Thursday, June 30, 2011

6/30/11 Report - Cannon From Revolutionary War Wreck Recovered Off St. Augustine Beach & Tropical Storm Arlene

Photo of Cannon Being Raised.

Photo from

I just noticed yesterday that my hit counter just blew through 200,000 the other day. That seemed fast.

The big news for me today is the cannons that were recovered from an area within sight of the St. Augustine Beach pier. It seems the wreck is from the late 18th century, possibly between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Here is the link for more of the story and a video.


The thesis I talked about yesterday is interesting for a number of reasons. One is that it is based upon a reevaluation of artifacts that were in a collection for some time just gathering dust. As the author points out, good information can be obtained from going back to old artifacts and taking another look. I recommend that you do that with your own finds. It is often surprising what insights you'll get at a later date that never occurred to you at first.

You might also want to look through the thesis at the maps and artifacts, including the spikes and pot shards.

I just got a lot of good information about the medallion that I posted way back on 8/23/09. Quite a story goes with it. I'll have to get into that more some other time. Maybe tomorrow.

It seems that a lot of the public has a negative opinion about detectorists. I know that some archaeologists portray detectorists as grave robbers or worse, but I know what their motives are. It is the regular man on the street who has never tried detecting and doesn't have a clue, that I wonder about. A lot of the negativity is just ignorance I guess. And detectorists don't do the best job of informing the public about their contributions. They don't tell how many coins are returned to circulation, how many eye glasses and car keys found, the number of rings returned, and all of the businesses built around metal detecting.

People sometimes ask me about the Florida West Coast. I've spent some time over there and know of some treasure beaches on the west coast, but I don't know the west coast area nearly as well as the Treasure Coast and South Florida.

Anyhow, here is one sunken shipwreck story from the Tampa Bay area from back in January. Not much is known about the source of the artifacts yet. Just supposition.

Coinshooting and beach hunting are different in a variety of ways. One way is that on beaches, items are frequently moved when the waves move the sand. That is a big difference and requires learning to read a beach.

ON a beach you don't have to pin-point the target so precisely. Digging a coin on dry land requires accurate pin-pointing and removing a plug without damaging the coin. On a beach, you just scoop and sift. Of course on a beach you can still damage coins if your scoop hits the coin or object, so learning to pinpoint more accurately can help on a beach too, but it is not usually so critical. That is why I recommend what I call cross-training. If you hunt different ways and places, you'll always learn something that you can apply elsewhere.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the south and the seas calm. You probably know that we have been having rain all week. Rain doesn't bother me, but lightening does. You'll sometimes hear lightening crackling in your ear phones when it is still far away.

The wind is still out of the south and the sea is calm. It doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. You'll be dealing with sanded in beaches, as has been the case for at least a few weeks now.

Low tide is now around 1 or 2 o'clock.

There is one named tropical storm now. Arlene. Arlene is down by Mexico and bringing us some of the moisture we've been having. I don't think the Treasure Coast will be affected much by Arlene otherwise.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6/28/11 Report - Spanish Missions & Loose Change

Map Showing Location of Spanish Missions in Florida.

This map appeared in the 2006 Master's thesis of Alissa Slade.

Here is the link if you want to read the thesis.

Notice the marked shipping route back to St. Augustine.

You probably know that I especially like "first finds." They tend to move a person to the next level somehow.

Steve sent me an email yesterday telling about his first gold find. Here is what he said.

Arrived in Port St. Lucie yesterday and pulled out the Exal 2 today. Then,
following your suggestion, checked out a beach that doesn't appear to be
detected very often. I've found coins there before and have never seen
anyone hunting it. This time I decided to get in the water since it was so
calm. Found a dime right off and then two sinkers. Then I got a sweet low
tone and pulled out a gold ladies ring, 10k only, with a load of tiny
stones on top that are probably crystal. But at least I've finally got

Congratulations Steve!

A 1740s Spanish mission was discovered in Escambia County.

Here is that link.

Many beach hunters only hunt beaches. Of course that is OK, and there are many reasons that make beach hunting a good choice. Unless it is a state park or something, you don't have to ask permission, and sifting sand is easier than pinpointing and removing coins from hard earth. However, if you restrict yourself to beaches, that is very limiting. I recommend expanding your field and your experience in as many ways as you can.

There are land sites that are worth hunting. Old Spanish treasure coins are sometimes found on land. You might know of the Bulldozer Hoard. I've talked about it before. It was found when a bulldozer was moving earth for the construction of the Wal-Mart in Sebastian.

As you know, if you run across something important like the Spanish mission, though, you should immediately contact the State archaeologist.

But my point is that there are places where you can find old treasures besides the beach. And I like a little variety.

It pays to be alert to all kinds of opportunities.

Recently I was driving down US 1 and noticed a side road where a vacant lot was jammed with cars. I'd never noticed that before, so decided to check it out when I got the chance. What I found is that a new church had been built and they were using the old vacant lot across the street as a parking lot. I didn't spend much time detecting there, but it goes to show how you need to keep your eyes open and how you can suddenly find a new detecting site. I know it was nothing exciting, but I like to explore and it helps me sharpen some of my less used detecting techniques.

When I lived down south I lived near two sites where carnivals were held every year. I'd be the first to detect those sites after the carnival pulled out. I always found a good amount of change. Nothing spectacular, but it was enjoyable. There was always a lot of change, and most of it was laying right on top of the ground, maybe under a little grass or dust, but no real digging was required.

I would get out my old Tesoro Royal Sabre and have a fun time picking up coins for a few hours. Sometimes it seemed like rolls of coins were spilled in one spot. Like I said, nothing real interesting, but fun and profitable.

On a similar note, the northern end of A1A on South Hutchinson Island immediately south of the Fort Pierce inlet has been dug up for the last few weeks. It seems they are putting in new pipes. It might be worth checking some day. Maybe something old will be brought to the surface. I'm sure there will be a lot of junk, so you might select a different detector than what you would use on the beach. A target ID might be good there.

Odyssey Marine was added to Russell 3000. By the timing I would guess that getting on the index is the reason they issued those millions of new shares. I didn't know why they issued all of those new shares. That might be the reason.

Being on the index will give them greater visibility.

Here is that link.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Same old, same old. No change in conditions again. And no changes imminent.

The only news here is that a low pressure zone has formed near Mexico in the southern Gulf. It has a fifty percent chance of forming into a cyclone but probably won't affect beach conditions much, but it is helping to bring us some moisture and rain.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 27, 2011

6/27/11 Report - Cloudy Day at the Beach

Salvage Boat Arriving On Wreck Site This Morning.

As you can see from the photo, it was cloudy this morning on the Treasure Coast. Nonetheless, salvage crews were getting ready to go to work.

