Sunday, February 6, 2011

2/6/11 Report - Rill Cove Shipwreck & Moving Sand

4 Real From Rill Cove Wreck for Sale on EBay.

Artificial light can give a strange color to photographed items.

I ran across an interesting site concerning the "Rill Cove Wreck," sometimes referred to as the "Lizard Silver Wreck." It isn't a Treasure Coast wreck, but reading about it is instructive and provides information that anyone hunting the Treasure Coast beaches should know.

The wreck remains a bit of a mystery. What is known is that it was a 17th Century merchantman that wrecked in 1618.

The coins from this wreck are Philip II and III Mexico, Lima and Potosi cobs. The cob shown above was originally purchased from Sedwick Coins.

The web site says that the site of this wreck (the Rill Cove wreck) is one af the hardest in the area to work with enormous movements of sand so much so that the site is now totally unaccessible under no less than 20 feet of gravel and sand, surveys identified the extent of the site but soon the sand started to return and within a few months, it was necessary to dig a hole 50 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep to survey one square metre.

Here is the link if you want to read more of the article.

I talk about sand and it's movement a lot in this blog. One of the big differences between beach (and water) hunting when compared to hunting on stable dry land is the dynamic nature of the environment. Sand moves in the water almost constantly, and just slightly less on the beach.

Of course the front of the beach moves around the most. The sand on the very front of the beach moves almost as much as that in the water. Sometimes it moves more than the sand in the water, depending upon exactly where and how deep the sand is.

On the beach, the further back on the beach the coins are, the less they will be moved and exposed. It takes very high seas for the water to hit the back dunes in most places. Coins can remain buried in the dunes for decades or centuries before being washed out.

Where the waves hit the front beach with a lot of energy, there is a lot of churning and sifting. You can see that at different times, different types of items will be washed up onto the beach. Sometimes it will be small shells, sometimes rocks, sometimes sand and seaweed, and sometimes coins. You can tell a lot by watching what is being washed up and deposited.

Cobs don't just show up on the beach and then lay there for days, weeks, months or years. Items that wash up can disappear just as quickly as they appeared. Sometimes the open window is a matter of a few hours and sometimes weeks.

I've mentioned before one very good hole that I worked for two days and while I was working it, I saw a front move overhead. The wind changed and the next day when I went back to continue working that hole, where there was a target on every square foot of ground, it had all disappeared. It was that quick - going from more than I could dig to nothing.

That is one thing that caught my attention in the article about the Rill Cove Wreck. Discovery depends heavily upon the movement of sand and being in the right place at the right time. The Jupiter Wreck was discovered one morning when the life guard was out for his morning swim, looked down there was a cannon. He'd been in the same spot before, but this time the cannon had been uncovered.

Before that wreck site was being worked by salvage crews, the beach was giving cobs to a few detectorists that worked that frequently worked that beach. (Let me give a shout out to Dave who worked that beach back in the eighties and who I haven't seen for a number of years. While I'm giving shout-outs, I'll also send one out to Arkansas Bill, who used to travel around in his van and sometimes worked the Ft. Lauderdale beaches in the winter.)

I'm sure there are still wrecks that have not been discovered, simply because no one was at the right place at the right time. And I'm sure there are still good beach spots that are little known or unknown. And I'm sure that some of the dunes are protecting hoards that have not yet been discovered simply because they've been covered by tons of sand for at least the last few decades, if not centuries.

What I often say, and have said in this blog a few times before, is "follow the sand." The sand moves. When it moves, see what if anything it uncovered.

Forecast and Conditions.

Summer beach conditions persist. Unbelievable! I really didn't expect to see such a long period of calm seas this time of year.

The wind is still out of the west and the seas are still calm and will continue to remain calm for some time. It seems we are having a steady stream of fronts and west winds passing through. The low tides are still good and low.

Did anyone get down to work the cut at Juno?

Well, not much of anything to say other than we really need to see a strong northeaster.

Happy Super Bowl Day.