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Steve Herschbach
08-17-2011, 07:38 PM
A random post on this forum led to an invite to Australia to hunt with famous nugget hunter Jonathan Porter. Chris Ralph of the International Califorina Mining Journal and I will meet in LA on the 24th to fly to Perth and meet JP. The generosity of JP and his friends leaves me humbled because of the assistance they and Minelab are lending us for this expedition. We are having a greet and meet in Perth where I hope to make new Aussie friends. Then off to the outback for a month of solid metal detecting. For this kid from Alaska to have the great good fortune of such an experience is beyond my ability to express. I hope we can post a time or two along the way with reports but I will mostly be offline until October. Brian Berkhahn will be lending his aid as a moderator while I am away. Thanks Brian! I have wished to make this trip for over 35 years and so it is somewhat a culmination of the dreams of a lifelong Alaska prospector. Again, my profound thanks to JP and his friends. I have to be one of the luckiest guys on the planet!

Reno Chris
08-18-2011, 08:31 AM
I've been looking forward to this for over a year. What an adventure! Certainly the chance to see and experience many new things. I also wish to thank JP for all his work in setting this up, and his willingness to host a couple of yanks from across the pond. There will be coverage of this in the ICMJ for those who subscribe or otherwise get that magazine.

I am packing up my trailer in the gold country today and heading home to Reno to pack and get ready.

For me, I'll be the first member of my family to return to Australia. My great grandfather was born there.


little man
08-18-2011, 12:50 PM
good luck and good hunting keep us post if you can

08-18-2011, 02:00 PM
Have FUN and prosperity guys! It sounds like a great adventure. Good hunting! Can hardly wait to hear the reports...

08-18-2011, 06:36 PM
That sounds like a great trip! Congratulations.

08-18-2011, 08:37 PM
One thing for sure you will learn the good old Aussie Salute , knocking the flies from your face ! I wish you all the best and look forward to your reports from Down Under.

08-18-2011, 10:26 PM
I am pleased that you are going for 1 month, I think you would be wasting your time for anything less.

08-18-2011, 10:59 PM
Jealous!!!! Ha ha have the time of your life! My dream is alaska! too many crawly things down under. I'd rather just be eaten on the spot!

Steve Herschbach
08-19-2011, 06:13 AM
I will be very surprised if the flies approach half of what we see in Interior Alaska. All you hear about is mosquitos but they are no bother at all compared to the flies. Ours bite, and for people who are allergic to them the results can be very nasty. I have seen people with dozens of open sores that last a month or two. The white socks are the worst although I have never had a bite more painful then when a horsefly bit me on top of my head! http://www.adn.com/adn/intern/hollybugs.html

But good reminder I will pack my headnet.

08-19-2011, 06:58 AM
Enjoy your trip Steve.

08-19-2011, 08:57 AM
It's a different experience than mosquito's, head net may work. Don't forget your power inverters. It's a big place so don't try and see it all or you wont get to know any of it. Have a GREAT time.

Steve Herschbach
08-19-2011, 11:18 AM
Thanks everyone for the best wishes.

Other than a couple days in Perth to supply up and brief resupply trips to small towns I will see nothing but the outback. I can't think of anything else I would want to see or do in Australia that would be worth giving up a single day of detecting. This is not a vacation, it is a business trip. I am on the trip to make money. If I make enough to cover all expenses and pay myself a good wage I get to go back next year. I enjoy detecting but when I do it I work very hard at it, and I plan on working very hard indeed on this trip. I will be into it for a $1500 round trip ticket, $1000 vehicle expense for the month, couple days stay in Perth (room and meals), a tent, cot, sleeping bag etc. purchased in Perth, and food and general supplies for the month. Under $4000. If I can't in a month find enough gold at $1800 an ounce to cover that expense and make more than I make in a month sitting behind this desk something will be terribly wrong. If it were just me going on my own for the first time I'd not be thinking that way. But given who we are going with I do not think I am being unrealistic. I am quite confident in my ability to find gold with a metal detector. All I need is access to good ground, and that is what this trip is all about. We are headed for what JP calls "tiger country".

