May 23 2008Another Day In Coober…

May 23 2008Another Day In Coober…

Above ground hopper on an underground mining operation.  Mining debris is sucked up and into this hopper and when the spring loaded hopper is full the weight causes the mullock or waste rock to drop onto the inverted cone shaped piles.

Above ground hopper on an underground mining operation. Mining debris is sucked up and into this hopper and when the spring loaded hopper is full the weight causes the mullock or waste rock to drop onto the inverted cone shaped piles.

5/23/08: Cold cereal and banana brekkie in the campervan and spent a couple hours updating this trip report.  Got a couple of days behind, but reliving the memories and catching up was fun.  Time to hit the showers…$0.20 for a 4 minute shower.  Water is expensive in Coober Pedy as it’s all done with reverse osmosis treatment.  Water is found 23 miles NE of Coober, 60 meters deep in an artesian formation and piped into town.  Unfortunately it’s salty and reverse osmosis purification seems to be the best answer.  The 50 liter fresh water tanks of my campervan can be filled at the municipal water treatment plant on Hutchison Street for $.20 for 30 liters…really a bargain.

Looked at a few more opal parcels today and then had lunch at John’s Pizza…another delicious Greek gyro, chips and a small Greek salad.  Then packed and shipped my first 6 boxes of opal back to the USA.  It’s always a good feeling to buy good opal and get it in the mail heading back home.  Unfortunately the shipping bill was about AU$500.00…but it’s worth it not to have to process our stones through customs, via an expensive customs broker.

Looked at more opal today and passed on the lot…individual opal pieces were a bit too small.  I try to find stones that are medium/small to large sizes.  The smaller stones can be cut and are very bright for the most part, but for the average hobby cutter and jeweler…larger sizes are more in demand.  I myself like the challenge of the irregular shaped stones for carving and have been known to steal the odd stone for use in our home studio opal carving classes.  Another quiet night at the Opal Inn Caravan Park.