Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16/11 Report - Underwater Gold & Be Grateful

Galley Brick From El Rubi Wreck.

I like to post photos of things you might find on a beach but which you might easily overlook as being either junk or just plain insignificant. This galley brick is for sale on eBay and listed with a starting bid price of $500.

I've found old bricks on the Treasure Coast beaches that could be from wrecks. This particular galley brick is broad and not very thick. It is only about an inch thick.

Here is a link to more information on the El Rubi.

I believe that a detectorist should learn to identify different types of artifacts. Even if not valuable in an economic sense, they can indicate the possible presence of a nearby wreck. One item like this should also remind you to keep your eyes open for other non-metallic items.

I've been receiving a lot of interesting email lately thanks to the readers of this blog.

Does anyone know where I can find an older topographical map of the Treasure Coast area online? I'm thinking 1950s or earlier might do the job. It could help one blog reader solve a local history problem. Thanks.

I've heard from some readers, including one who collects colonial American artifacts, and the consensus seem to be that the lead item that I recently showed is indeed a lead stylus. When I picked it up that possibility didn't occur to me. I didn't think of that possibility until later when I vaguely remembered that I might have seen pictures of something like that before. That is why I post things like bricks for you to look at. I've thrown away things before I knew what they were and then regretted it later - sometimes years later. Several come to mind right now.

Don't be too quick to throw away unidentified items.

Starting off on my general beach and shallow water hunting topic, the first and most general thing to know is that if you want to find a lot of modern era gold, a lot more is found in the water than on land. I once had the ratio calculated from the detailed records that I kept. Although I don't remember what the exact numbers were now, off hand I would say that you will find something like about seven times the amount of gold in the water than on land. Of course that depends upon a lot of variables, but on the average, if my memory serves me, that is about the ratio that I discovered. Even if the number is wrong, I do know that the number of gold items found per time period in the water is several times higher than found on land.

You might ask why then would you spend any time detecting on land. The obvious answer is that sometimes it is very difficult or impossible to detect in the water, and the second reason is that sometimes there are nice productive holes found on the beach. Conditions change in the water as well as on the beach. For best success, adapt to the prevailing conditions.

You will find rings, chains and things in the dry sand and the wet sand, but you will find much more gold per hour of hunting in the water. That of course means that you will need a good submersible detector. Don't bother with target ID or discrimination. That is even less important in the water than on land. Just get a detector that will detect small pieces of gold at good depth.

I won't recommend a detector here because the very best are custom made and cost a lot, and it is not that easy to find a dealer of custom made machines that is good to deal with. Some will hold you for an arm and a leg if you need repairs. You won't really need a custom detector anyway and I won't recommend one, so don't ask.

Effort, knowledge and skill will pay off in the long run, but sometimes luck does come into play, especially when it comes to those exceptional once-in-a-lifetime finds.

I remember once when I had a few minutes to detect and couldn't decide if I should even bother to try. After I drove to a spot that I felt compelled to go to, I really didn't have more than a few minutes left to detect. I got on my wet suit, jumped in the water and bang. There it was. A real eye-popping find. I got out and drove home happy and glad that I went with my feelings even though it seemed like I didn't have enough time to really do anything.

I call that luck. There was some small amount of specialized knowledge involved, but it seemed as if there was something more than that.

I don't know if you believe in intuition, or whatever you might to call it, (I want to talk about that more some other time.)but it could be just plain stupid dumb luck.

Balancing out those kinds of special times, there are those other times when you hunt and hunt and don't find a single thing when it really seems like you should. So where is the intuition then?

People want to take credit for their successes. When things go well, they claim that it was their special knowledge or skill that earned their success. Failure, on the other hand, is usually blamed on bad luck.

People who feel cheated in life are quick to give blame, while those who think they did well, are quick to take credit. That is the way it is.

I believe there is a mixture of luck and skill involved a lot of the time, but sometimes there is a lot of luck involved, especially when you make one of those once-in-a-lifetime finds. Yes, some people will try to promote themselves and use such finds as compelling evidence of their superior skill, but truth be known, the most exceptional finds are often largely accidental.

Sometime I'll have to tell you about a chest of old silver coins that was discovered, and how one guy found some nice old Spanish tumbaga bars. Now those are some real treasure finds. But I'll tell you more about that some other time.

I know of one lady that found a gold escudo the first time she ever went detecting. She could have written a book and spent the rest of her life promoting herself as the greatest natural treasure hunter on earth, but the way I see it, that was luck.

And even though there might be a lot more behind the story than you usually hear, those good ole boys that were supposedly out lobster hunting when they found the Fort Capron payroll treasure, if the story is as it is often told, that was luck.

And how about the life guard that was out for his morning swim who looked down and saw the freshly uncovered site of the Jupiter wreck? Luck! He wasn't even looking for the wreck site, but there it was.

Those are a few examples, but I think you see what I am saying. Sometimes there is a large element of luck involved in those types of finds. Sometimes there is good luck, but also sometimes bad.

You'll never know what you missed when you turned left rather than right on a big empty beach. Maybe it is good that you don't know what all you missed. It could be disheartening.

No matter what your past luck has been, over time if you are persistent, do your research and spend a lot of time on task, you will eventually have good finds. But don't brag too much when it finally happens. Remember, you never know what all you missed. And you have to count yourself fortunate just to be able to get out in the air and sunshine to pursue your hobby. Be glad that God will never embarrass you by saying, "That is a nice find there, but you don't know how hard it was for Me to get you to finally stumble onto it, and just look at what all you missed in the process.

Treasure hunting is very much like life in general. You never know how much you missed.

When things are going well, be grateful, not proud, arrogant or boastful.

Forecast and Conditions.

A mild cool front will be coming through. The wind has shifted and is now coming out of the southwest. That, of course, means relatively calm seas. On the Treasure Coast we'll be getting two and three foot seas for a few days. Although conditions for hunting cobs remains poor, as I recently showed, there are still a few artifacts to be found on the front beaches. Targets are often fairly deep and the digging not so easy to layers of shell under the sand. You might need a heavy duty scoop or shovel.

West winds generally mean calm seas for water hunting. As I've been mentioning the Spring Break season has started and there are a lot of tourist and beach-goers out in the beautiful weather.

I have a lot more to write about but that's it for now.

Don't forget to do the survey on the main page of this blog.

Happy hunting,