I usually set goals. My goal for 2011 was 24 troy ounces (two troy pounds). I am well shy of that at 6 ounces. Ganes was a tougher go this year, and my 40 Mile trip was a total bust. I figured I would have a pound by now so am well short. I hate not meeting my goals so I am going to bust my posterior trying to come home with 18 ounces or more. I will be happy with 6 ounces or more. But I'm due for a little luck so we will see.

There was talk of a visit to Minelab and a film crew following us around, etc. Be fun stuff for sure but not what I am there to do. The only thing on the agenda outside of prospecting is a get together at a prospecting shop to meet the local prospectors, and that I'm definitely up for. The next best thing to prospecting is hanging out with other prospectors.

Pretty soon I have to decide what I am doing in 2012. I'm thinking of running the 6" for at least a month, maybe more. I might put in a month at Ganes Creek. Or maybe a month up at Nome detecting in the back country. If this trip is successful maybe back for another month in Australia. I would normally be firmer in my plans for 2012 by now but am hanging loose yet to see how this trip works out.

Steve Herschbach
08-21-2011, 12:08 AM
My costs have already been quoted. It helps to share resources with others. There may be unforeseen expenses - there always are. When all is said and done I will add it all up and figure the profit. Expect a report back here. No profit, no return. That simple, though with a caveat. I do not mind losing money prospecting just to learn something. Like my 40 Mile trip this summer. I learned I will be going somewhere else in 2012. But I am not inclined to lose money twice in a row unless the first money loser convinces me I have used up my mistakes. I can have fun making money or have fun losing money and I have long since decided it is more fun making money having fun.

I appreciate any effort made to make us feel welcome. I hope to trade lies with Aussie prospectors soon!!

Reno Chris
08-21-2011, 12:17 AM
We will have a grand time no matter what we find, no question about it.

As far as results - hunting poorly explored areas may yield great or not so great results. I am sure if the results in the new areas are poor enough, we'll quickly be moving out to work the better known regions.

Steve is not too far off on his vehicle estimations - we have special arrangements for transportation. If we were renting from a normal commercial vehicle for hire shop - you would be right that his estimations are too low. We wont be staying many nights in Perth - two on arrival to get our feet under us after a 40+ hour transit time (about 22 hours in the air for me) and possibly one night when we are departing.

08-21-2011, 12:57 AM
Tag some GPS quardenets for us hahaha.

Steve Herschbach
08-21-2011, 01:40 PM

08-21-2011, 05:41 PM
Good Luck Steve, Chris, you will have a good time and do well too..........Geo

08-23-2011, 11:24 AM
Steve & Chris, I praying that you'all have a "safe" & "productive" trip. Also, say "G'Day Mate" to JP. Two (2) pounds of nuggets would be nice! Thanks, RuffandTuff.

08-24-2011, 07:50 PM
Good Luck Steve and have a fair dinkum adventure! Be sure to mark down the treasure spots on a map so your Alaska buddies can learn the secret spots next time we have one of those late night get togethers. Ha!

Reno Chris
08-26-2011, 06:22 AM
Through the magic of the internet. I am here in Perth in a hotel room getting ready to head out in the next day or two. Steve and I have successfully met up with Jonathan - he met us in the airport at our final destination of Perth. All seems to be going just wonderfully. We’ve met some of the other folks whom we will be working with and they are very nice, we visited and had a few laughs together. Tomorrow, Reed's, the local prospecting shop will be holding send off barbeque for us.

Will take lots of photos, no dry washing this trip - just detecting.
I have lost sleep over the last several days preparing before we took off.
Will treat the vegemite like a dangerous snake and try to avoid it.
I've seen plenty of posts about other folks' trips to Australia, Alaska, etc. that I wished I could have been a part of, glad to be a a part of this one.

Thanks for all your well wishes, Will post photos as internet service is available


08-26-2011, 02:20 PM
Glad you two got there safely...any problems with the TSA and li-ion batteries or control box? Good luck and GOOD hunting!

