CFMS Field Trip
Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines in June

by Adam Dean and Shep Koss
CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs - 2008, 2009

My name is Adam Dean And My Better half Teresa Felix in conjunction with Shep Koss helped set up and organize a trip (Shep did most of the correspondence My hats of to him) for two Tourmaline Mines in "Two Days".

As we arrived at the Ocean View Mine Saturday morning we where eagerly greeted by many of our rockhound friends. The day started with a brief orientation from the mine owner, Jeff Swanger. His tips and techniques where observed and very helpful to all. We appreciated the time he took during orientation to set us up for a productive day of fun, sun and pegmatite minerals, then we where off and digging.

At first it was like a fish feeding frenzy, there where shovels and rock moving in every direction, elbow to elbow we franticly sought out our treasures. We dug and dug for hours and before I knew it the day was over. I had such a good time I forgot to stop for lunch; I made up for it on the way home.

I observed many of our friends going home with some fantastic finds. All in All, it was a great day and I look forward to future trips to this very productive, still active pegmatite mine, "The Ocean View."

Best wishes and Better Stones.

Adam Dean
The Agate Hunter
O.B.M.S. Federation Director
C.F.M.S. Co/Chair Field Trip Southern 2008-2009 CA (909) 489-4899

You Hounders seem to love tourmaline!

After five months of planning for a two-day two mine tourmaline trip with limited spaces over 60 of you showed up Saturday for The Oceanview Mine and almost 50 showed up for the Himalaya Mine Sunday. Very few who said they were committed to go didn't show denying those on the waiting list their opportunity.

Hounders attended from the Mexican border up to Carson City/Reno, Nevada area. We drove through heavy rain with many arriving Friday to stay at hotels, casinos and the Lake Henshaw Resort.

Saturday we attended The Oceanview Mine on a warm partly cloudy morning to sign in and pay our fees. After a short orientation by Jeff Swanger, we rushed for the rich tailings pile with material from his three best mines, like ferrets on steroids hauling off, bucket after bucket to sift through looking for colorful gems. And, boy!, were they found!!

Everything from small gemmy pink and green chips to large finger-sized crystals. Many found walnut sized pieces of gemmy green & pink tourmalines, kunzites, quartz crystals and beryls including a sweet bi-color clean beryl going from light blue on one side to pink on the other. I found my best piece to date, which was a complete tourmaline crystal with Clevelandite at the base, twinning and terminated in an eye clean green gemmy portion with a thin blue cap weighing in at 61.7 grams. I saw even larger crystals found by others. Cleaning the Cookite off my find was easy leaving a nicely formed complete crystal.

To make the trip more enjoyable, as if the tour of a working mine wasn't enough, Jeff gave free raffle prizes to lucky CFMS members ranging from rough to faceted gems to a pink and green tourmaline butterfly pendant. Thanks, Jeffl !

For those camping at Lake henshaw Resort, I suffered with you! Whoda thunk there's be 100's of Royal Ranger Christian Scouts on their revivalist retreat with stages, Bands & sermons lasting in to the night?

Thankfully, they were MUCH quieter late Saturday night than they were late Friday. Beautiful campgrounds, though, with cabins, RV parking and plenty of developed campgrounds for tents with a thick canopy of trees.

Also good news is that's where the Himalaya Mine holds their digs through tailings trucked in from their mines. Chris Rose, the owner, came in from his Oregon Spectrum Mine to meet us.

But we also found material! While not as plentiful as the previous day, gemmy facetable pieces were found and more finger sized crystals. Even at the end of the day as we were packing to leave, a lone woman named Bonnie was sitting and sifting through where the tailings pile was killing time when we heard her call out "Is this anything?". We came over to look and some of us said "Nah, toss it." hoping she would. It was a 75 carat gemmy eye clean green crystal cross section they valued at $10/carat as is. Congrats to her persistence! !

All in all it seemed like this trip left many happy hounders and was a success.

Happy Hunting,
Shep Koss - CFMS Field Trip South Co-chair

Check out her blogspot for a report with pics. Two Tourmaline Mines in Two Days:
From: Robyn Hawk

at the mine ,as a reminder to all they can come anytime they want reservations required at we have just hit a new large pocket please see web site for updates thanks again Jeff Swanger owner oceanview mine.