Subsurface radar is being used a lot by archaeologists today. Here is a little video that provides shows some basic information on subsurface radar.

Not too long ago I showed an old plank that had been riddled by Toredo worms.

Here is the link if you want to learn more about the Toredo Worm and attempts to avoid the damage that they caused to sailing ships.

Toredo Worm and Damaged Wood.

And here is a link to an article about the Toredo Worms and how they tried to deal with the little monsters in the days of sailing ships.

I posted a photo of a silver disk from the Power Plant Wreck not too long ago. Trez found the original source of the image for me.
It was a book by Alan Craig and Ernest Richards Jr., Spanish Treasure Bars From New World Shipwrecks, Vol. 1, 2003.

Thanks for the research Trez!

A cache of wine was recovered from a Civil War blockade runner that sunk in the Bahamas. Here is that link to that story.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

It was cloudy this morning. Maybe we'll get rain again this afternoon.

If you look at the back dunes after a good rain, sometimes you'll see that sand has washed down onto the beach. It can be worth checking both where the sand was removed and the material that falls down on the beach.

I've found old items on slabs of sand that fell down the face of the cliff.

I was digging more iron from one of those broad flat beaches again this morning. At least one broken piece of iron spike was found.

There seems to be no end to that stuff. If I was as ambitious as I was in the old days, I would stay until it was cleaned out. I just am not that fanatical about it anymore.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I was impressed again this morning about the usefulness of looking for any sign of rust while digging iron near the water level. It sures helps you to quickly identify the exact location of the object, prevents excessive digging, and prevents damaging the object.

The wind is still from the south and the seas calm with no prospects for a significant change to beach conditions. More of the same.

I think that is it for today.

I feel like I'm forgetting to mention some things, but will get back to whatever it is some other time.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

6/26/11 Report - Sterncastle Gem

Atocha 10 Carat Emerald Ring Found

Good news from Key West!

A couple of days ago I received an email from the Mel Fisher organization reporting the find of this 10 Carat emerald ring found in the new area of exploration within 300 feet of where a gold rosary and gold bar were recently found. Seems to be a nice new hot spot. They think it might be where the sterncastle went down, and that is where the possessions of the aristocracy would have been.

Captain Andy Matroci said, “This is the largest emerald box ring I have ever seen from the Atocha,” It could be worth as much as $500,000.

The ring is engraved with VRC, which might be the initials of the original owner.

Also found yesterday were two silver spoons, 4 silver coins, and what looks like an encrusted lid to a box and a broach.

Salvage ships are now busy all over the Treasure Coast. I saw two ships working the Nieves site just the other day.

Don B. informs me that this story was also in the Sun-Sentinel.

I was browsing eBay and noticed a bunch of very suspicious looking "shipwreck coins." It seems there are as many fakes as there are genuine shipwreck coins being sold on eBay.

The first group that really jumped out of me was a bunch of silver Roman coins that were said to be from a shipwreck discovered near Israel in the 1960s or 70s. The thing that caught my attention is that they looked like they were two hours old. The edges and everything were unbelievable sharp and the silver bright and shiny.

Another warning flag is that there were a variety of ancient coins from different eras and places being sold by the same seller, and they all had the same impossibly new look.

Another warning sign was that the seller said he only had second hand knowledge of the source of the coins and that he was told they were from a shipwreck.

No silver coin immersed in salt water is going to look shiny new, and if it is cleaned of all oxidation, the details would not be so impossibly sharp. The edges looked so sharp that they looked like they would cut you. Those coins just didn't look right in any way.

Watch out. Buy "shipwreck" coins from reputable sources.

Years ago, I once went to Hollywood Beach (FL) early in the morning to detect.
Some of the early-risers were already running up and down the beach picking up furniture. A cargo container had fallen off of a ship coming out of Port Everglades and dumped furniture in the ocean, and it was washing up on the beach.

I don't know how a ship looses a cargo container, but that is what happened.

I was reminded of that incident this morning when reading about the hoards that showed up to salvage a sunken ship in Hawaii back in the 18th Century. It must have seemed like the Sea Gods opened Davey Jones' treasure chest.

Think about it. All of a sudden all kinds of goods are washing up on shore for the taking. I would think a shipwreck like that would attract the locals from far and wide in ages past. The article mentioned one of the Hawaiians conducting a ceremony thank God for the bounty from the sea.

When walking a beach, I often feel a little like the sea is making an offering. There is always something washing up on the beach, even if it is only sea shells.

Yesterday morning I was at one of those broad flat beaches that is producing a lot of iron artifacts. I was reminded of a couple of tips I recently gave in this blog. I found using both of them very helpful, so I thought they were worth repeating.

The first is when digging an iron artifact close to the water level keep your eyes pealed for the first glimpse of rust. You'll usually see a hint of rust before you see or remove the object. When you see the rust, stop digging. When you see the first evidence of rust, top digging and see if you can see the location of the object. If you can, remove the item by hand. I think you'll find this easier, especially when the item is buried in a layer of shells, and it will help prevent damage to the item that might be caused by further digging.

Elongated Iron Object Giving Signals at Each End.

As I described in my 5/30/11 report, a long narrow piece of iron, such as a spike will give signals at both ends when swinging the coil in the right direction. This morning I detected an iron object that gave a broken signal that sounded like two signals several inches apart. I figured it was an iron spike,or something similar in size and shape. I figured that the object was buried only a few inches, and that the object was between the two signals. I dug, scooping from one signal to the other, and indeed the item was an elongated iron object was located just where I expected between the two signals. I was therefore able to locate and scoop out the item without hitting it at all.

If you want to read more about this technique of identifying elongated iron objects, you might want to go back and read my 5/30/11 post.

The Condederate sub Hunley is being turned right side up. Here is the link to that story.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still from the south and the sea calm. Therefore no change in conditions to report.

There isn't anything significant going on in the Atlantic either. The flat seas are predicted to remain for another week.

I saw a couple other detectorists that were on the beach before me yesterday, but there were still a lot of iron targets. I suspect that there is still a spike or two within detecting range on that beach. I was surprised how many targets there still were - and not only iron. There were copper items and other non-ferrous targets still there. I left some again. Just didn't have the time to clean them all out.

I suspect there are other beaches with targets to keep you busy, but some, of course, will probably be pretty clean. What I've been seeing is some of the beaches where the sand has been dragged down and into the water in recent weeks, there are still some targets. I don't think the beaches with a steeper slope will generally have as many targets to dig.

Again, it is hard digging. The beaches I am talking about have a lot of packed shells under a layer of sand. That makes for tough digging. That is also why you have to be more careful to avoid damaging items that you are digging. It takes some real vigorous digging to get them out.

We had some rain on the Treasure Coast the last couple of days - not nearly enough, but some. I'll therefore remind you that even a good rain can expose some targets.

