it!  I am a certified scuba diver and have done a great deal of diving in the past.  However, operating a 10" suction nozzle is extremely physically demanding, and very dangerous.  I will NOT be diving.  My brother, Tom, will be diving and we will be looking for one more diver to join our team this upcoming summer.  We've had a lot of interest from people, but have not yet chosen anyone.  


  1. Boy are you going to be swamped with messages asking for a job.... that in and of itself is worth a full story report.... lol

    BTW you never mentioned if last season's gold provided a financial break even basis or not?

    Good fishing

    In 85F warm Mexico cruising GREY GOOSE to Oregon

  2. Why did you drop the two 8 inch pumps for the 10 inch? I'm building an outrigger dredge (Modified Keene industrial 8 inch with two sluices). This would configure to what you had.
    I was looking at dropping to two 6 inch hoses (four pumps). Nome lore suggests that there is not much effeciency loss with the smaller hose.

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  3. First to Captain on Grey Goose...Last season was not a good gold season for us, as the weather was unrelenting, there were many changes and repairs necessary to our dredge and we also had to set up residence in Nome and rebuild KY Goldenrod. Here's what we did do:

    1) Obtained permit to allow road frontage (driveway) on to residential lot in Nome.
    2) Had gravel (200 truck loads) delivered and spread over lot.
    3) Moved residential container #1 to property.
    4) Made temporary living quarters inside container #1 (installed fresh water system with pump, installed electric service, installed gray water waster system inside container, made arrangements for port-a-pot delivery on lot).
    5) Completed container #1 with flooring, electrical outlets, light fixtures, walls, insulation and ceilings.
    6) Added two exterior doors and three windows to containers.
    7) Removed boat and boat parts from container #2.
    8) Moved container #2 to lot.
    9) Welded containers #1 and #2 together to make one larger container (cut out adjoining wall between both containers for central living room).
    10) Reassembled Goldenrod and completed electrical wiring.
    11) Launched Goldenrod.
    12) Performed sea trials on boat for performance and handling and corrected issues (remove weight from front of boat).
    13) Ordered and installed new gearing for both water pumps on boat.
    14) Re-engineered and rebuilt sluice boxes on boat.
    15) Corrected the belt-slip problem on water pumps.
    16) Conducted numerous trials with mechanical arm to enable it to mine properly (unsuccessful).
    17) Converted boat to 8-inch suction hose dive boat.
    18) Reworked systems on boat to perform more ergonomically.
    19) Built clean-up system for boat (to clean out sluices and capture gold).
    20) Made 120 bottles of wine (30 with freshly picked Nome tundra blueberries).
    21) Performed several clean outs.
    22) Packed up.
    23) Gathered firewood from Nome beach and installed stove in container.
    24) Acquired and recuperated from back injuries (both Dad and Tom).

    This coming Summer 2013 will be a much different story for KY Goldenrod, as we've only a few changes to make before getting the gold!

    Now, to Sparkedog...We will be changing to one 10" suction hose that will divide the seafloor material between two sluices (with two pumps in operation). The rocks are the problem with using an 8" hose. We were finding that the hoses were frequently jamming up and it was impeding our progress a lot.
    Wendy Palmer

  4. lol...#20 good job! Best of luck for your summer :-)

  5. i have seen a couple shows with the rocks getting sucked into the hoses and jamming them , is there no way to build and put a large diameter wire cage over the nozzle end to stop this? , seems very simple to me , then smaller rocks could get thru and sand and block the larger ones that clog the hose , im not a gold dredger but this sure seems better then running a open ended hose that sucks up everything

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  7. Isn't it time to fire things up in Nome? It is 93F here in the Tropics and from NOAA they say the ice should be out of Nome any day now... whats up? Plans and pixs please.