Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6/1/11 Report - Pot Shard, Beach Dangers & OMEX

Another Signal Find.

This one is a pot shard. Too bad it has no markings on it.

It was found a few days ago on a Treasure Coast beach. It tells me that there are probably more Native American artifacts in the area, and that the area was used hundreds of years ago and deserves a good going over.

Once again the readers of this blog prove their superior knowledge and helpfulness. The responses that I got about the Res-Q-Lite were beyond my expectations. All of those questions are now answered.

Robert K. sent a ton of detailed information.

Here is a little of what he said. The embossed illustration on the canister tells the story; these devices were attached to ring buoys (also called 'life rings') via a lanyard of 6-feet or so. The ring buoy lived in a bracket attached to the pipe rails of a weather deck, and the waterlight was hung from an adjacent fitting. There would be several of these assemblies scattered about the decks. Some life rings would have waterlights and some would not.

In practice - if a man went overboard, the first people to be aware of the fact were supposed to go to the rails and throw ring buoys overboard, in the hopes the man could grab one. The waterlight, hanging from its bracket would be thrown over with the ring buoy it was attached to.

The act of pulling the waterlight from its bracket would break the solder holding an axial rod that penetrated both the top and the bottom of the waterlight. When the unit hit the water, it would start flooding through the hole in the bottom. Water coming in contact with the lumps of calcium carbide inside the canister would start the production of acetylene gas. The gas would emerge through the hole left by the axial rod in the top of the waterlight, and the gas would burn - giving off light and thereby marking the location of the ring buoy and, hopefully, the man grasping it.

And Stan submitted a link to vol. 33 of the Marine Review (page 27) that included the following information.

The Cleveland & Buffalo Transit Co. has decided to install the water light manufactured by the Marine Torch Co., of Baltimore, Md., on its fleet of steamers. Mr. Carl Virgin, general manager of the Marine Torch Co. who was in the great lakes district recently visiting vessel owners, left a number of torches with Capt. Hugh McAlpine, master of the City of Erie. On Saturday night last, Capt. McAlpine threw them overboard en route between Buffalo and Cleveland and reported that the torches ignited instantly, making a powerful light which was visible for a distance of twelve miles. Mr. T. F. Newman, general manager of the line, immediately ordered his steamers to be equipped with the torch upon the recommendation of Capt. McAlpine.

As explained in last week's issue of the Review, this torch consists of a can about 9 in. high and 3 in. in diameter. Both on the top and bottom of the can is a strip of soldered tin which can be ripped off just as the torch is being thrown overboard. Water entering immediately generates a gas. At the top of the can is a small chamber containing a substance also generating a gas through the action of water and which instantly causes the . gas escaping from the lower chamber to ignite. Therefore nothing is needed to produce a flame except water. It does not matter how completely the light is submerged it instantly relights upon coming to the surface. Nor can wind extinguish it for though it blow the flame away is instantly renews itself. As an emergency light nothing can equal this as it derives its power from the elements which are fatal to other lights. It would be useless to dilate upon the advantages of this emergency light to steamers and wrecking outfits. They are too apparent.

Here is that link.


The Marine Review is a good resource. You might want to browse through it.

And from information submitted by Kevin B. I learned that these lights were done away with by the Coast Guard during WWII because the lights could ignite spilled oil coming from a sinking ship. The chemical lights were then replaced by electric lights.

Thanks to all of you guys that submitted this information. It helps me a lot.

As a follow up to a few comments I posted a day or two ago about the negative detecting experiences of one detectorist in South Florida, I wanted to add a note of caution. There is a lot of crime down there and you should be cautious about where you park.

Here is an article describing the kind of thing you might run into down there these days.


I never recommend hunting crowded or busy beaches. Either go before or after the crowds.

Did I mention that I've noticed more police patrolling Treasure Coast beach accesses lately? I don't know if there have been some recent problems or if it is just precautionary.

I've been following Odyssey Marine Explorations a lot lately and just found an article that lists a variety of events that could affect their stock price. Most of the listed events are shipwreck related, but the minerals exploration they are doing is also very significant.

Here is the link.


I mentioned rip currents the other day because I could see that conditions were right for rip current development. Any time you have a sand bar that is being breached by a lot of water, the water has to find its way back to the ocean. That means rip currents. And as I mentioned, they can be dangerous to inexperienced swimmers. 55 people were rescued from rip currents by Martin County life guards last Sunday and Monday. I think that makes my point.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is almost directly from the east and the seas remain at about 4 feet. Conditions remain poor.

A lot of the beaches have a dip and sand bar just off shore. Most of the dips are too small and filled with sand and small shells, so aren't producing much but light junk.

Watch those rip currents though. They can create areas where heavy materials are uncovered and left behind. I'll remind you again, they can be dangerous.

You might want to wait until the seas calm down. While we'll have four foot seas for a couple more days, the seas will be slacking off until it gets very calm again, like is predicted for next Tuesday. When it gets calm again, you might want to go out to see what the recent tides left on the beach fronts.

Happy Hunting,

5/31/11 Report - Res-Q-Lite & Rip Tides

Res-Q-Light Found on Treasure Coast.

I've been trying to get answers to a couple of remaining questions about this item for some time.

There is a lot of detail on the canister, but not a date. The canister appears to be copper and reads, THE WATER LIGHT, TRADE MARK RES-Q-LITE, MARINE TORCH Co., BALTIMORE, MD., THE DEVICE MEETS IN EVERY WAY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISING INSPECTORS.

I think you can see the picture on the canister also, which seems to show the device handing on a hip's railing and attached to a life preserver. It looks to me like it would float in the water and provide a light. From the picture it also looks like a wick or light or something stuck out of the top and that is probably where it was lighted.

Does anyone know any more about this, maybe a date or type of vessel that used it?

I got a note from one person that was down in South Florida and took his detector but was so turned off by the big crowds and craziness that he didn't even turn his detector on. If you haven't been down there it is a different scene from the Treasure Coast. Very different. As I've said that is where I lived when I began detecting and that is where I spent a lot of time detecting.

You can detect before the crowds get there or after they leave. I would never recommend detecting on busy beaches at the most busy times.

There are also some quieter spots, but they won't be obvious to the person that is not familiar with the area without doing some research.

Another person wrote to me about rip currents not too long ago. Conditions on the Treasure Coast are now favorable for rip current development. The sand bars that are now in front of the beach will be breached or broken and the water will rush out of any spots like that. That can turn into a heavy stream that will grow larger and stronger, making it difficult to go against if you happen to wander into it. It will tend to pull you out to sea.

Here is one web site that tells you what you need to know about rip currents.


I remember the first time I wandered into one. I didn't know anything about them before that.

For any of you that want to try detecting in the water, play it safe. If you aren't accustomed to the water and aren't a strong swimmer, stay in shallow water that you an handle.

That article would be a good one for any detectorist to read. There are some good clues in there. So much about beach detecting is about the how water moves the sand and other materials.

Odyssey Marine stock closed at a new 52 week high on Friday and opened up another 20 cents a share out of the block this morning. Somebody has some high hopes for this company.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Walton Rocks Yesterday Morning Before Low Tide.

The beaches are still sandy with a lot of sea weed. Conditions haven't improved and the chances of finding a cob are still poor.

The wind is still from the east. Seas will remain pretty much the same, around 4 to 5 feet, until next weekend when they will start to decrease again.

If you are out there walking the beach, look at the sand bar and see if you can see where any rip currents are developing.

Green Turtle Beach Yesterday Before Low Tide.

This photo was taken an hour or two closer to low tide than the previous photo.

Still doesn't look any good.

