and Home of
Operating Tourmaline Mine
In the World Renowned
Pala Gem Mining District
A Recent Trip Review - May 2007
This morning, bright and early, I joined internet faceter friend Robert Winfield and his daughter Allie for a day at the Ocean View Mine.
We drove up Highway 76, from Oceanside, Ca. into the Pala Indian area, and up the hill from Magee Road. Check in was smooth, and a mandatory data sheet was completed before we drove onto mine property. Once there, parking was very easy, and close to where we screened.
There was ample and pleasant assistance directing us to a screening spot after parking. Each individual was assigned a work space which included a pair of screens, both 1/2 and 1/4 inch, a bucket, and a small garden hand tool to move dirt and rocks. Between every two stations was a bucket of clean water, (for now) within which to rinse off screened material. This was quite adequate, and very efficient.
This all formed a greater outside circle, within the center of which was a rather large pile of virgin fresh tailings. Blasting within the mine is done on Saturday, and the material on the floor from the blast is taken by back hoe and placed on the pile. None of this material has previously been gone through. The mine owners are happy to offer this material to we wo come up there to look for treasures.
A preliminary talk is given to all attendees, basically showing how to spread the material, screen it, and what to look for within our screens. Everyone begins at the same time and with the same opportunities for discovery. My very first bucket full yielded a lovely aquamarine, my best find of the day.
You work at your own pace, and strengths. This is not hard work, just shovel tailings into your bucket, carry it maybe 8 feet back to your screening station, and go from there. I guaranty you the piles of dirt below other peoples screening areas were far taller than mine, I felt as I more than got my money's worth. Yes age, weight, and strength do enter into the equation, I have nothing to gripe about.
For persons living outside of the Southern California area, this is a great place to include within a vacation. Right down the road is the Pala Casino Hotel, with tons of amenities, a bit father away there are many wonderful and reasonable places to stay. San Diego County is a prime vacation area, and with good reason.
There were tours into the mine, and today, I did not join any, many did and enjoyed the experience. Weather was perfect, and a wonderful time was had by all. Many were the shrieks of "look what I found." There were great and valuable pieces found, Spodumene, Tourmaline, Beryl, Aquamarine, wonderful color, and for specimen collectors, impressive terminated quartz, feldspar, and oligoclase as well as wonderful Mica Books. (NOTE: MINE TOURS HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY A HISTORICAL DISTRICT DUNE BUGGY TOUR.)
The $60 fee, includes everything above, unlimited Buckets of screening material, a nice covered picnic area, plenty of ice cold water, and even some home grown oranges and tangerines.
They begin to wind down at 3 PM, and for me, that was a full day.
I personally want to thank the crew and all the wonderful assistants willing and able to identify finds, and generally be of great assistance.
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