This was the first time our family joined the team in rock hounding! I just want to say that everyone was so helpful and very pleasant. We are new to this and when we asked a question everyone was very helpful. Thank you so much for the great experience. See you next dig!!

The Wolfe Family

We had a great time this weekend. We enjoyed the Oceanview mine the best. Some nice specimens were found. Our car got a flat tire on the way home and this was still a great trip. We'd gone on two previous trips looking for tourmaline, not with rock clubs and did not find much.

Thank you, Barbara Black

College graduations and Lakers' finals are over, so here goes a belated trip report on the CFMS field trips to The Oceanview and Himalaya Mines on June 6 & 7.

The weather on Saturday at The Oceanview Mine in Pala was perfect for some serious dirt screening - in the mid-60's, slightly overcast and a nice breeze. All 64 CFMS guests dove into the huge pile of tailings after mine owner, Jeff, gave his demo and talk.

Jeff had promised me that he spent most of Friday driving his skip loader all over Chief Mountain getting grade A tailings from several of the mines - the Elizabeth R, the Chief and the Oceanview. In the last year, I have been to the Oceanview about 6 times and the tailings this day had the most variety (quartz, beryl, spodumene and tourmaline) and the most goodies I have seen in all the visits.

With this many experienced rockers screening, the tailings pile got lower than I have seen it ever. And, it seemed that in the last hour, people began to find some real treasures that had been settling down in the tailing mound for over a year. Rudy and Hannah Herbert of the Orange Belt club found three large nice tourmalines early in the day. The trip organizer Shep Koss found as extra nice over-300-carat green terminated tourmaline with a twin and some Clevelandite at the base. I was finding numerous small bright pink chips and several small but whole spodumene crystals until a 5 inch perfect quartz point popped out of the pile as I filled my bucket.

I was filling my "give-away bucket" where I throw quartz chunks, schorl and other specimens to use for the Culver City kid's program. As the owner Jeff walked by, he glanced in this bucket and asked why one specimen was in there. Turns out, I found a doubly terminated, bicolored beryl (aquamarine and morganite) with small quartz crystals on the base. The colors were pale - so I just thought it was a somewhat ugly quartz. It was from the 49-er pocket hit the summer before.

Jeff conducted a free raffle with some really nice specimens including a facet grade purple kunzite and several nice sized cut gems.

here were three mine tours to accommodate everyone who was interested.

Sunday dawned a little warmer at the Himalaya gem dig, which is located in the corner of the Lake Henshaw resort. Several of us had stayed overnight at the campgrounds or in the cabins and were ready to go as soon as mine owner Chris Rose (who made a special trip down from his Spectrum Mine in Oregon to be with us) checked us in. I'm not sure he and his staff were ready for 44 serious screeners plus about another dozen walk-in customers (no reservations are needed for the Himalaya).

Since the pile of dirt was disappearing quickly, a dump truck with fresh tailings from the hill near the mine arrived about 11 AM. But, by lunch, we had the pile down to the parking lot. Chris and Denise, who normally runs the dig for him, conducted multiple raffles including cut tourmaline and sunstones, nice tourmaline specimens and even some rough pink opal. I lost count of the number of items, but I think over half of the people there won something.

A second dump truck came after a lunch break and the guys barely had time to empty the truck before buckets were being filled again. Several finger sized tourmaline crystals were found along with nice pencil tourmalines. The best find was apparently made right near the end when the 3rd pile of tailings was worked to the bottom - a 75 carat eye clean green section of tourmaline. My best find was a fist sized schorl that I found along the road before the screening started.

Almost everybody had a good time and left sore and tired. Since there seemed to be an equal number of people who thought they had better finds on Saturday as on Sunday, I think the two day/two mine trip was a great idea. And, for me, the hard work screening paid off much better than the hour spent waiting for a table for dinner at a local casino (who's idea was that, anayway? It was the most expensive "$4.95 Prime Rib" dinner I've ever had after I killed time at a few slot machines).

At the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club meeting that next Monday, 3 people who attended brought in our specimens to share and each of us had found a wide variety from both mines.

Thank you Shep for all your work taking reservations for this trip and thank you to Jeff and Chris for keeping these digs open so the public can come and learn about San Diego's amazing lithium pematites and sometimes come away with some nice specimens.

