May 26, 2009
Ah! Finally in Nome!
For those unfamiliar, I am Zeke Tenhoff, and with much help from friends, business partners and family, am assembling and launching a gold dredge offshore from Nome, Alaska, and with any luck will be mining until the ocean freezes in november.
The gold dredge in question is essentially a small catamaran raft with a Volkswagen engine powered vacuum and sluice box on board. The operator of the dredge dives to the ocean bottom with the vacuum suction hose and sucks up gold bearing sand and gravel. The sand and gravel runs up the hose, through the sluice box, and exits, leaving behind the gold.
Loading equipment, hauling it to Anchorage and shipping was a logistical nightmare best forgotten – fortuitously I took no pictures.
All of my equipment arrived safely in nome – over four thousand pounds of steel, plastic floats, volkswagen engines, clothes, suction hose, a big black poodle. Isaac, John and myself hauled it all to our dredge staging area on a trailer pulled by a Mighty Subaru Loyale.
As of this post, the dredge is mostly assembled and almost ready to be trailered to the harbor and launched. The harbor is still mostly frozen solid and will be for a few more days; we’ll wait on that. Ice floes are still bumping around a little way off the beach and stirring up sediment the bottom, creating what would be a underwater visibility problem if we were to be diving. Waiting is fine.
Luckily we were given the oppurtunity to live rent-free in a somewhat horrible apartment, under the condition that we mud and tape the drywall, paint, clean incredible cigarette messes, wipe old coffee off the ceiling, fix the toilet, etc. We are busy with impressing our new landlord and getting the place fixed up. Thankfully I’m not living on the beach as I expected to be.