One other thing: Some of the Treasure Coast beaches now have a lot of green sea weed on them. That stuff is slippery as ice. Watch your footing.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 24, 2011

6/24/11 Report - Atocha Silver Bar & New Sedwick Auction Open

Atocha Silver Bar in New Sedwick Auction.

Really neat silver bar with a lot of information inscribed.

Here is the lot description.

Large silver bar #56, 84 lb 1.4 oz troy, Class Factor 0.9. Choice bar. Markings: ATS monogram to left, HE to right, V at upper right corner. manifest number IUCCXXIX, fineness IIU C C C L X X X (2380 = 99.2% pure) to left of partial IoV.Ess. / MEXIA assayer cartouche, also 3 nearly complete tax stamps and posible 1622 (faint) date with P initial for Potosí [top left], very deep "double-scoop" assayer's "bite" in middle. From the Atocha (1622), with Fisher photo-certificate #56

Last night I received an email from Sedwick Coins with an announcement about two auctions. The first auction is the First Sedwick Coins All Internet Auction, which is now open for bidding online. Here is the information they sent about that.

Our first “Internet Only” Auction #1 is now available for viewing on iCollector!

Due to consignor demand we are holding our first “Internet Only” absentee-bid auction online from now until the closing at 9 pm EDT on July 28. Here is how it works:

Sign in and register to bid for Internet-Only Auction #1 (Summer 2011) powered by iCollector (click here), just as you do with our regular auctions (or set up a new account on iCollector in seconds). Then browse the lots and bid on them or bookmark them to watch. Bid your maximum so you won’t lose the item you really want. The iCollector platform will treat it as a “secret maximum” and only show the current high bid (which is reduced to one increment above the next highest bid). Your maximum can only be seen by YOU. If you are outbid, iCollector will notify you instantly. The difference is that there is no LIVE bidding at the end, and all the lots will close at the same time. Terms and conditions are the same as for any of our other auctions. Also, since everything will be starting at LOW levels (practically all without reserves), we expect high participation, and there will NOT be a post-auction sale.

This auction of 789 lots features our first offering of silver cobs from the Sao Jose wreck of 1622 (read more) , consisting of over 350 coins in over 90 lots, most of them in groups of 3, 6 and 9 coins, as well as key dates and rarities in individual lots. You will also find a large Atocha silver bar, shipwreck and world coins (silver and gold), artifacts, books and documents. There is plenty here for the budget-conscious buyer, so take a look and plan to BUY!

We are posting the lot titles and photos now and opening the auction for bidding, although the cataloging is not complete. Watch for additional descriptions over the coming weeks.

We are posting the lot titles and photos now and opening the auction for bidding, although the cataloging is not complete. Watch for additional descriptions over the coming weeks.

You can view the auction lots in person at the Summer FUN show, July 7-9, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. After the show (up until July 27), please make an appointment to view the lots at our office in Winter Park.

The second auction they mentioned is the Treasure World Coin Auction #10 that will be conducted in October. They are accepting consignments for that auction up until Aug. 1

Here is the contact information.

Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC
P.O. Box 1964
Winter Park, FL 32790
telephone: 407.975.3325

fax: 407.975.3327

As you may recall, not too long ago Odyssey Marine stock was selling for over $4.00 per share, but then took a tumble when they announced that they were going to offer millions of additional shares.

Yesterday the stock (OMEX) closed at $3.05 per share. Here is the reason.

According to GLOBE NEWSWIRE, TAMPA, Fla., June 21, 2011,

Odyssey Marine, a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean exploration, today announced the closing of its previously announced public offering of common stock at a price to the public of $3.05 per share. The underwriters exercised in full their option to purchase 720,000 shares at the offering price, resulting in total sales of 5,520,000 shares.

Odyssey intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for shipwreck exploration and recovery projects, other working capital and general corporate purposes.

Yesterday I mentioned that the Whites Dual Field is a lot lighter than the Excalibur. I should have added that some people think the coil on the Dual Field is too buoyant and add a weight when detecting in the water.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

Still no change. Wind is out of the south and the sea is calm. The sea is expected to increase up to a couple of feet Monday and Tuesday, which isn't even hardly enough to mention. The predictions show the seas dropping back down right after that.

No signs of any storms in the Atlantic either. Its just a same old same old kind of thing. I'll bet we get some kind of storm before the summer is over.

Beach hunting here sure has been slow lately.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6/23/11 Report - Copper Sheeting and Stuff

Two Pieces of Copper Sheeting Found Recently on Treasure Coast Beaches.

There is a small piece of copper sheeting from a 1715 Fleet wreck that is for sale on eBay. I didn't think it would get a bid, but it has two bids already.

I point this out because a lot of people only look for coins or gold and silver artifacts. Some people tend to disregard other things they find that actually have value even if they don't realize it.

The item on eBay is item number 320717272415. You might like to read the listing. It has documentation on where it was found and who it was found by. It is the provenance, as they say, that makes the item more valuable.

I recommend keeping all unidentified items, even if they are as uninspiring as a piece of copper sheeting. If you read about the fossil bone that I mentioned yesterday, it was sitting in a collection gathering dust for a long time before the carving was discovered. Then it became world famous. If the carving wasn't noticed and studied, it would have been just another old bone, worth nothing.

Keep unidentified finds. Eventually some information might pop up that will give you some important clues about the item or the shipwreck that it came from. Take unidentified items out once in a while and look them over. Sometimes a proper cleaning will also turn up marks that will help you identify either the item or the date and source of the item.

If you can document the item to a particular shipwreck site it will have value. Someone will find it interesting and maybe you can create a nice display for it. Don't be too quick to throw miscellaneous artifacts like that away.

The larger sheet in the photo above is much larger than the one listed on eBay. The smaller sheet on top has a square nail hole, which provides a clue to its age.

Carefully inspect all artifacts for any marks that might provides some information.

Kovels Komments reports, A Minneapolis bottle collector, Mary Shanesy, found a cache of 90 pre-Prohibition bottles when her house was being remodeled, according to a story in Bottles and Extras magazine (May-June 2011). The bottles were hidden in about 1917, just before the Prohibition era (1920-1933). Shanesy had some of the bottles auctioned to benefit the Hennepin History Museum. That evening the crowd at the auction not only watched the bottles sell, but also tasted some gin, brandy, and whiskey bottled before 1911. The bottles sold for extra high prices because the money was for the historical society. What a nice thing for a bottle collector to do.

Did you know you can find unclaimed money. Maybe there is some waiting for you. I found some.

If you live in Florida, here is the link to use.

Some detectors are a lot heavier than others. The Whites Dual Field feels about half as heavy as the Excalibur, for example.

If you want to hunt long hours, you might consider weight when selecting a detector.

