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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Underbelly of KY Goldenrod

The KY boys (my Dad and brother) will be making some changes first thing this upcoming season to Kentucky Goldenrod.  They will be converting her to a 10" suction dredge boat.   In doing so, they will be removing the two 8" suction hoses first.  These two hoses will be replaced by one 10" suction hose with a swivel head (to maneuver more easily on the seafloor).  We've got the 10" hose in Kentucky now, and it is very heavy and cumbersome.  Dad just received the 10 inch power jet and diffuser today and is working hard to figure a way to ship the hose, power jet and diffuser up to Nome (the most inexpensive way).  He and Mom are potentially planning to leave early for Nome (in early May).  Mom is interested in driving up to Anchorage to see the beautiful scenery along the way (most notably in Banff National Park) along the Alaskan Highway.

                                                Lake Louise, Banff National Park in Canada


  1. Your mom is on the right road - Alberta is spectacular.... and the entire scenery is amazing to see and experience... take your time driving... rather than rushing I would encourage you to stop offen and smell the flowers along the way.

    10" hose is heavy and hard to handle - even in the water by A DIVER... rocks can be prevented from entering your hose with a single bar across the nozzle - of course your father already know this... and for increased suction through put has increased the hose size - not because he is down there man-handling that darn hose... your brother has that exhausting physical task.

    Suction dredge mining means optimizing the details every season... while keeping everything running - don't forget those repair parts - sounds like you are still working on season one in 2013 - this is your critical season after investing your life savings in 2012 - I think you should of considered putting 100 days of dual or single 8" hose dredging on GOLDENROD before making such a major change but you tried to make it work in 2012 with 'greenhorns' - machine or experience challenges or likely a combination of both? Its never easy... thats why so many people give up. Its the hardest thing they have ever done... of course you ask key questions when hiring your single point of failure 'diver' like "have you ever worked diving before"? 99.9% will answer "no". Guess you get what you can find in Nome,,, or are you hiring outside and flying your diver into Nome?

    Single points of failure - be sure to analyze and plan accordingly.

    Good dredging in 2013!

    Underway to our home port in Astoria Oregon
    Sent from Bocas del Toro Panama

  2. Hello Doug,

    Yes, learning from mistakes of ours and others and optimizing the details are so important in the up and down business of dredging for gold in the Bering Sea. I understand your point about sounding like we are still on season one this year...the reason we are going to go ahead with the 10" hose conversion is that Kentucky Goldenrod is currently out of the water and housed at the Nome Harbor. She's primed to be worked on as soon as we get there in May, rather than launch her, dredge with 8" hose until inclement weather, then pull her back out of the water and then do the conversion. We were going to have to replace our 8" hose anyway as it was slightly damaged and continued to become clogged. You are right though, if we are not to relive last season, we've got to increase our seafloor dredging time. That's going to make a real difference.

    As for divers...we've had a great deal of interest, but have yet to choose a diver yet. There is some debate about that. My brother wants to wait and the rest of us want to proceed with hiring a diver/deckhand. It is clear to me that we should find a confident, dependable and trustworthy person (or two) to join us on Kentucky Goldenrod. We need the manpower. It's a grueling job and, although the KY boys are quite capable of all of the tasks at hand and ongoing, they need help in order to keep the operation running more than 4-5 hours a day. Plain and simple. In my opinion, it is a HUGE mistake not to plan ahead for the manpower we so desperately need. There are several people that I have gotten information from that would be quite suitable for the job, and are eager to work. When I say suitable, I mean that they are experienced underwater divers in poor visibility and icy cold water (all with hefty work ethics).

    You sure do get around in The Grey Goose!
    Wendy Palmer