It might be a good time to look for what the beach goers left on the beaches during the long weekend.

When the water starts to calm down next weekend, that would be a good time to get out to check the low tide areas. I would expect to find a few more spikes or other artifacts.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 30, 2011

5/30/11 Report - Memorial Day Issue - Signal Nulling & Glass Detective Work

Figure 1.

People don't spend enough time experimenting with their detector, and they don't use pin-point mode enough. I've found that I can tell a lot about a target by the signal when I am in pin-point mode. Even though I generally dig everything, it can still be helpful to know what you are digging. You can recover items more quickly and avoid damaging them if you know what is in the ground.

Elongated iron objects like nails or spikes can be identified by the signal with a high degree of accuracy when you are using pin-point mode.

Figure 1 shows a nail or spike laying across your path when you are sweeping the coil from left to right and back. When you sweep over an object like this, perpendicular to the object, you will get a strong steady signal over the object, which in the figure is represented by the red circle over the object.

Figure 2.

However, if you then sweep your coil over the object again at at 90 degree angle to the first sweep, you'll hear a broken signal. If you sweep along the length of the elongated object you'll get a signal at each end of the object and a nulling or interruption in the signal right over the object.

So if you hear one signal when sweeping in one direction and then a broken signal sounding something like two separate signals when sweeping at a ninety degree angle, the probability is that you have detected some sort of elongated object. If you don't know about this, you might have trouble digging the object. The tendency is to dig too far to one end or the other of the object where one of the signals from the broken signal seems to be coming from.

Test this for yourself with your own detector. Just throw a nail or spike on a clean spot of ground and then run your detector over it in both directions. Listen to the signal and remember what it sounds like.

In fact, anytime you find a a new type of object, run your coil over it multiple times from different directions and carefully listen to the signal and try to remember what it sounds like. Repeat the process with multiple detectors if you have more than one. And try different detector settings. But don't do that all at one time. Use your primary detector and normal settings first until you have that signal well memorized before trying too many variations.

I mentioned the other day that I found a few different types of objects. Below is one. It is a nice piece of sea glass that you might be surprised to learn would easily sell for a small price. The color is one thing that makes it a bit unusual. Red and yellow also desirable and marketable colors for sea glass.

Foam Blue Sea Glass.

As I've been saying, many finds are valuable for the information that they provide even if they are not economically valuable. A piece like this does have some small economic value but can also help you date a site.

I often keep samples of glass and ceramics that I find, and I thought I had a piece of this type of glass that might tell something about how old it might be. I thought I might have a bottle or piece of a bottle made of the same type of glass, so I checked and found a matching piece. As I thought, the matching piece is part of a bottle. From the base shown and from what I remember of other matching bottles that I've seen, I would say this is probably from a Hutchinson Bottle or similar soda bottle.

Part of Bottle Matching Recent Sea Glass Find.

As a result of my detective work, I would say that the piece of sea glass is probably from around the early 1900s. At least that will be my working hypothesis until something provides more information and changes my mind. That rules out Spanish shipwreck and alerts me to the possibility of other items of similar age at that location.

One point I am making here is that some items can provide useful information even if they are not worth anything, and second, the broader your knowledge base, the better, and third, keeping a collection of samples from old finds can also be helpful.

One additional note, the broken bottle is closer to the color of the sea glass than it would appear from the photos. The lighting is different and the frosting from tumbling changed the appearance of the sea glass.

On the same topic, if you want to learn more about any type of artifact browse through as many samples as you can. it doesn't matter if you want to learn more about bottles, fossils, Indian artifacts or shipwreck artifacts, you can browse through many examples on eBay or other auction sites. Of course you can find many books on every subject anymore, but I find the internet very quick and easy.

I posted the previous day's post before proof reading it, and it had a lot of typos and mistakes in it. Sorry about that. I just tried to do it too quickly. I do that every once in a while.

Don B. sent me the following link to a great article on the Queen Anne's Revenge. They raised the anchor and are talking about a variety of things including some interesting conglomerates.

I think you'll like the article.


I just realized that I should have showed some Treasure Coast WW II artifacts today.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is now pretty much from the east. The seas are a little rougher and the swells building to about 4.5 feet for Tuesday and Wednesday. Almost that big today.

As I've been saying that should help freshen up the beach fronts a bit.

The beach is building this morning although I saw a couple of spots where a little sand was removed, but it was an insignificant amount.

There is also a lot of sea weed on the beaches this morning. That is never a good sign. A lot of bottles and plastic is washing up, and on the beaches that I saw, the shell piles were gone.

Be safe.

Happy hunting,

Friday, May 27, 2011

5/28/11 Report - Squeezing Information Out of Otherwise Insignificant Finds (SIOOIF)

Another Uncleaned Shipwreck Spike Found Yesterday.

I have started cleaning yesterday's spikes and have an older found spike in electrolysis right now.

A couple notes on cleaning things like this. Remove as much of the unwanted crust or corrosion as you safely can mechanically before doing anything else. Be sure to go slow. Safely is a key word. Use a brush, wire or otherwise, depending upon the situation and some water. Impatience kills - at least when it comes to cleaning artifacts.

I also sometimes like using a water hose with a pressure nozzle to wash off some of the surface junk as a first step.

And another approach is to use WD-40 or one of the other types of rust or corrosion removers. Depending upon the situation, this can be very effective.

When trying any cleaning process for the first time, try it out on something you don't care much about before trying it on something more important.

Plastic ice cream containers are good for this, especially some of the larger ones. I like cleaning of finds and the research process involved in trying to identify an item. As I've said before, the find is only the beginning.

Spike Undergoing Electrolysis.

I want to impress one thing on you that I think is very important and very often not appreciated. An item might not have much economic value but can have a lot of value because of the information it provides.

Not toolong ago I mentioned what "signal finds," to coin a phrase. Those are finds that provide information and signal the possible presence of other items that might contain more economic value. Don't underestimate the value of a find that tells you something about where to spend your time in the future.

The two signal finds that I showed a few days ago told me to spend more time in th area where they were found, which led to the shipwreck spikes.

Found objects can and will tell you a lot if you squeeze the information out of them. They will often tell you something about what the beach is doing, where it is building and eroding even when it isn't immediately obvious from just looking. They will also tell you something about where different types of things are being moved by the water action, and something about what has gone on at that beach in the past. For example, a silver dime or two can tell you that people were somewhere around there probably in the early years of the 1900s. They might also tell you some other things.

If you find a lot of dimes and few other denominations, ask yourself why those denominations were there? Was there some activity that required dimes, such as parking fees or whatever?

Just knowing that older things are found in an area is a very important clue that suggests where you might want to spend more time in the future.

Often the information you gain from an item that has no inherent economic value can be more valuable than gold. It can lead you to many future finds.

And don't assume that an item has little or no economic value. Most items that can be documented to an old shipwreck will bring in some money. Just browse eBay or the past Sedwick auctions. You'll see that many items that you might not think have any value can actually bring in a few dollars or even more. I know that some people throw away things that are worth more than the some of the silver reales that they cherish.

I don't want to get deeper into the topic of economic value right now, but I do want to alert you to the economic value of items that might not be realized.

The Fisher organization reports, Our investors found 24 Atocha emeralds at the “Emerald City” site last week, sifting from the back of the salvage vessel JB Magruder. For 7 days, eight investors per day went out to the Atocha wreck site for a day of searching for and finding emeralds. We had one diver at the ocean bottom, operating our “airlift” suction device to bring the sand, shells and emeralds up to the back of the boat. The largest emerald found last week was ¼ karat, worth about $4,500. All the Atocha emeralds are from the Muzo mine in Colombia, South America.