Jim Hemmingway
08-26-2011, 07:39 PM
Chris thanks for getting in touch, I was hoping for a chance to wish you the very best on this trip. Please say "howdy" to your pardner for me. Have a great time, good luck and good hunting....be safe...:)


08-29-2011, 05:17 PM
Will treat the vegemite like a dangerous snake and try to avoid it.

Ah ..... true words of wisdom !

08-29-2011, 06:26 PM
Lots of Pictures will help the rest of us that can't be there. Dave

08-29-2011, 11:25 PM
I think you're on to something Minermike. I've been to Cairns and Sydney and once only looked at a jar of Vegemite, and 19 years later I am also losing my hair! I am sure that old age. stress, and an ever-present hat have nothing whatever to do with it...

08-31-2011, 08:05 PM
Wonderful trip! Also awaiting results. Alaska is big BUT Australia is big. Seen some trips there on the Outdoor Channel. Watch the GPAA every saturday morning, unless it is a rerun. Only got 7.1 DWT this year working Alaska on the weekends. Have a good trip Steve! Dan

08-31-2011, 08:47 PM
Perhaps we are missing something Minermike, but I'm unwilling to do the research to find out!

Stay safe,

09-02-2011, 04:41 AM
Good Luck Steve, Chris and JP, hope I can get home some day and give it a try myself,

JP, My sister in Laws uncle was the man who pressented Bruce Candy with that award
as her Brother is John Clunies-Ross,

Anyway you guys have a ball and we await your up dates,


09-04-2011, 09:06 PM
other than hearin vergimite sandwich in a men at work song, i had no idea it actually was like, ahhh you know, something.

09-06-2011, 06:30 PM
Hooray for you, Steve!!!! Believe it or not, you are high profile in prospecting circles. Now, you can be the one to show the Aussies around AK after partaking of their generosity for the month of October. Have a ball and enjoy Perth. My inlaws were there last week and they said to bring extra change 'cause the city isn't cheap. How about $3.50 for a Krispy Creame donut??


09-07-2011, 10:10 AM
You haven't missed much. It's been raining here in Wales for the last 2 weeks - the heavy rain that bounces off the ground and gets your crotch wet lol.

09-08-2011, 12:56 PM
Hey this is great. Can't wait for the video's. For us who may nerver make it to Australia..

09-21-2011, 05:58 PM
Anyone heard anything from Steve yet? Dave

09-21-2011, 06:16 PM
Probably too busy having fun and digging nuggets! lol

Brian Berkhahn
09-21-2011, 06:23 PM
Nobody has.. hopefully he's just having to much long overdue fun. I heard that he might possibly be back around the 1st of next month.

Reno Chris
09-30-2011, 08:54 AM
We arrived back yesterday, the 29th, after a whole lot of time in the air and sitting around in airports. Today is Steve's anniversary, so I'll bet he is spending some time with his wife, but I am sure he will post here soon.

Brian Berkhahn
09-30-2011, 09:16 AM
That is great news! Glad to hear you all made it back safe and sound.. hopefully with pockets FULL of gold.

09-30-2011, 10:25 AM
Wecome back Chris!

Looking forward to hearing how the trip went, how did you do in the outback with your GPX 5000 and any big gold nuggets you or Steve found with JP....Tyrie

Reno Chris
09-30-2011, 04:20 PM
I dont want to steal Steve's thunder, but I'll post a few things until he gets around to putting up his own comments. We had a fine time with JP and the other people we spent time with were great as well. The weather was beautiful and the geology different and fascinating. We saw a lot of country, the gold was fun and Steve got his first piece within minutes of turning on his detector. However, while we got good amounts, the total weights were less than spectacular for everyone. Part of it was that we spent time prospecting new areas and really found nothing in those places - but you cant make a big strike looking in the same old places. The other part of the equation is that there are zillions of folks out there looking for gold and pounding the old patches to eke out the last crumbs. The photo shows Steve out detecting in Western Australia.

09-30-2011, 05:26 PM
Well Done Chris n Steve glady you did well and had a great time.....Will be down your way sometime towards the last of Oct...Geo

10-03-2011, 03:26 PM
Glad to hear that you both had a fun and safe trip. I bet the nuggets were pretty and I can hardly wait for detail!!!