Weight isn't the only thing. It is often a matter of weight distribution. If the weight is distributed well, the detector doesn't feel near as heavy.

Of course you can also mount the control box on your belt which can be worth doing.

In the water weight is not as important because the water will carry some of the weight.

There are slings and counter-weights and other approaches too.

One thing you should do is adjust your pole length. Having it either too short or too long will reduce comfort and wear you out.

Take a few minutes to check and adjust your pole length the next time out.

A nice one-of-a-kind medieval silver badge was found by a detectorist in England.

Here is the link to the story.

Someone asked me about some legalities. I don't like to comment on legalities, first because I am not an attorney, and secondly because it is difficult to summarize complex laws accurately even when you understand them.

Use you head. Even if you know the law in great detail, you could still get in trouble if some over-zealous official runs amuck. Being right won't always keep you out of trouble.

Do your best to obey all applicable laws, rules and regulations, but exercise a little judgement on top of that.

Don't be afraid to ask the authorities when you have questions. If it is a state or national park, for example, ask first. And do what they say even if it isn't 100% in line with the law.

I often tell people to talk to life guards. They will tell you what they will permit you to do in the area that they control. They will often be very helpful, as will other authorities.

Don't make enemies where you can just as easily make friends.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is till from the southeast and the seas calm. Therefore, there is no change in conditions to report.

The seas will be a little rougher next week, but still calm.

There is nothing to report in the tropics yet either.

The beach is till poor but the water fine.

Happy hunting,

6/22/11 Report - Vero Bone - Cob Beach Finds Survey Results

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Near Low Tide.

I think you can see a small dip in front of a broad sand bar here. This beach is a little steeper than the low flat beach I talked about yesterday and which had the iron objects out front.

You might know about the important incised mammoth bone that was found near Vero. A research team of archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, materials science engineers, and artists have studied that important 13,000-year-old bone and artifact, which may be the only one of its kind found in the Western Hemisphere. It appears that the carving is genuine.

Here is the link to the story.

I attended a conference about this important archaeological find and wrote about this bone in this blog in the past, for example in my Oct. 21, 2010 post.

The most recent blog survey has ended and the results are in.

One of the biggest findings is that nearly 80% of those who responded, have never found a cob on the Treasure Coast beaches. To put it another way, only 1 in 5 have.

It's not easy. It takes time. I traveled to the Treasure Coast a number of times before I found my first. It made me wonder if I would ever find one.

It always seems like the first one is the hardest. Unless you happen to be one of the lucky ones, like the lady that found a gold escudo on her very first outing with a detector. It usually takes a while. You have to be there when the conditions are right, and it is hard to know when they are right unless you are there to see them.

When I began there wasn't any blog that told about Treasure Coast beach conditions. It was pot luck. I would make the trip and then only find out what the beaches were like when I got there.

After you find the first, it seems like you gain some confidence, knowing that they are there and that you can find them if you keep at it.

If you don't live on the Treasure Coast, it is difficult. There are times when you can cover every square inch of Treasure Coast beach and you won't find a single.

That is the reason I created the Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale. I wish I had that when I started looking for cobs. It would have saved me a lot of wasted trips.

I always tell people from distant locations to not make the trip until there is a storm or something. Otherwise it is a real long shot. There is always the possibility, but sometimes the probabilities are very very low.

The second main finding of the survey is that conditions have not been good for the past couple of years and that the majority of finds go back two years or more.

One problem with the way I constructed the survey is that I left out the category of 5 years or more. I bet there would have been a lot in that period because many cobs were found after the hurricanes of 2004.

There have been some cobs found in the last six months. Not many but some.

As I often say, I start my beach conditions rating scale with a 1 instead of a 0 because there is always some chance, even if it is very small.

I think I only raised my rating scale above a 1 a very few times this year. I'll have to look that up.

But overall, the last two years have not been very good for hunting cobs. There has been very little erosion, and no really good northeasters to scour the beaches. The best conditions I can remember occurred over two years ago now. I'll should go back and plot the times that I increased my beach conditions rating in the past few years. I can recall once when I gave a four rating. I think that was about two and a half year ago.

In summary, conditions haven't been very good very often during the last two years, yet a few cobs have been found during that time. Hopefully we'll get a nice storm or two (I don't want and it doesn't take a hurricane.) that will move a good bit of sand and even hit the back dunes.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

No change in beach conditions. the wind is from the south. You can see what the ocean is like from the photo above. The water is still pretty smooth. And the tropics look calm.

In a few days the seas will increase, but not by a great deal - maybe two or three feet. That won't be enough to change beach conditions a lot.

Between all of the beach renourishment sand along the coast and the smooth seas, it really isn't very promising out there. The southeast summer breezes tend to build the beaches.

Any rough water could freshen up some of the spots where iron is currently being found. But a lot of guys aren't the least interested in that.

The water is still smooth if you want to do some water hunting.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 20, 2011

6/21/11 Report - Salvage Vessels, Treasure Tour & Tough Digging

Lobster Man Blowing Holes at the Nieves Wreck Site By Green Turtle Beach.

The Lobster Man was one of two salvage vessels working the area this morning.

Fox News Plays the Whatzit Game.

As you probably know I often post photos of mystery items. or "Whatzits," in the hope that someone will know what they are or at least be able to provide a clue to what they could be or how they might have been used.

Fox News recently did the same thing with a peculiar whatzit that was dug up by an archaeologist. A number of people wrote in their guess about what the item is.

See if you have any ideas about it.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a piece of an old plank that I think is from a 16th Century wreck that washed up on the beach. If you looked at the picture, you might have seen that it was riddled with worm holes.

Toredo worms were a real problem for the galleons and explorers of the early days.

Here is a web site that will tell you more about Toredo worms and how they tried to deal with them.

The web site is run by the University of West Florida Maritime Archaeology pProgram. You'll probably find some other interesting information there.

Here is the link.

There was a lot going on at Green Turtle Beach this morning. Not only were two salvage vessels busy at work, but Margaret Weller, widow of Bob "Frogfoot" Weller also stopped by with this little tour group.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions.

Well it's the longest day of the year. That's good if you like the sun. I don't.

Nothing significant has really changed on the beach for quite a while. The sea is till calm.

We are well into summer and tis the season to be diving. Tra La La La La.

The beaches are sanded in but the water is very inviting.

Actually, I did hunt the beach a bit this morning. If you wanted to walk along and look for shells or fossils or whatever (I saw a small piece of clay pot shard and some fossils)it was beautiful. If you want to detect, I think you'll find it challenging. It was tough digging.

The beach where I detected (Not Green Turtle) had a huge low flat front. The amount of front beach was overwhelming. There was no way I could even begin to cover the hundreds of yards of flat wet sand area that was available.