Sounds like fun. One more type of nonmetallic target.

Emeralds have been found on some of the 1715 wreck sites and have been eye-balled a beach. Another good reason to keep your eyes open while you detect.

Speaking of investing: I've mentioned Odyssey Marine a few times lately, and Friday their stock hit a new 52-week high of over $4.00 per share. It would have been a good investment this year. At the beginning of the year I would not have guessed that it would do that well.

And silver is working it's way back to $40 per ounce.

If you haven't noticed, I put a new survey up.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is shifting from the south and is more from the east now. The seas will be building through the weekend, reaching a peak of about five feet on Tuesday or Wednesday. That means you have a little time left to do the low tide zone before it becomes tougher to get that far out.

Here's hoping the higher seas will do some good next week.

It's Memorial Day Weekend. Remember.


5/27/11 Report - Shipwreck Spike & Mass Spectrometry on Silver Reals

Shipwreck Spike Dug Today.

As you can see this spike hasn't been cleaned yet. It was dug this morning. I like the bend. It's iron and about eight inches long. It was down about a foot and a half in hard packed shells in the low tide zone.

I went out to see the beach this morning with the intention of taking it easy to avoid aggravating my injuries. I didn't bother the injuries, but I got into some hard digging.

I'm going to start right off with the forecast and conditions report today. As you probably know, there is a lot of sand piled up on the beaches and in some places a lot of shells. Many of the shells are under a layer of sand. The chances of finding a shipwreck cob are very poor. However, there seems to be a good number of iron artifacts out there. If you want to target iron or spikes, the chances aren't bad.

I was surprised by how much was out there to be dug this morning. I went out for a quick leisurely stroll expecting to do a little more eyeballing and ended up digging two foot holes in hard packed shells. I found a number of kinds of items, including seas glass, an Indian pot shard, fossils, in addition to the shipwreck spikes.

If you are interested in the first three, check the shell piles. If you are interested in targeting iron shipwreck artifacts, I would focus on the front ten yards or so of the beach at low tide on beaches where there has been a lot of shells.

The sand bar is protecting the beach and in some places a dip is forming between the bar and the shore. Near low tide, the dip is nice and calm as the bar is protecting the dip and beach front from wave action.

If you are targeting iron artifacts, I would recommend taking a shovel instead of or in addition to a scoop.

Expect the iron artifact to be about five yards from the water at low tide and down a foot or two in hard packed shells. It isn't easy digging. I'm feel certain that if I stayed longer, I would have found another spike or two. And who knows, maybe a cob adhering to a piece of iron or something else interesting.

You still have easy access to the front beach, but the seas are predicted to increase Sunday and Monday. That will make the front beach a little more difficult to work, but it might also make some additional targets available.

The wind is still from the southeast but will be from the east when the seas begin to build for next week. It looks like a fun holiday weekend.

Someone asked me if I could name the beaches that I show. I occasionally do, but most often don't. There are some reasons for that. First, I want you to generalize from what I show. And I really don't want a hundred people running out to the same beach. That is the biggest reason I don't usually name the beaches I show.

If you were interested in the videos I showed yesterday and want to find some fossils, there are a few good beaches for fossils. One is Wabasso.

If you are interested in sharks teeth, one good place is the area just north of Seagrape trail. (You wont' find the sharks teeth there unless there are shell piles).

Another good fossil beach is the beach at Vero down to Rio Mar. Some really nice mammoth or mastodon teeth came from there after a storm.

And another is Walton Rocks.

Just as for other types of targets, the conditions have to be right, or you won't find much even if you are on the right beach.

This is what the Nieves site looked like from Green Turtle Beach this morning.

Nieves Site This Morning.

It was a little strange. I didn't even see a single fishing boat out this morning. Everybody must be waiting for the weekend.

Many have thought that the importation of 300 tons of silver from the New World caused terrible inflation in Spain. That is disputed by a recent study using mass spectrometry on old silver Spanish coins. The study suggests that the New World silver was not used to make coins for nearly a hundred years.

I don't know about that but if you want to read the report, here is the link.


I'm not sure if their sample of coins was a good representative sample. I'll have to read the study more closely later.

Odyssey Marine is appealing the ruling that they have to return the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes treasure to Spain.

Here is the link giving the details of that story.


I think that's it for today.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5/26/11 Report - Eye-balling the Beach, Fossils, 380 Year Old Canoe & Anchor Wreck Artifacts

Treasure Coast Beach at Low Tide Yesterday Morning.

You can see the sand bar and the dip next to shore.

As I mentioned, I have a couple of wounds that need to heal but went to the beach and took a leisurely walk. I tried to take it easy on my foot injury but probably still did more than I should have. Anyhow, I didn't detect, partly because conditions were poor and partly because I simply wanted to take it easy.

Anyhow, I did a little eye-balling. It is important to scan a beach visually even if you are detecting. You might notice some important clues, and you can actually find cobs and artifacts visually. Yesterday all I was expecting to see was the type of materials that often show up with shells, and that is what I found.

I think it is good to practice eye-balling. I believe it is a skill that can be developed to a high degree. You can learn to notice unusual or unnatural objects, by color, shape, and surface texture. I've eye-balled almost every type of item that I've ever found, including, cobs, gold jewelry, etc.

Here is a video showing a fossilized tooth that I picked up yesterday while walking the beach. I think it is probably from an Ice Age horse or similar mammal. I can't really tell which animal it came from because it is worn down from tumbling in the surf. Camel, bison, mastodon and giant sloth teeth have all been found in the same general area.

I was experimenting with my video cam and trying to develop video skills. Yesterday I made a video of what I saw as I walked. My field of vision is actually much wider than the visual field of the video camera, but I think I can share a little of the walk even though it was one of my first tries and I didn't focus at the right spot very often when I picked up an object. I'll do better in the future.

I uploaded the video clip that is nearly eight minutes during which time I picked up four or five fossils and a few pieces of sea glass. If you take a look at the clip, you'll see where i picked up a brown piece of sea glass around the six minute mark, a fossil at around 6:38 and another fossil around 7:24. I point those three out because I did a decent job on those, and you can see the objects that I picked up.

Earlier in the clip when I bent down to pick up the objects, I tended to have the camera pointed too far up and to the right. As a result, you'll almost always see any object that I pick up in the bottom left corner of the video frame if you see it at all.

When I get this down, I can make some nice videos, hopefully when the conditions improve enough to pick up some cobs or something more interesting.

Here is the long video if you want to take a look.


A 380 year old canoe found in Arbuckle Creek is now on display at the Polk County Nature Conservancy. If you want to read more about the canoe and it's history, here is the link.


There is a cannon ball and mallet head for sale on eBay said to be from the Anchor Wreck. You might be interested in the little write up that goes with the item.


Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions and Forecast.

The wind is still from the southeast and the seas calm. You'll find a lot of sand and shells with some sandbars and dips near shore.

I showed today that even when conditions are poor for finding cobs and the like, you can still find stuff on the beach. Also look for clues. Pieces of black glass or olive jar shards can tip you off to a nearby wreck.

One of my favorite finds was eye-balled during poor detecting conditions like this. It was a wax seal with the impression of an eagle on it found laying right at the edge of the water.

As I often say, when conditions aren't right for finding one type of thing, they are good for another.

The surf web sites still predict increasing seas about Sunday and into early next week. The peek will be only about five feet, which is normally not enough to significantly improve beach detecting conditions, but there have been times when it was enough to cause some nice localized cuts and a few nice scattered finds. I doubt if it will be enough to improve conditions that much this time. The beaches have a lot of sand to be removed, and there are bars in front of the beach that will protect the beach front.