Steve Herschbach
10-04-2011, 01:40 PM
Hi All,

Post away Chris. I am laying low a bit getting back into the groove of things but will be up and posting soon. It was a great trip indeed but as you noted the gold was harder to come by than I had hoped. Other than that though hard to imagine a better time. The only thing I wish I had done different was get a better sleeping pad under my tired old bones.

I must note that Jonathan was a perfect host. Amazingly so. Thanks Jonathan!

Jonathan Porter
10-08-2011, 03:13 AM
G'day everyone, am camped on the side of the road just outside of Adelaide after driving 2500 KLMs in 2 days with 3 or 4 days in Adelaide then another 2000+ road KLMs to go before I finally get home to see my family again after 3 months away.

The trip with Steve and Chris was brilliant in spite of the lack of kilos of gold found, I suppose it is a testament to the good job I have done in the past on my old patches that the ounces did not stack up. As Chris has said elsewhere he was along for the experience which he got in droves as I endeavored to expose the guys to a different gold spot each and every day, the priority for me was to get Chris over as much different geology as possible.

A few things went against our gold totals a little, one was the fact that we were visiting areas that have been well pounded over the years but also in Chris's case it took him most of the first week to build his stamina up for the long hours required to be successful in the Australian Outback, this was born out by Chris's amazing increase in numbers of nuggets dug in the final stages of the trip where he got his fitness levels and ground coverage and retrieval speeds down to perfection, on one location Steve and I had to force him to move because we were not finding anything compared to his 10 or so nuggets in very short time, seeing how it was the last day for the trip it was decided to move to more productive ground where everyone had a chance to score some gold (BTW Chris I only went back there the once and put in an hour or two and definitely left them biting (I got 6 or so for 3 grams), so whenever you get yourself back over this way again the spot is still yours to detect :-) ).

The other thing that went against Steve a little was his determination to find a patch away from the areas I showed him where gold had come from already. I feel sure Steve would have found a lot more gold if he had 'crumbed' more but the call of the Banded Iron Stone was too strong for him and a lot of his time was spent walking the hills in fresh ground (Chris too a lot of the time). We discussed all of the above at camp a number of times so I feel confident my comments won't be taken the wrong way. Whenever Steve did come in from the wilds he would score a lump or two and often at very good depth, his 15 gram and 10 gram lumps are testament to that, Chris on the other hand did everything right, just did not have the good fortune to get his coil over a decent piece, funnily enough he was the one who did get onto some virgin gold in a new area but with the three of us working the spot it was Steve who came up with the goods. It should also be noted here Steve persevered with the 18" round monos for the majority of the trip so it does not surprise me he got the bulk of the deeper larger gold.

Steve and Chris you are both very welcome back in my camp anytime, there would be few things I would do differently if we did it all again, but one would be to highly recommend getting a thicker mattresses :-) and the other most important thing would be to give you guys more latitude in the selection of areas I chose to detect, in retrospect I tried too hard to get you guys onto 'sure things' each and every day, which meant working in areas with less potential of producing a patch or patches, at the end of the trip you both had your Outback bush skill levels well and truly up for the Australian conditions and were targeting productive areas just like the locals, a sure sign of good things to come.:cool:

It was a very lonely camp when my two American prospecting mates drove off for Perth and the long flight home, thank you both for restoring my faith in people.:)


10-08-2011, 05:03 PM
Hi there JP, Nice one mate. Sounds like Steve & Chris had a ball & enjoyed themselfs & that you were the perfect host, despite them not getting as much AU as they might have hoped. But isnt that always the case LOL :)
I have been pretty quiet on here lately as I havnt been doing any detecting since february but I am down to Central Otago again end of the month so hopefully will have some adventures to share after that.
Enjoy your time back with your family. All the very best & happy hunting.


John :)

10-09-2011, 10:34 AM
Well Said Jonathan, Those are a couple of great guys for sure with lots of good stories..I would have liked to have come myself but was worried a little about a problem I was having which I think has resolved itself.....Anyway we all know Gold is where you find it and it is a tough listening Game....Take Care and Travel
Well George