Yes, Emerald, Sapphire and Rubyvale are all names of towns here in the Gemfields of Central Queensland and we have had some fun as novice fossickers. Forget Easter eggs, we went searching for Thunder eggs and found quite a few. Thunder eggs, to the uninitiated, are nodule-like rocks which formed within volcanic ash layers millions of years ago. They come in various shapes and sizes and it’s only on splitting them that you really appreciate what’s inside. As in the movie Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re gonna get, but Mike was pretty happy with his!
Next we tried our luck at finding sapphires. We had hoped to get first hand experience of digging and finding sapphire at a Designated Fossickers Area but it hasn’t stopped raining for two days and the area has been closed off. We had to contend instead with buying a $25 Gem Bag of pre-washed grit and using our keen eyes, a torch and tweezers, pick the gems out in the comfort of our motor home. Our wash contained over 30 little sapphire chips, mostly green or blue in colour, but none that would make us rich!!! We aim to go back to Armfest again tomorrow and buy another bag and ask them to check that we didn’t miss any carats in our first lot!
Our pootling adventures this week have been quite varied. We spent a few days in Mackay and whilst out cycling the Bluewater Trail came across a street that could have come straight out of an episode of Wanted Down Under. The houses were all huge, a bit too perfectly manicured, they backed onto the beach and would have been outside most families’ means! Still, one can dream!
We cycled the Pineapple Trail in Yeppoon without seeing a single pineapple but we did buy a tasty one at the Sunday market in Emu Park. This week we have seen a sculpture that sings, poignant ANZAC Memorials, fabulous street art and a huge shell collection. We love the public swimming lagoons we’ve seen at Airlie Beach, Mackay and Yeppoon – the latter having an infinity pool overlooking the beach. We gave Bobby Dazzler’s Cafe a miss in Rubyvale and instead frequented Muggachinos where an Austrian man served his own homemade Apple Strudel! Mike thought it was very good!!!
It may surprise you to know that the dilapidated structure in the next photograph is actually the original East Coast monument marking the Tropic of Capricorn. We’ve spent two and a half months in the tropics – yes it has been hot and humid but we have loved it. Sadly only seven weeks of pootling left to go.