I'll work on my video techniques so I can produce some good videos when things start to improve.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5/25/11 Report - Increasing Seas Coming, Latest Survey Results, More on the Fort & TBR Award

Winners of the TBR Model Detectorist of the Day Award.

These guys were the only detectorists that I saw this morning. They were leaving Green Turtle Beach just after low tide this morning with a caddy filled with equipment, including a Beach Hunter detector and a carton filled with trash. If more detectorists would cart away a bucket full of trash when they leave, there would be a lot less trash on the beach, and a lot less junk to dig.

Kudoos guys.

Speaking of trash, I got an email from one reader who said that some detectorists up north were trashing areas with BBs to discourage other guys using pulse detectors. The reader was using a pulse detector, but uses a magnet that is installed in his scoop to quickly pick up the BBs and other small iron items. That is a good idea. I might have more tips on that for you some other time.

There are all kinds of tricks, and there are ways to counter each and every one of them. I know what my next move would be if I wanted to counter something like that, but I won't tell you. I don't want to start detector wars.

I'm a little handicapped right now. Seven stitches in one shoulder and a foot that got injured. As a result I didn't do anything heavy duty today. Just took a look at some beaches and did a little eye-balling. I'll probably show you the results of that tomorrow.

I also have been experimenting with some video techniques that might add to this blog.

I mentioned the recent archaeological discoveries at Fort Lauderdale Beach a couple of days ago.

If you are interested in the fort, the second Seminole War or Fort Lauderdale history in general, here is a really good report on all of that.


It isn't a long drive from the Treasure Coast. I spent a lot of time detecting down there a number of years ago.

The blog survey made it pretty clear what this blog's readers would like to find. The main results aren't surprising, but some of the results were a little surprising to me.

First off, most readers would like to find a nice gold shipwreck artifact. Who wouldn't? But the results show that about three times as many people would like to find a gold artifact than would like to find a treasure coin. Somehow I thought treasure coins would do better.

Treasure coins were the second most desired object in my survey. Considering all the possibilities, even gold royals and everything, and the natural appeal of coins, with all of the information they present and the popularity of coin collecting, I would not have been surprised if coins came in first.

The third most desired find of all those listed in my survey was an expensive piece of jewelry. Indeed some jewelry can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and I guess in some rare cases, even more. But is that all there is to it? Maybe the fact that it is wearable, or better yet, a great gift for a wife or husband might be part of the appeal. Or maybe it is due to the more constant availability of jewelry items or the fact that many readers don't live where there are shipwrecks so hunt modern gold more often.

All of the other categories trailed those top three by significant amounts. That surprises me. I would have thought that each category would have had a number of people interested in them. Every category was chosen by at least one respondent.

I wonder how people feel about space debris and meteors. I didn't think to include those in the survey. I also left out Indian artifacts. I just didn't think of it at the time.

People sometimes talk about the thrill of finding something that hasn't been seen by man before or holding something that hasn't been touched for many years. People do like finding old things, and fossils are way older than any shipwreck item, and a raw gold nuggets or gem fresh from a creek has never been held by man for a very long time. It's a complex matter how people become interested in things and how they value things. As I've said, I like all of those things, find them interesting, and value them in one way or another even when they aren't valuable in an economic sense.

Treasure coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.\

We'll be finally seeing a change. The wind has been from the south and the seas calm for a week or more now. Later this weekend the seas will begin to build - if the surf web sites are correct. It looks like we'll have about four foot seas early next week. While that won't change my conditions rating, it will freshen up the beach fronts some. That is always welcome. It might also create a few new little dips out there in the water.

I recently mentioned the tropical activity out there in the Atlantic and the NOAA web site. Here is another web site that provides a lot of good weather information. You might want to check it out. It was recommended by Bill P.


That's it for today.

Happy hunting,

5/24/11 Report - Atlantic Storm, OMEX, Modern Jewelry & Signal Finds

Two Encrusted Objects Recently Found on Treasure Coast Beaches. Front and Back of Each.

The one item looked like it might be a nickel even though I couldn't see any surface detail. It was the right size and had the green color that nickels often get.

The other looked the right size and shape to be a cob, but it didn't have the right color and from what I could see of the edge, it didn't look like a cob, but I wanted to be sure.

The first reason I want to talk about these two finds is that anytime you find something like this, even if it is nothing more than a nickle, it is a good sign. Why? Simply because it obviously has been on the beach for a while. It couldn't have been where it was found very long though, because the area is heavily detected, and it almost surely would have been picked up by another detectorist if it was within range very long. That tells me it probably either washed up onto the beach fairly recently or was recently uncovered.

Objects like that may have no value of their own, but they can have a lot of value as signals. An older object popping up on a very heavily detected beach tells you that something has changed, that there are possibly other older objects in the area, and that you should slow down and hunt that area thoroughly.

The second thing I want to mention is that unidentified objects like this should be slowly and carefully cleaned and inspected. Begin by trying to get some idea of what the object is and what it is made of before doing anything more drastic.

In this case I decided to use a little water, which didn't do much, and then some light WD-40 and very light brushing. The WD-40 was enough to reveal that the green object was indeed a Jefferson nickle. It didn't however reveal anything more about the cob-shaped object. The crust on that object wasn't reduced at all by the WD-40.

I decided to use a quick immersion in a diluted muriatic acid solution. I'm not recommending that as a second step, it is just what I did in this case based upon my hunch about this object. That did remove some of the crust and revealed a badly damaged and corroded zinc penny. (Muriatic acid will not damage either a silver cob or a copper maravedi.)

Again, my point is that these two objects had little value other than being signs that something was changing at that particular beach location and that there might be other older items to be found in the area. Their value in this case, therefore, was primarily informational. When you do find a spot where older objects are popping up, make sure to check that area thoroughly while you are there and then check it again in the near future to see if the process is continuing and more old items are showng up.

Secondly, clean unidentified items in stages. Only use processes that will not be harmful while you collect more information about what the item might be and then you will know how to better proceed.

On another subject, Odyssey Marine stock was up more than 15% this afternoon. That is some heavy duty action.

The main thing that probably contributed to that gain is the search for the S. S. Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a Nazi torpedo in 1941. Odyssey plans to spend less than 10 million in the search and hope to find the ship by October. The Gairsoppa was carrying silver that at current prices would be worth $260 million. The challenge is that it sunk in 14,000 feet of water.

For more on that story, here is the link.


Silver is making a bit of a comeback recently too. gold has been steady.

Some people don't like hunting modern jewelry because they don't like profiting off of someone else's loss. I understand that, but leaving the item lost doesn't help anyone, and you can sometimes find out who the lost item belonged to and return it. I've been able to return a number of lost items. I've also hunted and found items for people that reported them lost.

Don't expect a reward for your good deeds though. You might occasionally get one, but in many cases you won't get so much as a thank you for your time an effort. I don't know why that is. Maybe people are too stunned or simply don't know how to act. I would think that a person would be grateful to anyone who would spend their time and skill to find and return something they lost, but my experience shows that just as often no appreciation of any sort is shown - not even a thank you.

And be careful. I've said this once before, but there are people that will try to claim items that they did not lose. You might be surprised how often that happens. Some people will say that they lost a ring or something and just hope that you find one and then try to claim it. In some cases, they might have heard that someone else lost something and are hoping to get it if it is found. There are all kinds of people out there.

Always, always, always make sure that when someone says they lost something, that you get a good detailed description, complete with any inscriptions or markings on the item that would positively identify the item and hopefully some identifying mark that no one but the true owner would be likely to know about.