There was no longer a dip in front of the beach, but the sand bar and the front beach had become one, giving many many yards to detect out at low tide.

If you find a dimilar beach having a broad flat low front like that today or tomorrow, I think you will find a variety of iron targets. Here is the problem. Almost all of the targets worth digging are down at the water level and back from the water line (at low tide) far enough that you have to dig a foot or two to get to them.

It is really tough digging too - at least where I was. There was a layer of very fine silty sand on top of layers of shells. The sand filled in between the shells like mortar and it made for difficult digging.

I ran out of time and left a few targets that sounded very much like they could have been spikes.

I gave some tips on digging deep iron targets in this blog a week or so ago. One good thing to do is look for any sign of rust as you dig. That will give you a good clue about exactly where the item is. And when you get down to the water level, the rust shows very well.

In front (east) of the area where better targets seemed to be, there were smaller lighter items near the surface. I would recommend staying about five yards or more behind the area where the surface junk items are.

I think you will find the more interesting items a foot or two deep down near the water level.

If you want to go after those targets, you might want to take a shovel instead of a scoop. Like I said, the digging could be tough. Eat your Wheaties.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

6/20/11 Report - Preserved Wood Artifact & Five Sweeping Detecting Mistakes

Handy & Inexpensive Magnetic Pick Up Stick.

This is a handy device. It can be used by beach hunters to pick up small ferrous items and junk.

It works well. The circular face of the magnet has a diameter of three inches. The handle that it came with is 36 inches long.

One nice feature is that the end holding the magnet is bolted on and can be easily removed.

I took it out to try it out and was very happy with the results. 'When you suspect a shallow or surface ferrous target you can simply put it over the pin pointed area and if it is shallow enough, as is often the case, it will pick it up without any digging at all. That saves some work.

I found that sometimes it will pick up several small pieces or flakes of iron when you simply put the magnet in the area where you got the signal.

If you use pin-point or all-metals mode, as I often recommend, you will probably detect a lot of very small pieces of iron. Sometimes they can be very difficult to see in the sand. This will help you find those almost impossible to see needle thin pieces of iron.

One alternative is to mount a magnet in you scoop. I've talked about that before. Some of our readers always use that.

While the device works well as is, if I was going to use it with the current handle, I'd drill a hole to insert a bungy cord or something so I could hang or drag the device. I'd probably also replace the handle with a wood handle.

What I'll probably do, is unbolt the end holding the magnet and attach it to the other end of my scoop handle. I'll test that sometime and see how I like that as compared to having the magnet in the scoop.

I've already satisfied myself that it is worth the $3.00 that I payed for it.

If you noticed an increase in readers this weekend, it is because this blog site was listed as a resource in a CNN weekend travel article. I'm amazed at the attention this blog has been getting. I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Discovery channel about doing something for a TV show. I declined that one, but might do it in the future when the opportunity arises. I liked the CNN thing, and was amazed by how prominently the blog site was listed and how much interest it caused.

I want to thank the loyal readers of this blog. I've heard from many who say they read the log every day.

The biggest number of readers are from Florida. There are also many from the southeast US as well as the northeast.

The city with the most readers outside of Florida is New York. What surprised me is the city with the second greatest number of readers outside of Florida is Pittsburgh. Who would have guessed?

As you know, I like finding all kinds of things, especially old things and useful things. A few months ago, some old planking washed up on the beach next to an old wreck site. That doesn't happen too often. Something evidently uncovered the old wood after quite a long time. I don't know if it was Mother Nature or what, but it probably was in the ocean for a long time. I showed a photo or two of some of that planking back then.

I thought the wood was interesting. Not only was it full of toredo worm holes, but there were also some pieces of spikes left in the wood.

Here is a piece of similar old shipwreck wood that was treated and coated with a clear finish. A nice label will be added and the wood mounted. I think it will make a nice piece of nautical decor.

Notice the remains of an iron spike right of center.

Here is a web site that tells how to preserve old wood the right way.

Five Common "Sweeping" Mistakes.

1. Having the coil too high off the ground.

2. Not keeping the coil level and equally distant from the ground as you sweep from one side to the other. Not only do you lose depth when the coil is lifted at the end of the sweep, but you can increase the frequency of false signals.

3. Not keeping the coil level to the ground front to back. Having the tip of the coil either too high or too low relative to the back of the coil. The front and back of the coil should be the same distance about the ground.

4. Sweeping to fast.

5. Missing too much ground when you are not sampling. Sweeps are too far apart.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the northeast his morning and the sea is still very calm. Again there has been no change in beach conditions and there is none predicted for the next several days.

Conditions for finding cobs on the beach remain poor.

Low tide will be around 6 AM and PM.

The NOAA Hurricane Center shows no action in the tropics.

It's more of the same.

Happy Hunting,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

6/19/11 Report - Mystery Shipwreck & Three Common Metal Detecting Misconceptions

Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Almost all old shipwrecks are mysteries to some degree, but there is one Treasure Coast shipwreck site that is a bit more of a mystery than most of the others. Although most people that know about it speak of it as if it is a shipwreck, it was once thought that it might not be the site of a shipwreck but rather a camp where treasure was transferred, or something else.

While I personally believe this site to be the site of a shipwreck, or two, it is less well documented in most of the literature than many of the other more famous Treasure Coast shipwrecks. As far as I know this wreck has not been identified and goes by no name other than one that simply refers to the site rather than a specific ship.

This mystery shipwreck was discovered during a construction project back in the seventies. I often talk about looking for obstructions to the flow of sand that will result in buried materials being uncovered. This site is a prime example of how that can happen.

The silver disks and silver coins that were found were discovered when FPL built cofferdams on South Hutchinson Island. The cofferdams interrupted the normal flow of sand, created erosion and a small number of old small silver reales and silver disks like the one I posted yesterday were found on the beach. Fred Turner and

Erosion is one huge keys to success in hunting old things on beaches, especially heavier materials such as silver or gold. I always say, "Follow the sand - but don't catch it." In other words, go where the sand just left.

It is interesting to note that beach detectorists were among the first, if not the first, to discover evidence of this wreck. Fred Turner and Steve Rolowitz are names often credited with those early discoveries.

That was also the case at Jupiter. Silver reales were discovered on the beach just south of the Jupiter inlet long before the cannon and ballast pile was discovered in the water.

You probably have guessed by now. The mystery wreck that I am talking about is commonly referred to as the Power Plant Wreck.

Judging from the coins found in the area when the power plant was being constructed, the date of this wreck seems to be considerably earlier than most of the Treasure Coast wrecks. It could possibly be one or more of the three treasure galleons that Frank Hudson says sunk in 1565 just north of Ft. Pierce. This site isn't north of Fort Pierce, but Frank isn't really known for precision.

