BootsnAll Travel Network

Feb 20th – Sapphire

Airlie Beach 025

Originally uploaded by roupiesontour

With names like Emerald, Rubyvale and Sapphire you know you are in the middle of the gemfields. Miners are an interesting sort and you find some real characters out here in the wilderness. If you have the time it must be great fun getting a map and going out on your own to find gems galore. We only had one day so we choose the slightly crazed Bobby Dazzler and had a tour around his working mine. The kids were unsure when we had to wear hair nets with our hard hats but our wonderful guide was so full of stories and funny quotes that we were all laughing soon, sometimes a bit uneasily with tales of what had been found underground.

The kids had great fun in the afternoon – in the baking heat fossicking for gems from a huge sack of dirt or “wash”. You get the huge sack and have to go through a process of washing and sieving through all the muck to spot the gems.They both found some sapphire chips but unfortunately not enough to go home in first class, just with some more great memories.

The scenery here changes surprisingly, there are more open spaces and fields. If this is due to farming or just the nature of the landscape I do not know. The sky also seems to go on forever – a massive painting of blue with fluffy white clouds – the kind that are flat on the bottom and like marshmallows on the top. It’s almost as if you could jump from one to the other.

There are so many more creeks as you come farther north – I love the names. We have been over (with no crocodile spotting) Ginger Beer Creek, Alligator Lagoon and GinGin Creek – if someone sees a funny name we have been taking turns in trying to guess it.

I must also give a mention to the lovely man at the tourist info in Emerald. Again he was full of stories and information that you could easily spend all afternoon there just chatting. As soon as you say you are from England everyone assumes that you want to emigrate and can’t quite understand that you might not want to live with the threat of drought, the bugs and the heat, bloody pomms what do we know!!

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