Secondly, do not show found items to people you don't know unless they have already provided a detailed description. That makes it too easy for unscrupulous people to claim that they lost the item.

Learn to scoop and retrieve items without others being able to see them. In the water that is particularly easy. Shake your scoop vigorously while it is full of sand and submerged a foot or two below the surface. The resulting suspended cloud of sand will obscure the view into your scoop. You can then put your hand into the scoop, find the item by feel, and quickly transfer the item to your pocket without the item being visible to anyone. Inspect the item when you are away from any observers. If you obtained a description of that lost item, you can then return it to the rightful owner.

Of course you don't have to worry about all of that with items that were lost hundreds of years ago. And many modern era finds were actually lost years or even decades ago before they were found. That is especially true when you hunt good water spots where you are digging items that have accumulated for a while. That can make it especially difficult to track down owners or family members of the original owners, especially in a tourist area where people are far from home and often only stay a few days.

Sometimes it is hard to tell if an item has been lost a long time or if it was old when it was lost. People do carry, wear and lose vintage and antique items every day.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions remain unchanged. Not much of anything new to report except that the Atlantic is starting to act up. There is a new low pressure area located southeast of Bermuda that has less than a 20% chance of forming into a cyclone.

It is the time of year to start watching for forming storms in the Atlantic.

Here is a NOAA link showing the present low pressure zone. (Thanks to Jim M. for alerting me to this new weather.)


Not much chance of that affecting the Treasure Coast in my opinion.

Happy hunting.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

5/23/11 Report - Queen Anne's Revenge, Super Boat Grand Prix, Beachcombing Indians, and More

Bar Down About a Foot Near the Water's Edge.

You can see the shells that were covered by a few inches of sand. This was in the area that I'll show you in a video below.

You can get important information about an area by digging holes like this, either where there is a target, or by simply digging test holes to see what is under the sand.

When you dig an object like this, put your detector in all metals mode and sweep over the item repeatedly at different angles until you learn to estimate the size, shape and approximate depth of items from the signal. With practice you can learn to do that pretty well.

Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, is visited again.

Here is the link if you want to read more about that famous wreck. Link submitted by Don B. Thanks Don!


At least one of this blog's readers was at Cocoa Beach to detect the water yesterday after the crowds left the Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix.

Here is the link for more info on the Grand Prix.


And here is a web site that talks about the evidence of beachcombing by the Indians that lived near the Texas Coast. I found several interesting pieces of information on this web site. One thing that was mentioned was the salvaging of a French boat by the Indians. I plan to research that one a little further. Here is the link if you wnat to check it out.


And here is a web site that provides a lot of legal information and resources for those of you interested in the legal issues of shipwreck salvage. It will probably be of little interest to most of you.


Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

No surprises and nothing has changed. Still calm seas, lots of sand and shells.

The probability of finding cobs has been very low and now the probability of finding any type of artifact on the beach is diminishing even more as the southeast winds continue to bring sand in.

Here is what it looked like on the beach this morning.


I mentioned the excavation that revealed some old artifacts down at Fort Lauderdale yesterday. Always watch for opportunities opened up by things like that.

The water is nice and calm if you want to hunt in the water. Trouble is, a lot of the water areas will have sandy bottoms too. Look for areas where the currents have moved the sand away.

I'll make some instructional and other types of videos in the future.

Happy hunting,

5/22/11 Report - Big Discovery at Fort Lauderdale

Detecting Excavation.

This photo came from a link submitted to me by Michael H. The link can be found below if you want to read more about this.

Construction crews working on a $3 million beach park project along A1A recently made a significant archaeological discovery that could date back as far as 1839.
The workers were digging a channel for a drainage pipe two weeks ago when they found several hundred artifacts, including musket balls, gold coins and some buttons off military uniforms.”The thought is maybe this has something to do with the fort we had over here back in the pre-Civil War era,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.One of the three original Fort Lauderdales was located near the site.
“The beach fort was mainly used as a staging area for what we would call marines to chase the Seminoles into the hinterlands, into the Everglades,” said Fort Lauderdale historian Susan Gillis.

Here is the link if you want to read the entire article.


Many of those who detected the Fort Lauderdale beaches in past decades knew where the old fort and inlet were and occasionally picked up musket balls and other artifacts.

This story goes along with what I was saying the other day. There is always more. Often it is just below the sand that you have passed over a hundred times in the past. Those beaches were detected heavily for decades, but all of this newly discovered stuff was just waiting under the surface.

I recently mentioned a video that showed the surf uncovering rocks and shells on the front beach. I couldn't get it uploaded at the time. I finally uploaded it to YouTube. I guess I'll make more videos for the blog in the future now I know one way to get it done.

Here is the video. Notice the rough area on the beach just in front of the water. That is where rocks and shells were being uncovered and sifted. Another important spot to look at is the little cliff that the water falls over when it recedes.

Here is the link to the YouTube video. I also embedded the video into this blog below. I'm trying to figure out which is the best way to post videos.


The other day I was talking about hunting outside the box. One thing I thought about was Art McKee's use of a bucket with a glass bottom for viewing under water. Today I ran across an article talking about Burt Webber using a glass window inserted into a surf board. Those kinds of innovative techniques are the kind of thing I really like. They require a little thought, ingenuity and effort to implement.

Beach sifters and scoops with 30-foot extension handles also come to mind. I've used both of those for special situations.

Here is a web site that talks about the evidence of beach combing by the Indians that lived near the Texas Coast. I found several interesting pieces of information on this web site. One thing that was mentioned was the salvaging of a French boat by the Indians. I plan to research that one a little further. Here is the link if you want to check it out.


Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Well it sure is summer. The wind, or should I say air, is coming from the south. We're getting that hot humid air and very calm seas. Mosquitos galore too! The surf web sites are predicting calm (1 foot) seas for about a week.

It is that time a year when conditions won't improve unless we have a storm of some sort. It doesn't take a hurricane. All it takes is a storm that churns up northeast winds for a while. We sure haven't had that for quite a while now. The storm doesn't have to come ashore as long as it churns up the waves.

It is that time of year when the water is as inviting as it will ever get. The water is a touch cooler than the air and nice and calm with pretty good visibility.

Remember, you can't detect in the water where the shipwrecks are leased. You can however, snorkel or dive and just take a look around, if that is what you want to do, but not with your detector.

Surf Video Again.

I hate to take the time to learn new computer things, but have to do it once in a while.

Remember, as they found in Fort Lauderdale, there is still tons of stuff out there.

Happy hunting,

Friday, May 20, 2011

5/20/ll Report - Detecting Outside the Box

White Birch Along a W. Va. Old Wagon and Indian Trail.

Notice the carving on the trunk of the tree.

I recently mentioned that I was up north. While up there I saw this carving on a huge White Birch Tree. The carving was actually about forty feet in the air. Pretty neat.

Anyhow, along this old trail where I've found a lot of older stuff in the past I found the old class ring seen below. It is 1946. You never know what you are going to find or where something will pop up.

That goes right along with my post today, which is why I decided to show this ring.

Most class rings of the same period look similar and are easy to distinguish from more recent class rings.

I was surprised to find it where I did.

1946 Class Ring.

Somebody wrote in to say that from my photo yesterday it looked like they were getting ready to dump sand on Walton Rocks. I hope not. They'd be covering up the coral, fossils and all kinds of stuff. And I don't know anybody that is complaining about there not being enough sand there. Geeeez. Might as well just dump the dollars into the ocean.

As I've said before, when I do a survey in this blog, it is not a scientific survey. You get responses, but sometimes people are not completely open or honest. That is natural. I understand that.