Talk is that cannon, anchors and a ballast pile have been found in the area and it seems the locations are precisely known. That same information hasn't appeared in any publications or any of the more authoritative sources that I've seen though.

While there are reports of a few silver finds in recent years in addition to those found back in the seventies, this isn't one of the more popular treasure beach sites and as far as I know, it isn't one of the more productive treasure beaches. From what I've heard, a number of shipwreck spikes have surfaced on the beach there over the years but not many silver coins.

Right now that beach, like most of the others on the Treasure Coast is sanded in and not very good for detecting.

I'm still looking for the name of the book in which the image of the silver disk that I posted yesterday is found. I'd like to give credit. Please email me if you know the name of that book.

Funny thing! It seems like almost everybody I've been meeting lately is the smartest person in the universe. They know everything better than anyone else.

A confederate flag from the CSS Alabama recently sold for over $218,000 dollars in a Sothebay auction.

Here is the link to the auction catalog and results.

Three Common Beach Metal Detecting Misconceptions About Depth.

1. The best detector is the one that detects the deepest.

A good detector will tend to detect items more deeply than other detectors, but the deepest seeking detector is not always the best detector. There are many other very important factors.

What types of material will the detector detect at great depth? Will the detector detect small items made of precious metals? Will it work well in the conditions that you will be hunting in?

2. If you could only detect deeper you would find a lot more.

Beach hunting is not exactly like hunting on the solid earth. The beach continually changes and moves. The trick is to find the objects that have been uncovered and are near to the surface.

It is much more effective to hunt for hot spots where multiple good targets have accumulated over time and been deposited near the surface and uncovered, rather than trying to penetrate deep layers of sand.

3. Old treasure coins that are found on a beach are deeply buried in the sand.

In my personal experience, beach cobs are normally found near the surface of the sand. It doesn't seem to matter whether they have washed out of the dunes or washed up onto the beach. Cobs are most often found within a few inches of the surface f he sand. I've even seen them on exposed on the surface. I won't say they are never found buried deeply, but on the Treasure Coast beaches, my experience shows that would be the exception rather than the rule.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the west this morning. It will be changing around on and off for the next few days.

There is absolutely no change in the forecast for beach conditions for at least the next week. That means more smooth water and sandy beaches.

I can't say I can remember such a long period of time with such poor beach conditions.

I think it has been almost two years since we had what I would call level four (excellent) beach hunting conditions on the Treasure Coast. It makes you appreciate those times. And when they come you have to make the most of them.

That's it for today.

Don't forget to check out the treasure link list on the main display. There are some great web sites listed there.

Also remember, you can use the search box to search the blog of specific topics.

Happy hunting.

6/18/11 Report - Silver Disk & Three Big Detecting Mistakes

Silver Disk Discovered Years Ago On a South Treasure Coast Beach.

The disk is about two inches across and is from the Weller Collection. I'd like to find out the name of the book that this image was published in, so if you know, please send me an email.

Yesterday this blog had over 1000 hits. That is the second time that has happened this year. The reason this time, I found out, is that the blog was mentioned as a resource in an internet article.

This site has a lot of daily readers who are dedicated and experienced detectorists. One of my surveys proved that. A lot of this blog's readers have over ten years of experience. I suspect that some of those that came to this blog as a result of the travel article are completely new to the hobby.

Not only does this blog promote the benefits of the metal detecting, but it also helps educate people about archaeological and historic resources and promotes tourism. A large number of daily readers are from up north and travel to vacation and detect in Florida.

I very much believe that metal detecting is a good way to interest young people in varied subjects such as history, archaeology, geography, numismatics, electronics, etc., but it also keeps many older people active, both physically and mentally.

Discussing metal detecting just yesterday with a world record holding power lifter and owner of a World Gym, he said he thought of metal detecting as being very good exercise. And indeed it is. It can be as rigorous or as easy as you like. But different people focus on different aspects of the activity.

From the comments left on one web site in response to an article about metal detecting, it is evident that a lot of people that have never tried metal detecting have a lot of misconceptions about the hobby. That is natural, but unfortunate. People have impressions about things that they know little about and often those impressions are wrong.

A small portion of the misguided and uninformed archaeological community has been successful in labeling detectorists as grave robbers or looters when nothing could be farther from the truth. As we know, the treasure salvers in Florida work with the State archaeologists to explore archaeological resources under professional supervision and are responsible for a large part of the State's archaeological collection. They make a huge contribution not to mention paving the way for the field of underwater archaeology.

According to, There is approximately $8 billion worth of coins circulating in the US today. The U.S. Mint produces nearly 30 billion coins for general circulation each year (28 billion in 2000 and 21 billion in 2001). Many coins are replaced because they are worn out, but many are lost.

I often wished I could figure out how many coins were lost every year, but I've never been able to do that.

Here is an interesting fact provided by the same web site. Every year Virgin Atlantic Airways discovered that it takes in an average of 18 cents per passenger per flight in loose change found in the plane's seats. If that figure holds for the approximate 320 million people who fly from one country to another worldwide each year, the total is about $58 million. Lost coins on domestic flights don't amount to much, however. Chicago O'Hare cleaning crews said they found only about 6 cents per flight. It is suggested that more travelers to other countries "accidentally" leave foreign coins behind to avoid dealing with them once they get home.

(If you want to check out that along with many other interesting coin facts, here is the link to that fun web site.

I don't know about leaving coins behind, I suspect that international travelers loose a lot more coins because they squirm around trying to get comfortable and sleep in their seats. But you can figure that if $58 million in coins is lost on airliners every year, it seems likely that as many or more would be lost on the beaches and in the shallow waters of the world.

How many times have you received, change for a purchase and looking at the change you could tell that one or more of the coins had been dug up by a detectorist? Its not that hard to recognize some of those dug coins, and there are a lot of the obvious ones still in circulation.

From my years of experience, I can truly say that detectorists are generally some of the finest most trust-worthy,hard-working, inventive, accomplished people you would ever meet. They almost always have another job or source of income. Detecting isn't how most detectorists make a living. You would have a hard time finding a single professional full-time detectorist without another source of income. Most just like the activity and have fun doing it.

I've personally found and returned many items - from eye-glasses lost in the ocean by tourists far from home on vacation, to house and car keys, to valuable pieces of jewelry, and all without any expectation of any reward. And that is common. Some detectorists spend hours and hours of their own time to find the owner so they can return lost items.

Although I could go on about this for much longer, I'll stop there for now.

I was thinking the other day that it always takes a while for me to get to like a new detector. It seems like the first few times out with a new detector, I never like it very much. It isn't until I really learn to use a detector well that I begin to like it.

I guess I start with some very high expectations. I've used a lot of very good detectors, and they've become old friends. It must be even more difficult for a new detectorist to get used to his or her first detector.

