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Monday, June 27, 2016

Our first week away didn't turn out like we'd planned...

... but fortunately that was not a bad thing!  We had planned to go to Nuga Nuga National Park and Salvator Rosa (between Springsure and Tambo) but there were a couple of inches of rain through that area the day we left and all the access roads were dirt.  Our plan B for Nuga Nuga was Lonesome National Park, as the campground is before the road turns to dirt.  It was rather bleak going down into the Arcadia Valley on Sunday afternoon, but the forecast said it should be clear the next day.

The sun started coming out on Monday but we didn't want to chance getting bogged on dirt, so we packed up the tent and decided to head straight to Springsure and then onto the Gem Fields.
View of the Arcadia Valley
We don't have all the usual fossicking equipment this year so Dazz and Nathan are 'specking' - looking for sapphires on the ground.  A few inches of rain is great for specking because it washes a layer of dust off the stones and makes the sapphires easier to see... well for some people, anyway!  Dazz and Nathan are two of those people, and after a couple of days Nathan found a beauty.  It weighed in at 31.6 carats, so of course we had to go to Sapphire yesterday to give it to the cutter (and get some spring rolls at the markets).

He also found an unusual (small) stone that didn't look like zircon or quartz, which he brought back to show Uncle Dazza.  General consensus was that it looked like a diamond crystal, but we weren't sure.  We arranged to meet the cutter at the markets so she didn't have her magnifying glass, but told us to take it up to the Rubyvale Gem Gallery, as they have a little machine to test for diamonds.  They tested it with the machine and there was suddenly a lot of interest in this little match-head sized pebble brought in by a 15 year old boy... everyone in the shop gathered around to get a glimpse of a diamond!  It's the second one to be found this week (the other one was in a private mine), but they are not very common.  It weighed in at 0.26 carats.

The boys have another day and a half of specking so we'll see if they come up with anything else.  After that we're heading north to Karumba.  Our plan was to go from here to Lawn Hill, but since we gained a few extra days with our changed plans we decided to take Nathan all the way to the Gulf and see if he's as good at fishing as he is at finding sapphires!
Camped at Glenalva

Monday, June 20, 2016

Catching up on our trip down south

In February/March we went to Victoria to visit family and friends, but it was rather crazy when we got back so no photos ever made it to the blog.  It's finally time to rectify that!

 There had been rain west of Moree and the country was beautiful and green.
 Unfortunately it didn't last long!
 Macquarie Marshes was an oasis in the dry country.
 Through western NSW

The Murrumbidgee at Hay
 Victoria in late February is hot and dry and not very pleasant!

In between the family visits the photographer had a wander around Bendigo.

 After a full week in Melbourne we were back on the Murrumbidgee at Wantabadgery.
 Carcoar Dam near Blayney
We couldn't avoid the Sydney Harbour Bridge - in the rain with the van on the back - to get between friends' houses... yay for the GPS! 
 We had a couple of nights at Yamba on the way home.
And a very pleasant few hours at Lennox Head.