Some people look at detecting as a very competitive activity. They think that what other people find really cuts down on what they'll find. They consider good targets to be limited, like a marbles in a hat, and when one person takes one out, that means they'll get less. I don't really look at it that way. I'm not much concerned by how much other people find. There is always more.

The Treasure Coast beaches have been producing ever since the first treasure shipwreck occurred here hundreds of years ago. Granted they didn't have detectors hundreds of years ago, but they had their own salvage techniques. They even used diving helmets of a sort. I think I once posted a photo of some diving equipment they used in the 1700s. Of course it is not what we have today, but the past generations always found a way to get things done - very often amazingly. Yet they didn't get it all, nor has anyone else.

If you look at the pyramids or cathedrals of Europe, you have to wonder how in the world they did that without all the modern machines that we have. How did they get those huge stones hundreds of feet in the air without cranes etc. They had their ways. Bright people will find a way to get things done.

But what I am getting to is that even though the old shipwrecks have been salvaged for hundreds of years, and people have been using detectors on the beaches for decades, you can still find things. I believe there is a lot yet to be found.

Unfortunately the last year has been very slow. Conditions have been very poor. But it will change. It could change any time. And quickly. That will make a bunch of new things more accessible.

And there is a finite number of old things to be found. The easy ones go first. And if you do whatever everyone else is doing, to a large extent you are competing for the same targets.

But you can always go a little further. Go a stop beyond the other guy. I've said that before at different times and in different ways.

If you feel you are competing for the same targets, don't buy the same detector everybody else has,use the same settings everyone else uses, and then follow them down the beach. Do something different.

I've mentioned before that I used to detect where there were a lot of detectorists, yet I almost never saw another detectorist at any of my favorite spots. I usually chose spots that were in some way less accessible or less known. Most people go to the same places. Granted some of those places are good and that is one reason everybody goes there, but there are other places where you can find things and where you'll hardly ever see anyone else.

I remember once when a ran into a guy on the beach and he told me where he had been and that he found some gold rings there. I could tell from what he told me that there was a good coin hole there, and I knew that most people leave some good targets when they detect a coin hole, so I went where he just came from and picked up a couple of heavy gold rings in short time. I did follow him in that case, but I suspected that there would be some left because most people do not thoroughly detect and do not really totally clean out coin holes. In fact, sometimes I like when other people clean out the surface trash, and then I go the same place and listen for the softer signals.

I've explained before different ways you can detect a heavily detected beach and still find stuff.

My main point today, though, is that I believe that there is always more to be found. You'd think the Atocha would be worked out by now. Not so. They're still blowing new holes in new areas and finding new things. And they're going after a new wreck code named Deep Merchant. They had to get new equipment and do things differently to get this new wreck. That is what I'm talking about.

When things get challenging, as they have been lately, take the opportunity to do some research, try new techniques, scout out new areas, and generally do something different.

If you watched the TV series Tough Alaska last night and saw how a bunch of gold miners were going after gold, you saw different guys going after gold in different places and in different ways. One was working a shaker, one was panning, one was digging a mine into a mountain, and one was using a Brownie and suction dredging gold 30 feet below the ocean. There were a variety of different techniques being used.

I really like the guys that were dredging in the ocean off the coast of Nome where gold used to be found on the beaches. They went the next stop. The beaches were played out so they moved off shore.

I'm sure there would be other ways to approach that. If I were up there, I'd definitely be thinking about that.

I don't believe that we'll run out of shipwreck treasures. When the Atocha is worked out, if it ever is, a new wreck, like the Lost Merchant, will be found. The thing is, some people will move on and keep trying new things and come up with new techniques. They will be the ones to make the majority of good finds. The people that follow each other around in circles will be left to complain that there isn't anything left to find.

I often get emails from people asking me to meet them somewhere. As you might guess, I can't do that. I barely have enough time to write these blogs. But if you have questions, comments or anything, I'll try to respond to your interests by email.

I'm surprised no one had any comments about the flying saucer photo.

I know I'm not very gender sensitive with my writing. I'm old school. But I know there are a lot of ladies that follow this blog. How about some finds, questions or comments from the ladies.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still coming from the southeast and the sea is calm. It looks like it will stay that way for at least a few days. Therefore there has been no significant change and I don't expect any soon.

As for the longer term, I mentioned the 2011 hurricane forecast yesterday. Here is a link for that.


Enjoy the calm water.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5/19/11 Report - New Salvage Project at Walton Rocks?

Surveying at Walton Rocks This Morning.

Beautiful morning. It seems like everyone left Dodge though. Practically nobody at the beach, but there were some guys that seemed to be working on a serious project. Besides the survey equipment, they had a lot of other equipment, including a off road vehicle and were working with the boat you see in the next picture, which placed a buoy out by the second reef. They also placed a marker in the water just a few feet from the beach.

My guess is that there will be a salvage boat working out there this summer.

I hope they're not going to dump sand on that beach. I heard that Tom Rooney got money from the Army Corps for beach renourishment projects. While I generally like Rooney and what he does, I would think the Corps could spend their money on more serious projects with the flooding on the Mississippi and everything. I know it is good to bring money to our local area, but what about priorities, and how much money can this country spend? Where is the concern for the soaring US debt.? I don't want my tax dollars spent on dumping sand on the beaches,when I know that in a few months that sand will be eroded back into the ocean.

Boat Placing Buoy.

Mother Nature will take care of the beaches. Beaches come and they go. You can't stop that.

Some people get excited about pirates, shipwrecks and treasure. Other people like get excited by Indian artifacts, fossils or panning for gold. Different people like different things. The survey will help me learn what the people that visit this site like most.

I like a lot of different things. Old things, new things, pretty things, strange things, etc., etc. I've been trying to figure out what fascinates or interests me, and I can't figure out what the common thread is. I like finding shells, sea glass, fossils, coins, jewelry and artifacts, Indian, shipwreck, historic, space or other, and I've found all of them at one time or another.

I guess I just like finding things. As a child I liked going out and collecting chicken eggs, picking wild berries. I guess I like the fact that there all kinds of things out there just waiting to be picked up. Some things are useful, some are valuable, and some just interesting somehow.

There is no "interest" quality that resides in any object. What is interesting to a person depends upon the person more than the object. An insect that most people would not find the least bit interesting, might be very interesting to an entomologist. A rock that most people would not find interesting, might be interesting to a geologist. It seems that a person has to provide the "interest" factor.

Most interests, I suppose, come from childhood in one way or another. Certainly little boys hear stories that fire their imagination about pirates, shipwrecks and treasure. I suppose that most specific interests start something like that in childhood, or maybe later.

I'm curious. I like figuring things out. I like discovering something that I didn't know was there, especially if it has some type of value to me.

Then there is the element of surprise. You never know what you are going to find.

The mystery of an item is also a factor. What exactly is it? Where did it come from? Who had and how did they use it? Those questions set you up for more surprises as you research the item.

I especially like first finds. I like finding something that I've never found before.

There is a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction when you go out and find something.

I get bored when something is too easy to find or when I've found a number of them.

Sometimes I target certain items because there is a challenge to it. And sometimes I take the more difficult and challenging path.

The economic value plays into it a bit, but only indirectly. For some people more than for others, and for some only indirectly.

Economic value tells you that other people find an object desirable or valuable. Some people evaluate items more by reference to how others value those items.

One of the most common questions I get when I'm on the beach is, "What is the most valuable thing you've ever found?" I'm sure you've heard that too. I can't answer that question.

I once said that the most valuable thing I ever found was the keys belonging to an elderly couple that were stranded in the middle of nowhere on a deserted beach in the days before cell phones.

