I think we all came here not quite knowing how successful we would be. We were hopeful and within about an hour of our initial search, I came across a really beautiful specimen, about two kilograms, broken into two pieces. It was a beautiful specimen shaped like a projectile, almost like a bullet: oriented, weathered, but with great character. And I think that for me it took the pressure off of finding meteorites, which was awesome because I really wanted to find a meteorite when I came here and I think it got the group all geared-up and inspired. Within about 15 or 20 minutes, another member of our group, Tom, found a beautiful specimen, a big chondrite, and a couple more people showed up with specimens. Within about one or two hours of us starting our search we were gung-ho and on our way. And as it turned out, everyday of our search, people found specimens and I think we ended up with probably over a hundred specimens. It was just an unbelievably successful week.
We all had a good time, and everyone was very willing to help. So, I’m the new guy and at the first couple of hours I had not a clue what I was doing, walking around looking for dark stuff on the ground and there’s a lot of “meteorwrongs” and a lot of “hey what’s this?” But once you get the hang of it and you know what you’re looking for, it was fun. People were great, they were helpful. It was a good time.
I brought my metal detector along and I ended up with 40 meteorites altogether, from a couple hundred grams to grain-size ones. It was just so cool to dig that stuff up and think “my gosh, this has been in outer space, and here it is."
[Holds up luxury red wine] Firstly, this is a famous French grape. It is one of the finest wines I’ve tasted in years and it is only in Chile. Second, I didn’t think for a second, having been on a meteorite hunt before, that I would find anything in a week; you could give me a month and I won’t find anything. I come to Chile and I immediately observe two of my fellow hunters nailing a couple of the most amazing meteorites I’ve ever seen in my life and I am thinking maaaaay-be just maybe. And then my brother, Gus, calls me out and he goes “Bill, can you come and check this out?” And on my way over I trip over the most massive meteorite and it’s unthinkable and I still to this moment don’t believe that I actually tripped over an incredible meteorite.
So what do I think? I think that if you are into meteorite hunting, there is nowhere else to go than Chile and the only thing I would say is be brave, go deep, and go long and you will score.
Chile is gorgeous. It’s a beautiful country, unprecedented amount of meteorites everywhere – we should not have done as nearly as well as we did. The people here are amazing, the group we hunted with are amazing, Steve Arnold is amazing, every little hunch that we followed of his payed off. I think we would have been happy going home with the amount of meteorites we found on day one, and we just kept topping ourselves. There wasn’t a single day where someone didn’t find meteorites and that’s unheard of – it’s unheard of! You could go hunting anywhere in this world for a month on an expedition and not come back with the amount of meteorites that we have come home with. Every piece I found has a sentimentality to it – the way it was found, the people we found it with – it just makes it all so special. I can’t thank Steve Arnold enough.