So where is Nome Alaska? The red dot at 64°30′14″N 165°23′58″W (click the link then click on the zoom (+) buttom for details) marks the spot - either fly, take a boat else a dog sled... there are no roads to Nome.
Nome Alaska is the gateway to the Northwest Passage's starting point else finishing point depending your your direction of travel. A Northwest Passage is a sea route between the Pacific Ocean's Bering Strait Arctic Circle and the Atlantic Ocean's Davis Strait Arctic Circle. There are seven well recognized routes depending on sea ice. But all routes start or finish at the Arctic Circles (Latitude 66.5622°N) in the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
What you might not know is there is a real gold rush happening in Nome Alaska today. With the price of gold climbing to $1800 an ounce many a prospector from the lower 48 states has come North searching for a dream cache of gold.
DREDGING NOME MAN'S LAND is a first hand account of a family from Kentucky who build a gold dredge in Kentucky, shipped it in a steel shipping container to Nome and has built a home base in Nome to go after the gold in the Bering Sea.
All of you NW Passage adventurers, be sure to stop in Nome during your Northwest Passage transit - you will be glad you did. Contact the harbormaster 24 hours before arrival at telephone 907-443-6619 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with ETA, crew details and vessel particulars. If this is your first or last USA port of arrival/departure you will be required to formally clear in/out of the country.
Port of Nome fact sheet and map: http://www.nomealaska.org/egov/docs/1370376069_182495.pdf
Enter the Palmer Family affair - a dredge named KY GOLDENROD
Dredging Nome Man's Land
One (Kentucky) Family's Experience of Mining for Gold Offshore Nome, Alaska
by Wendy D. Palmer
Finding gold in the Bering Sea offshore Nome, Alaska, is the 'hardest easy money one will ever make.'
Gold lies under the icy waters waiting to be found in the mix of seafloor sediment. What's seemingly simple takes a great deal of character, perseverance, and skill to get this job done! Read about the Palmer family from Kentucky who travel thousands of miles to this remote destination in lure of fortune and adventure inside the modern-day Nome Gold Rush.
272 pages - $21.99 (paperback)
This book is also available for purchase as an eBook download.
$15.99 (digital download)
- - - blog snip - - -
Gold Diving From KY Goldenrod offshore Nome
The KY Goldenrod lost her arm this past summer 2012 while in Nome. The conditions in the Bering Sea simply do NOT allow for the smooth operations with a mechanical arm. The seafloor is filled with cobble, rock, and heavy black sands. The arm was set up to do the job that a diver can do; move rock and suction beneath for gold. However, our crew simply could not keep the boat from shifting away from the dig site during mining (something spud bars are excellent for, but would surely sink our operation). So, off with the arm.
We are converting our dredge into a 10" suction nozzle diver operation. Before, we had two 8" hoses leading to two separate sluices aboard. Now, we will have the single 10" suction hose that will vacuum the contents of the seafloor and be equally divided and emptied into the two sluice boxes.
I will be in Nome this coming summer, and am looking very forward to it! I am a certified scuba diver and have done a great deal of diving in the past. However, operating a 10" suction nozzle is extremely physically demanding, and very dangerous. I will NOT be diving. My brother, Tom, will be diving and we will be looking for one more diver to join our team this upcoming summer. We've had a lot of interest from people, but have not yet chosen anyone.
Posted by Wendy Palmer at 5:30 AM (OMG she must do her best work so early - some of us are night owls - writing at night while listening to CoasttoCoastam.com talk radio... wait until she gets a taste this summer of Alaska's Midnight Sun... in Nome Alaska no less... :-) lol)
Last season was not a good gold season for us, as the weather was unrelenting, there were many changes and repairs necessary to our dredge and we also had to set up residence in Nome and rebuild KY Goldenrod. Here's what we did do:
1) Obtained permit to allow road frontage (driveway) on to residential lot in Nome.
2) Had gravel (200 truck loads) delivered and spread over lot.
3) Moved residential container #1 to property.
4) Made temporary living quarters inside container #1 (installed fresh water system with pump, installed electric service, installed gray water waster system inside container, made arrangements for port-a-pot delivery on lot).
5) Completed container #1 with flooring, electrical outlets, light fixtures, walls, insulation and ceilings.
6) Added two exterior doors and three windows to containers.
7) Removed boat and boat parts from container #2.
8) Moved container #2 to lot.
9) Welded containers #1 and #2 together to make one larger container (cut out adjoining wall between both containers for central living room).
10) Reassembled Goldenrod and completed electrical wiring.
11) Launched Goldenrod.
12) Performed sea trials on boat for performance and handling and corrected issues (remove weight from front of boat).
13) Ordered and installed new gearing for both water pumps on boat.
14) Re-engineered and rebuilt sluice boxes on boat.
15) Corrected the belt-slip problem on water pumps.
16) Conducted numerous trials with mechanical arm to enable it to mine properly (unsuccessful).
17) Converted boat to 8-inch suction hose dive boat.
18) Reworked systems on boat to perform more ergonomically.