I guess that most people that ask that question look at detecting more as a way to make money. I think that most people that have been detecting for a good while, do not look at it that way. I suspect that most people who detect for economic gain give it up before long. For those that do stick with it, there is just something about the activity that is interesting, satisfying and fun.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

NOAA just released their 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast. 12 to 18 named storms are expected between June 1 and November 30. I haven't found that on a web site yet, but it was released to the media this morning.

Natural gas and oil are selling off due to the forecast.

Still sand and shells piled everywhere on the Treasure Coast. The tide didn't get up as high as it did in recent days.

I did some of what I call "junking" today. Poked around where I expected to find a lot of junk, taking a chance that something better might just pop up in between.

Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

This has been a really long period of poor hunting conditions on the Treasure Coast.

The wind calm and is coming from the south. The seas will remain calm for at least a few days.

It is a good time to practice working the front beach in the crash zone. Try out the tips I gave a couple of days ago. It will be easy under these conditions.

Happy hunting,

5/18/11 Report - 1715 Fleet Shipwreck Screw Top & Treasure Coast UFO Photo???

1715 Fleet Shipwreck Screw Top Listed on EBay.

I thought it would be a good idea to show this photo because I bet there are a lot of people that would simply throw this thing away if they found it. I bet a lot of you never associated screw tops with Spanish shipwrecks.

This item is said to be a screw top from a container that might have been used to hold sugar. Might be, I guess.

It is listed for $199.00, so if you find one you might want to keep it. The item number is 120724702170.

I always like to browse artifacts just so I know what they are. I know I've thrown away some good things over the years, simply because I didn't realize what they were.

It just occured to me that the piece of titanium from the Challenger that I showed yesterday was picked up at about the same time the Endeavor was going off. I don't know why that didn't strike me at the time. The view of the last launch was pretty good along the Treasure Coast. I saw the shuttle go up while I was on the beach. I know it had to be about the same time that I was picking up that metal. I guess I didn't know for sure that the metal was titanium when I was on the beach. I stuck it away for later. That is undoubtedly why I didn't put the two things together. It would of been really neat if I picked it up and held it up and got it in with a picture of the Endeavor taking off. To bad I didn't do that.

Titanium is being used a lot for jewelry these days. It is similar in appearance to aluminum but duller and stonger than steel. At first glance it sometimes looks like white gold, but it is a lot less expensive.

While I'm on the subject of space, I'm tempted to show you another photo I got by accident one day a few years ago.

Uhhhhhh... I'll do it. Here it is.

Photo of Cobalt Blue Bottle.

I was taking a photo of this old cobalt blue Milk of Magnesia bottle for someone and didn't notice anything unusual until I went inside,loaded the photo onto the computer and looked at it on the monitor. After a while I noticed something just above the lip of the bottle.

Here is the original photo and the other photo was cropped from the original to focus in on whatever was above the lip of the bottle in the photo.

I didn't use Photoshop or do anything to this photo. I didn't even sharpen it. This is the original, just cropped.

I don't have any idea what it is or where it came from. I guess you could call it a UFO. It could be a reflection or something, but I took other photos from nearly the same angle just seconds apart, and the object is not in those other photos.

Cropped Photo Showing Unidentified Object.

I have a relative that loves UFOs, and he thinks I am the luckiest person in the world to have captured a daylight photo of a UFO.

I don't know what it is. It could be a reflection of some sort? What do you think?

I better quit on this one. I don't know how to follow that.

Oh, I put a new survey on that will help me find out what types of things you are most interested in. Please respond to the survey. Thanks.

I've been having some trouble with the blog lately. Today after starting the survey, I found an error. When trying to edit the error, I lost the original responses, so if you answered the survey earlier you can answer again. The survey restarted at about 4:25 PM 5/18/11. Sorry.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the west. We've had some cool fronts lately and the weather is really nice for being out.

The swells are coming from the north and the tides are pretty high. Take a look at the tide charts.

The seas are still calm and will remain calm for a few days. Still good for water hunting and low tide hunting.

Yesterday I gave some tips on how to work the water where the swells are breaking on the front of the beach. I think you'll find that useful.

I'll get out to get some new beach photos sometime soon.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5/17/11 Report - Working the Beach in the Crashing Surf

Titanium from Challenger.

This piece is different from many of the other pieces of titanium that I've found. Many of the others were smooth and rounded. This one looks like it was blasted. One thing I noticed is that it tests like gold, testing between 14 and 18k. I wonder if titanium should do that, or if maybe my acid is going bad or something.

I just realized that I found an Ice Age fossil and a piece of space debris within yards of each other on the same day.

A lot of people probably don't care about either space debris or fossils. Different people like different things. I tend to like a lot of different types of things.

Yesterday I mentioned that I might give some tips on working the rough water when the surf is crashing on the front beach. It is not easy and there are some dangers in doing it, but it can be done. I've done a lot of it.

Caution: If you choose to try to following you can easily damage or lose your equipment or get hurt. Proceed with due caution and only at your own risk.

To help avoid damaging your coil, be sure the coil is not exposed to too much force. And of course, your coil must be waterproof. Your entire detector should be waterproof because water can splash up or you can get knocked off of your feet. Don't even try this unless you know what you are doing and you and your equipment are up to it.

A lot of people don't work the wet sand area because they get false signals. There are a number of things you can do to minimize that. The detector manufacturers will often tell you to turn down your sensitivity. I don't do that. Instead I operate in pin-point or all-metals mode. Operating in those modes you will hear some of the changes in salt mineralization, but that is OK. You can learn to distinguish between actual targets and changes in salt mineralization.

Another thing you can do is to slow down your sweep speed and sweep parallel to the shoreline instead of perpendicular to the water line.

If you haven't worked the moving shallow water on the front beach before, avoid going into rough water. Stay where the water comes and goes more quietly. You can work up and down the slope venturing farther out towards the ocean as the water recedes and then working back up the slope as the next wave or surge comes in. You'll find that the waves are irregular - sometimes building and going further up the beach and sometimes backing off for a while. You can work in and out with those changes.

Try to avoid dipping your coil in and out of the water. Try to either keep it submersed in a few inches of water or just an inch or so above the water. Going in and out can cause false signals and will stress your coil more.

The angle of the coil can make a big difference. Swiftly moving water can really put a lot of force on your coil. Keep the coil so you can easily cut through the water. If the coil must come out of the water, angle the coil so that it slides out smoothly, rather than picking it up and down abruptly.

If you are on a slopping beach and the water is moving in and out with some force, when you get a signal, turn your back to the water, pin point the target, place one foot an inch or so down hill from the target.

That reminds me of something else that I want to interject here. If the water is moving with a lot of force, you might need some foot wear to protect your feet and legs from rocks that are being thrown around by the water. A rock hitting a shin or ankle bone can really hurt. And a wave hitting you when your are off balance and don't expect it, can easily knock you down.

Back to the target. There are two reasons to place your foot by the target. One is to mark the target. You can easily lose the exact spot when water, stones and shells are rushing by, and you don't want to make it any harder than necessary to recover a target under those conditions.

Looking down at a spot while the water and everything rushes by makes some people dizzy. Again, be careful.

The other reason for having your foot close to the spot, is if the target is near the surface and the water is moving with good force, you should be in a position to quickly place your foot on the target to keep the target from moving. That generally works. The same thing applies if you have taken a scoop or two and don't yet have the target in your scoop.

If the water is moving with a lot of force, you can easily loose the target to the rushing water. When you put your foot on the target, in pin-point mode, keep sweeping your coil quickly over your foot to keep track of the target in case it does move. If the water moves it, you can often track it and put your foot on it again before it is lost.