Ellen Moe
Culver City Rock & Mineral Club

My son Ryan and I started the day with great anticipation, arriving early at the Ocean View Mine. We quickly paid our $60 fee and drove up to the site. While waiting for the fun to begin, rockhounders eyed the leftover tailings of other digs, hoping to find a missed treasure. After what seemed like a long wait, the owners/managers showed everyone the best process for finding gems and then allowed the miners to attack the pile of tailings. Everyone swarmed the small hill with buckets in hand like a flock of buzzards vying for a bite of tasty road kill. It was beautiful weather for hard work and it was challenging to realize you might be getting sunburned.

The filled buckets weighed between 10 and 20 pounds depending on how many large pieces of rock you picked up. I carried about twenty bucket loads before my shoulders began to ache when I tried to lift the bucket to the screens. In the distance, we could hear people exclaim as they found beryl, aquamarine, and tourmaline. Others grumbled as they failed to find anything much larger than their fingertip. I noticed, the wise miners took some time scanning the pile before digging, ensuring then would have a good piece in their bucket; although they did get reprimanded by the owner/managers.

After someone found something extraordinary, they shared the piece with everyone nearby and then the miners attacked that rapidly reduced pile of tailings with renewed enthusiasm, knowing there was a treasure waiting for them in the next bucket.

It was great fun and it was difficult to pull ourselves out of the dirt to go on a mine tour or even eat lunch. The mine tour was well worth the time. After working the tailings, we could only imagine how difficult it must be to work the mine; blasting in the right spots and finding the pockets.

At 3:00 they told us it was time to clean up and leave. I looked down at my mud splattered pants and boots and laughed. It was a fantastic day. For the record, the facilities were very clean and the entire day was very well managed by the Ocean View team. They were friendly and helpful. They also raffled off some great prizes.

Sunday, the group met at the cafe near Lake Henshaw. Shep, as always, tried to coordinate the flock and get them sent off in the right direction. The Himalayan Mine tailings were trucked down to a spot very near Hwy 76. This mining organization was a bit more relaxed but fairly organized, too.

The tailings from this mine included lots more rock and our experience was that we found less material per bucket. But, we did find a few really beautiful gems. I found a gem quality chunk of pick tourmaline that one of the helpers told me could be cut into a 7 carat stone. Fortunately, the buckets were smaller, because my ability to move dirt was not as great as the day before.

At this site the children were finding the best pieces and their parents were offering to rent them out to people who weren't having luck O One young lady found a very small.

San Diego ring necked snake in the tailings that looked something like the picture below.

The raffle prizes at the Himalayan were even better than OceanView and it seemed like almost every group won something.

All in all, a great weekend!

From Michelle Patrick

 Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines

 Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines     Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines

 Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines     Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines

 Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines     Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines


This trip is open to all rockhounds that agree to abide by the AFMS Code of Ethics, the directions of the field trip leader, and practice safe rockhounding. A Consent and Assumption of Risk Waiver of Liability form must be signed upon arriving at the campsite.

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 6 & 7

WHERE: The Himalaya and Oceanview Tourmaline Mines

MATERIAL: Tourmaline, aquamarine, kunzite, morganite, quartz crystals, etc.

WHAT TO BRING: Containers to store your finds. Everything else will be supplied by the mines. Bring food and water.

SPONSORS: CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs

LEADERS: Adam Dean and Shep Koss

OVERNIGHTER: This trip is an overnighter and recommended places to stay are the Lake Henshaw Resort (at the Himalaya site) and the Pala Casino/hotel (near the Oceanview). The two sites are about 30 minutes from each other.

Currently, the combined rates for both mines are $100/person. Again, please visit their websites on specifics concerning children and pets. This rate is subject to change depending on number of attendees. This is open to the first fifty respondants (subject to change on maximum number).

ONLY INFO: Because of no CFMS newsletter for May, please visit the CFMS website for further and developing details. This is the only information available for this trip at this point but more will develop. We consider these the best two and most productive tourmaline mines in the area.

All those attending the collecting trips will be required to fill out a Liability Waiver form.

For further information, please contact:
Adam Dean: (909) 489-4899 or e-mail him:
Shep Koss: (661) 248-0411 (land line) or e-mail:

You should contact us if your interested in participating, The weather can change and without knowing if your going or not we won't be able to give you updates or notify you if the field trip gets cancelled.