19) Built clean-up system for boat (to clean out sluices and capture gold).
20) Made 120 bottles of wine (30 with freshly picked Nome tundra blueberries).
21) Performed several clean outs.
22) Packed up.
23) Gathered firewood from Nome beach and installed stove in container.
24) Acquired and recuperated from back injuries (both Dad and Tom).
USCG safety inspection of dredge GOLDENROD with the builder/operator Thomas Palmer
(See more: http://northwestpassage2012.blogspot.com/2012/08/port-of-nome-alaska-voluntary-dredge.html)
Thomas Palmer II with his son, Tom Palmer (III?)
This coming Summer 2013 will be a much different story for KY Goldenrod, as we've only a few changes to make before getting the gold!
THANKS WENDY FOR YOUR GREAT BLOG AND HARD WORK TO PRODUCE A FUN BOOK TO READ AND LEARN ABOUT WHAT IT REALLY TAKES TO GO ALL THE WAY FROM KENTUCKY TO NOME ALASKA TO CHALLENGE THE NORTH TO GIVE UP HER GOLD ON THE BERING SEAFLOOR.
More details to follow... I'm reading the book each night... thanks for your kind words.
Is there really gold in Nome?
AngloGold-De Beers (remember De Beers diamonds?) partnership offers US$7M for offshore leases in Nome Alaska state auction. (http://2knowabout.blogspot.com/2012/09/20120830-bering-sea-gold-draws-global.html)
Take a look for yourself - this crew grossed over one point three million dollars ($1,300,000.00) in the 100 day 2012 ice-free season.... here is just one clean-out picture.
Maybe you should go prepared to go gold mining... before challenging the Northwest Passage. Why? You will have a boat to operate and live on for starters. Be careful if your boat is of foreign registry - it is not allowed to work in the USA. The penalty may be forfeiture - OUCH!!!
Also because you will be in the right place at the right time... but will you have the "right stuff" remains to be seen... but just in case you want to know the highlight history of Nome consider these facts:
On one hand it could be extremely crowded with 97 dredges and 31 support craft in the Port of Nome during the 2012 ice-free season. Thank goodness for the small river tidal zone anchorage.
The "Bima" - the name might refer to a Polynesian goddess or to a Dutch company that commissioned the dredge in 1976 to mine tin off Malaysia - chugs away, day and night, bringing up bucket after bucket of Norton Sound sand and gravel off of Nome Alaska.
And gold. (The 12,000 ton (360' x 98' x 21' hull was 14-story tall) dredge BIMA with a crew of 124 persons working 24x7 with 30 foot buckets lifting between 10,000 – 20,000 tons per day of sand and gravel round-the-clock from depths of 20 – 60’ with her bucket conveyor system, in spite of the heavy ocean swells.) Last year (1987), its first full season, the Bima recovered 36,400 ounces of gold fetching $450 per ounce, said WestGold general manager Robert Prescott.
(Fast forward to 2012 - gold has been as high as $1800 per ounce which makes a single season of 36,400 ounces worth about $65,520,000.)
(Bima worked offshore at Nome from 1987 to 1990. It produced 3.67 t (118,078 oz) of gold at an average recovered grade of 824 mg/m3 (0.0204 oz/cu yd))
(Lets do some math... @$36/cu yd x 100cu yds/day = $3600/day?) A 3" dredge can move 10-20 tons (let say 10 cu yds/hour so 100 cu yds requires 10 hours of seafloor diving time dredging each day - 2-3 divers would be a good plan. With a 100 day ice-free season with 60 workable days optmistic that means it is possible to make $3600/day x 65 days = $216,000.00 gross revenue - is it worth the risks and hard work for you and your partner(s)?
Do you have a mining lease lined up or are you going to base your season on mining off of the public designated land? You and how many others? Suction dredging on public land has horsepower limits. Where are you going to sleep and eat? You can see there are many questions that needs to be answered before running North to Nome Alaska... search for answers to your questions online... start here: http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/nome/
Sorry for the sad news - May 31, 2013 was the filing deadline. If you are going to learn to pay the game you need to learn the rules. How about next year? You should fly up this year for a week and find your way around town - try your hand with a gold pan on the public mining beach - think of it as a backpacking adventure vacation.
So how many cubic yards do you need to process to make it worth your time and trouble? I'll let you decide... hobby or business?
Do you now understand why dredge KY GOLDENROD is using a 10" dual engine failover dredge on their private mining property. Just do the math... what does one day of break-down cost you? There are no major parts in Nome... boy do you have plenty to learn... money talks and BS walks... lol
Over the decades, Nome has given up five million ounces of gold, according to the federal Minerals Management Service, which has no estimate of how much gold might be in federal waters where 175,000 acres have been leased."
Good Fishing !
PUT ON NOTICE— Signs at East Beach across from Swanberg’s Dredge inform the public that mining on Sitnasuak land is prohibited. The Dept. of Natural Resources, Sitnasuak Native Corporation and Bering Straits Native Corporation have erected the signs to educate beach users of the do’s and don’ts when using the beach.