Another reason for putting your back to the water is when you push your scoop into the sand, the water rushing back down the slope will push the material into your scoop and help sift the sand through your scoop. Sometimes the water will sift the scoop for you without shaking the scoop or anything, but sometimes you'll end up with a scoop full of rocks or shells.

Again, this can be dangerous if the water is moving forcefully and you are inexperienced. Don't try it until you are sure you have worked up to it. Begin in slightly moving water until you have mastered the process. I know one person that lost her detector to the ocean, and another that lost a nice long handled scoop.

The results of the most recent survey are now in. A little over one third of those responding are from the Treasure Coast area (35%), 45% are from other areas of Florida, 45%, and 30% from other areas of the United States, few of them being from the southeast US. And of the course the remainder are from outside the continental US.

That sounds pretty reasonable. While I might have expected the majority to be from the Treasure Coast, the Treasure Coast is not a heavily populated area, and those outside of the Treasure Coast area might want to keep an eye on the Treasure Coast to see when it might be worth making a trip.

There is a large number of respondents from outside of Florida. I often hear from snowbirds from the northeast who either have winter homes in Florida or who visit Florida during the winter months. Many of them like to keep up on the news about treasure hunting and the Treasure Coast beaches.

It is clear that this blog brings a lot of attention to the Treasure Coast and our famous shipwreck beaches. (My hit counter is over 180,000 now, and all of that is without any publicity efforts other than the availability of the blog. I don't do facebook, make offers to exchange links or any of that stuff.)

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still from the west and the seas running down around a foot. It looks like things will remain that way for a few days, at least if the surf web sites are correct.

The water is calm enough for easy water hunting. There are some swells in the shallow water, but nothing you can't easily bob with.

I've mentioned before that you can work even rough water if you learn how to just go with the flow, and my post today might have opened up a new area for you to detect.

A lot of the beaches now have a sand bar real close to the beach and during low tide the swells will cut down. And there is the dip between the sand bar and the beach that might be real calm during low tide. Those dips differ. Very often they are too shallow and filled with loose sand and shells. Sometimes though, they can be very productive. You can quickly sample the dips to see if it is worth your time or not.

Remember, hunting in the water in leased areas is not legal. I've posted a lot about where those leases are in the past. You might want to use the blog search box to find rules and regulations for water detecting.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 16, 2011

5/16/11 Report - Cannon, Lost Merchant Shipwreck & the Danger of Over-Simplification

One Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday at Low Tide.

More on that below along with today's photos.

The Mel Fisher organization is building a custom designed Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) capable to go after the treasure of the Lost Merchant off the coast of North Florida. They have just finished an electronic survey of 37 miles of ocean and will use the new ROV to recover the treasure once this wreck is located.

Kovels Komments reports A bronze Chinese cannon covered with designs and words and stored for over 80 years at the back of a storeroom went to auction with an appraisal of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $149,500. The papers with the item said the 800-pound cannon, made in 1695, was sent to the United States as a souvenir by an American soldier. U.S. forces took part in a "China Relief expedition" that went to China in 1900 to rescue U.S. citizens, Europeans, and others who were in danger because of the Boxer Rebellion.

I often get emails from people asking where to look for different types of things. Unfortunately the answer is not real simple. The answer appeared more simple to me at one time but has become increasingly complex. The more you learn about things, the more complex your models become.

One thing you might have learned from the survey on where cobs are found is that cobs have been found in every major zone on our beaches - from the water's edge to the back dunes. After a person finds their first cob, no matter where it was found, the tendency is to continue looking in that area. And then when a few more are found in that area, the tendency is to focus exclusively on that area. That creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it is a trap.

If you believe that cobs are found in one zone and you continue to focus on that zone, that is where you will find cobs in the future. The thing is, there will be cobs elsewhere that you will miss simply because you did not spend enough time looking in those other places.

Yes, there are some places that are generally better than others. I would have guessed that the survey would have showed a higher proportion of cobs coming from the cuts. The survey wasn't a scientific survey and the exact numbers are questionable. I can't personally verify where other detectorists have found their cobs, but I have personally verified that cobs are found in all of the mentioned beach zones. I've found cobs in all of those zones myself.

The main point that I am getting to is that your mental model of where cobs will appear on a beach should become more complex as your experience increases. While it is fine to believe that cobs are found in zone X, Y or Z when you are starting, as you gain more experience your model should expand to include more factors. Instead of saying something like cobs are found in zone X, your model should be something more like, on beach X, or on beaches of type X, under condition Y, cobs will be found in zone Z. In other words, take into account the particular beach or type of beach you are dealing with and the conditions that are current on that beach.

Lets say you are at one of the beaches where the cobs generally come from the back dunes. That is what happens on some beaches. If you believe that cobs are found only near the water below dips on the front beach, and if you only hunt, you would miss any cobs that were recently washed out of the back dunes. You would probably strike out because of your over-simplified model.

I walk the line in this blog trying to make things simple while at the same time trying to avoid over-simplifying. If you are relatively new to detecting or haven't yet found your first cob or first few cobs (or whatever you are targeting), simplification can be helpful, but it can also be a trap.

It is true that there are some zones and different types of areas that are generally better than others to detect. But there are also times when those same places aren't the place to be. That is why I highly recommend sampling. Sampling will help you quickly check out the areas that you most suspect and then move on to check out other areas when the first spots don't seem to be producing.

I continue to learn. I've certainly learned a few things lately. To do that I test my theories and revise them whenever experience dictates.

Having received a lot of email and being involved in a lot of discussions, I am more sure than ever that a lot of people are being limited by over-simplification. To give one example, I know of some people that have found many shipwreck spikes and many other types of items, but have not yet managed to find a single cob. On the other hand I know people who have found lots of cobs, but not a single spike. Why?
They hunt different areas. They've become focused on one type of area rather than another, and that is the reason they find so many of one type of object but none of the other. I've observed that those two different types of objects are most often found in different types of areas, and that is why some people find one rather than the other. It has to do with where and how they hunt. (I won't comment on the "how" in this post. Maybe some other time.)

I am an empiricist and use an experimental procedure. Data rules. I suppose that is partly due to the fact that much of my professional life was spent in an academic research setting. I am always trying to improve my models of how the beach works and how different types of objects move and are uncovered. There isn't much out there to read that will really help you on that other than some basics, and that can lead you down the track of over-simplification.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Area Where Swells Were Breaking at High Tide This Morning.

I got out on the beach this morning. My timing was way off. It was high tide and although there were a few scallops and cuts, which surprised me, it was really hard working the low tide zone. The swells were crasing on the front beach pretty hard during high tide and creating a rolling shell pile on the beach side of the dip. There were targets in the rough water, but it was hard to get them. I wished that the tide would back off, but I didn't have time to wait it out.

If you look closely at this photo, you'll see some of the rocks and shells that were being churned up. You can see where the larger pieces were being exposed near the at the right side of the photo, just below center. I have a nice video of the churning action that was going on there but couldn't get the video to load to the post.

This is very close to the area shown above which shows low tide yesterday. I did manage to pick up a few things while working the rough water.

I'll give you a few tips on working rough water in an area like this some other time.

A Few Cut Scallops Found On the Beach This Morning.

This was a bit of a surprise. I suspect you'll find similar scallops and small cuts on some of the other beaches around the Treasure Coast.

There were definitely some interesting spots even though overall conditions remain poor.

I'd go out around low tide and work the recently churned area where rocks are accumulating. I picked a few nice sized fossils out of the churning water as they were flying up and down the slope. They can really smack your feet or shin bones.

There were also some metal targets being churned up with the other stuff.

Happy hunting,