While detectors are generally relatively simple to use, there is more to learning to use a detector than you might think. Even if there are only two or three knobs to fiddle with, that gives you a lot of different combinations. Yet that isn't the biggest problem.

The big obstacle to becoming comfortable with a new or different detector, is learning what it will do, learning to know what the detector is telling you, and learning how to use it best under different circumstances. That takes a little time.
But until you do that you simply won't have a lot of confidence in your detector, and you need to have that.

I've recently discussed the best thing to do with a new detector - experiment, experiment and experiment with a variety of test objects in a relatively clean environment.

You will get off to a faster start if you have someone that can how you how to use a new detector. For new detectorists especially, I recommend not buying via mail order. It is much better if you have a sales person that will thoroughly demonstrate the new detector for you.

If you are lucky enough to have someone who is able and willing teach you how to use a new detector or you want to teach someone else, either remove the headphones so both of you can hear the signals, or get a Y splitter so each of you can listen to the signals on your own headphones.

Of course that wouldn't be possible with some detectors, such as submersibles.

Here are what I consider to be three of the biggest mistakes made by detectorists in general.

1. Not experimenting with test objects to learn the best settings for your detector.

2. Not experimenting with test objects to learn to recognize what your detector is telling you.

3. Using way too much discrimination or depending too much upon target ID.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There is still no activity in the tropics. The wind is out of the southwest and the ocean is calm and if the predictions are correct will remain calm for another week. Of course, that means no change in beach detecting conditions.

My best bets would still be to hunt the tourist beaches, shallow water, and for something a little more challenging, hunt the banks of rivers, ponds and lakes while he water level is low.

My beach TCTBDC Rating is still a one (poor).

The blog survey is proving out my ratings over the past few years. I'll discuss that more when the survey is complete.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 17, 2011

6/17/11 Report - Wedges, Ship Construction & Research

14K Gold Bracelet Found With Metal Detector on the Beach.

Chains and bracelets are common metal detector beach finds. A lot of those were lost either because of a broken clasp or link.

Notice the broken clasp on the bracelet in the photo. The blue arrow points to the break.

As you know, I've been trying to identify some old chisels that I found on Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches. It appears that they are actually wedges rather than chisels.

I received a very useful email from David S. who said, In my work over the years I have used chisels as well as wedges. The item you found may well have seen used as a wedge rather than a chisel. Wedges have long tapering sides that drive things either together or apart while being used.
Usually chisels have straight shafts and a small bevel on the end that is sharpened to create a cutting edge on the end. Usually a chisel has a slender shaft to make them lighter. The driving force is then less consumed in overcoming the inertia of the mass of the tool and makes a deeper cut.

Before receiving David's email I had started to wonder about that. During my research I saw mention of how wedges were used in ship building and none of the chisels that I found on the internet looked like mine. David's email has convinced me that I should have been looking for wedges rather than chisels in my research. In fact I have found some photos of similar wedges, but unfortunately none from old Florida shipwrecks yet.

I am convinced that wedges would have been carried on the treasure fleets simply because they are very useful and what I would consider a basic tool.

In shipbuilding, wedges were used to force things like planks tightly together during the building process, and they were also used to spread planks for caulking.

I found this definition on one web site. Beetle: A shipbuilding tool. A heavy iron mallet used to drive wedges (irons) into the seams of wooden ships to open them before caulking.

If you are interested in old ship building processes, you might want to investigate more of that web site.

Here is the link.

I've used wedges myself in the old days on a farm to split logs. Like I said, it is a basic tool.

I don't have anyway to identify the age of the wedges that I found. I haven't found any identifying marks on them. My guess would be that the smaller wedge comes from a shipwreck simply because of where it was found and the other items found in the same area. I am not so confident about the larger one.

I've been thinking about what makes metal detecting so interesting. For me it seems to have a lot to do with discovering items, but more about what you learn from the process. For me, it is also very much about solving problems.

I like to solve problems, whether the problem is figuring out how the ocean sifts and sorts materials, how items end up where they are found, or what the items are or where they came from. Those are all interesting things that I like to try to figure out.

I very much enjoy all of the learning that happens while doing research to identify an item. I've been finding all kinds of interesting web sites and good information while trying to find my wedges.

One interesting web site that I found will be useful for any treasure hunter or detectorist. It was written by a fellow that worked for a nautical museum. His name is Fred Hock.

Fred told how to obtain information from museums. The article contains some good information. He mentioned that many museums are required to answer questions. That of course has limitations and depends upon the charter of the museum and how it is funded and other factors.

If you are researching a find or shipwreck or whatever, you might want to consider contacting a museum, so here is the link to Fred's helpful article.

And here is a web site that lists enough research papers on shipwreck salvage and underwater archaeology to keep you busy for a week.

I might discuss some of them in the future.

The recent wild swings in the price of Odyssey Marine stock has attracted some attention in the stock trading community. After yesterday's bounce the stock has dropped again. It could be a quite a while before it gets back up there again.

Treasure Coast Forecast and Conditions.

The tropics are quiet. No storms or anything forming.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is coming from the south. This morning the beach was hazy and there was a lot of smoke in the air. Later it wasn't so bad.

The surf will remain calm for another week, so don't expect any improvement or any type of change in conditions.

Remember that you aren't allowed to detect in the leased areas. I posted some information on where those leases are a couple of days ago.

The water is smooth and easy to work.

It might be a good time to scout around and try some other things. One place you might have some luck is on the banks of the rivers, lakes or ponds where the water level has dropped lately. Every once in a while something is found sticking out of the mud after a drought like this.

That is about it for today.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

6/6/11 Report - Construction at Wabasso, Fort Lauderdale Coin Line & More

Here is a fellow in a wet suit using an old detector but one of the very best detectors for Florida beaches and shallow water. It is a Mac Turbo. (I think that is the right name.) they were made by Herb MacDonald (now deceased). To get a detector that good, and there are newer versions of basically the same machine, I'm sure it would cost you well over $3000 these days.

Not too long ago, maybe a month ago, I talked about the scoop technique this guy is using.

A wet suit can be helpful at times. I know it is hot these days, but it's not bad in the water. And the suit protects against Portuguese Man-O-War, sea lice and other pests, as well as the sun.

I just received some reports from South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

First, Fort Lauderdale. Brad said the that information I gave him helped. He went on to say, The shallow water is still sanded in but at least the water is calm. I found a nice cut on the wet sand and using info from your blog found the coin line, a pocket of quarters, a pocket of lead sinkers (all almost exactly the same size), and 3 gold pieces within a 10 foot area.

Sounds like he found a good coin line. Learning how to find coin lines will help anyone. And when you do find one, most of the gold will usually be found near the center of the line and lower on the slope. In certain types of gold lines, though, the gold will be near one end or the other. It depends upon how the line was created.

