Wednesday, May 4, 2011

5//4/11 Report - Prospecting or Mining: That Is the Question

A Few Gold Medallions.

Medallions, or charms, often get separated from the chain. Even if the chain comes off, part of it will often stick out of the sand so it can be found, but a medallion is easily lost. Here are a few that have been found on Treasure Coast beaches.

It can be difficult to create and interpret surveys. I have a lot of academic work in survey construction and analysis, but the informal surveys in this blog are not of that level. Yet they do tell us something, even though they are far from perfect.

The survey that is running on this blog now is nearly complete. I've been having a hard time not commenting on it before it was actually complete, but I guess I should hold off just a little longer. I hope you will all vote and then I'll comment when it is complete.

I received an email from someone asking for a good "specific" spot to hunt. I know what they mean, but the question just doesn't feel right to me. I want to say if I give you a specific spot, you are leaving out a lot of what I find most interesting and enjoyable. I enjoy hunting those good spots. Or even those spots where something small and surprising becomes accessible. I guess that is the prospecting. When I find a good spot and the conditions are right, I switch from prospecting to mining. I've used the term "mining" before to refer to very thoroughly detecting and cleaning out a small well defined good spot.

There are some good spots that produce more frequently than others, but the big finds that haven't yet been made are probably places where the majority of detecting is not done. Think about it. Some of the beaches are hunted multiple times almost daily. And some places are hunted very seldom. If you choose to hunt the well known good spots, you'll be hunting where a lot of other people hunt. If on the other hand, you do a little prospecting, you might find a new good spot and have a chance of making some really good finds. I know it is a long shot. But I hope you see what I am saying. You can either hunt where things have been found most often in the past and where everybody else hunts, or you can work at being one of the first to find a good new spot. I would encourage you to do a little more prospecting rather than always following the crowd.

I didn't say what I started to say. The whole treasure coast is a good place to prospect. These wrecks are scattered over large areas. Yes there are some spots where cobs tend to reappear more frequently than other spots, but the entire area holds possibilities.

Also, the good spots change. It depends upon beach conditions. I'd rather hunt an eroded area where nothing has ever been found before than an area where many things have been found but where everything good is buried deeply in loose sand.

I think I've made one point, even if poorly.

One clarification here: deep loose sand is a bad sign if you are targeting shipwreck cobs or coins, but not necessarily other things like wood, ceramics, or some types of metal artifacts. Generally speaking if I don't clarify, I am talking about hunting shipwreck treasure cobs or coins.

Back to the point of not always hunting where everybody else hunts. I started detecting when I lived in a heavily populated area where there were a lot of detectorists. Sometimes I hunted the popular beaches where a lot of other people hunted, but more often I hunted spots where almost no one else hunted. I almost never saw anyone else hunt my favorite spots. Most of them just didn't look like they would be any good. Some were abandoned spots that weren't used much anymore, but they were used heavily in times past. Some looked junky or were over-grown. And some of them were difficult to get to for one reason or another. But they were good spots that I hunted over and over again.

It is the propsecting part that will help you be most productive. A lot of people simply want to mine a known location.

I know of some spots that aren't good very often, but underneath all of the sand are shipwreck items. Some of those spots might only produce once or twice in a ten year period. Most the time there is too much sand, but when the conditions are right, the items become accessible for a day or two or more and then quickly disappear again, not reappearing until the conditions are right again, whenever that is.

Prices of precious metals have been dropping quickly the last few days, but everything has - stocks, oil, the dollar. About the only safe haven right now is foreign currencies. That might all turn around very soon, but you might want to make a decision if you haven't already.

I know of one shipwreck that lies under the beach in front of a big hotel down in Dade County, but it rarely shows itself. Most people walk over it, and I dare say, don't have the foggiest idea that it is there.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The beaches haven't changed yet, but the wind has shifted to the north and the seas are calm, down around two or three feet today. That gives you a chance to get pretty far out during low tide.

But here we go again. Did you notice that the surf web sites are now predicting less than five foot seas tomorrow? As usual the prediction of rougher seas is reduced as the time gets near. I sure wish they would fix their models. This has been very predictable for at least about two years now. That is obviously a systematic error in their models.

There is a cool front that is coming through and temperatures will be decreasing a little. I like that, but it won't help the beach conditions much.

Happy hunting,