And from up in the Wabasseo and Seagrape Trail area, Spyder said there is a large construction project going on just south of Disney and east of A1A. Nothing but a lot of junk there. Nothing but junk was also found on the beach south of Seagrape.

I just noticed that on my survey the answers jumped from 2 - 5 years to never. That leaves out the time period before 2006 and thus the time after the 2004 hurricanes, which is when a lot of things were found. I'll collect information on that sometime in the future to fill that gap, but the present survey will still provide some good information even with that omission.

I've been browsing around hoping to find some photos of chisels found on old wrecks. Haven't had much luck at that, but did find a nice site showing photos found at Mt. Vernon. It is worth a look.

Here is the link.

I've been talking about Odyssey Marine stock (OMEX). A day or so ago I told you to watch for a bounce in the stock price. Today was the bounce. In the first fifteen minutes of trading 1.7 million shares changes hands. The average volume is only about .5 million per day. Something happened or somebody decided to jump in big. If you bought at yesterday's prices, you could have made nearly 20% if you sold at the peak today.

I'll be watching to see if they made any new discoveries.

Do you know how much money has been spent to replenish beaches?

According to The government has spent $3 billion to re-sand our nation’s beaches. Advocates claim this prevents erosion and keeps the beaches attractive to tourists. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the sand does nothing to prevent erosion—and this sand gets swept out to sea just as easily as existing sand! Regardless . . . taxpayers have shoveled out $3 billion for these projects.

So, NOAA agrees with me. Beach replenishment doesn't work other than dumping dollars into the pockets of people that are politically connected.

One of this blog's readers contacted Tallahassee about this and got no reponse - at least not one that would indicate a live brain cell on the other end.

They'll dump dollars into the drink but the only words the politicians know when it comes to budget cuts is Social Security and MediCare , which is received by people who have been good contributing members of society and have contributed to the fund for decades - exactly the people who should be protected first.

Here is the link to the comments on beach renourishment and other stories on where your money goes.

You might think this sounds political, but it isn't. It's about your money and how it is spent.

If you like having your money spent on beach renourishment, let your representatives know.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

Conditions haven't changed at all, except the wind is now out of the northwest, but it is insignificant and won't have any effect.

The ocean is still calm and will remain that way for another week if the predictions are correct. Nothing going on in the tropics either.

Just not much to add to that today.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6/15/11 Report - Blackbeard's Ship Identified & Privateering

Small Chisel Found Years Ago On a 1715 Fleet Beach.

I recently showed a photo of a large cleaned chisel found on a Treasure Coast beach. Here is another chisel that was found on a wreck beach. This one, as you can see, is much smaller than the other one that was found earlier this year.

Odyssey Marine made a 7 million dollar deal with Neptune Minerals to provide exploration services. After a big dive in the stock's price as a result of a new offering of four million shares, the stock price might be ready to bounce back a little. Yesterday saw some gains on a day when most stocks increased in value.

Here is the link if you want to read more about Odyssey's the deal with Neptune.

Microscopic analysis reveals how Native Americans worked copper into artifacts six hundred years ago.

You might remember the copper arrowhead and beads that I showed not too long ago.

I'm really tired of talking about crime and really don't want to do it, but here is what happened back on Memorial Day in Miami. You just need to be aware.

And Treasure Coast officials, you don't need to even think about bringing any Hip Hop Urban Weekends up here. We have enough problems without that sort of thing.

The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) is a society that you can join if you can trace your ancestry to an ancestor who fought for the colonies in the Revolutionary War.

The most recent SAR magazine (Spring, 2011) contains an article on privateers in the American Revolution. It presents a lot of interesting information.

Privateers were not pirates. Not technically anyhow. They were private contractors who were given a "Letter of Marque" to capture ships and cargoes of foreign nations during war. Pirates, on the other hand, acted entirely on their own.

One of the surprising things that I learned form the article is that the number of privateering vessels for the colonies during the Revolutionary War far outnumbered the number of vessels in the Continental Navy. The article says that "an estimated 70,000 plus men served aboard privateers" while the Continental Navy totaled 53 ships and 3400 men.

In the peak year of 1781 alone, 551 Letters of Marquee were issued for privateers for the colonies.

Another thing that I learned is how much more lucrative and attractive it was to be a privateer as compared to serving in the Continental Navy. For one example, in 1779... a 14-year-old cabin boy received the following for his share after one cruise: $700, 1 ton of sugar, 35 gallons of rum, 20 pounds of cotton, 20 pounds of ginger, 20 pounds of allspice and 20 pounds of logwood.

That cabin boy went away a rich man after one cruise. For comparison, a captain in the Continental Navy received a monthly salary of about $32. No comparison really!

One table in the same article shows that about 300 of the colonies' privateering vessels were ships, about 525 brigs and brigantines, 750 schooners and sloops, and 100 boats and galleys.

If you want to read more of the article, you can probably find a copy of the latest issue of the SAR Magazine at your local library.

After a review of all the evidence, archaeologists are now ready to declare that the wreck previously thought to be Blackbeard's ship that sunk in 1718, is indeed the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Here is a link to that story.

If you are looking for information on the location of the wreck leases, check out yesterday's post.

I posted a new survey. It should provide some good information if we get enough responses.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

It sure is hot. We've been setting records. Yesterday Vero hit 99 degrees.

We finally got a little rain yesterday. I'll remind you that rain can be good for eye-balling.

The small thunder storms can also kick up enough wind and waves to cause a little erosion. Not much - but sometimes enough to help a little. Any little cuts occuring yesterday would be small and highly localized. Only worth checking if there is a spot where you think there are might be some targets just a little out of detector range. Sometimes it only takes a few inches of additional depth.

Despite whatever little effect the rain might have had, there are otherwise no significant changes to report. Certainly overall T. C. beach conditions remain substantially unchanged.

No increase in the surf is expected for several days.

In addition to working tourist beaches, or the shallow water, another idea would be to look check some of the lake or river banks. Water levels are really low.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6/14/11 Report - Salvage and Search Lease Areas & More

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

I'm often asked where you can detect in the water and where you can't. That should be an easy question to answer, but it isn't.

Below is the information that I have on that. I hope it helps.

Here are the center points of the salvage leases that I have.

Cabin Wreck North 27.49.8 West 80.25.55
Anchor Wreck North 27.48.2 West 80.24.70
Corrigans North 27.46.2 West 80.22.67
Rio Mar North 27.38.3 West 80.20.90
Sandy Point North 27.35.8 West 80.19.65
Nieves North 27.25.3 West 80.16.50
Power Plant North 27.21.2 West 80.13.65

The leased areas include the area defined by a radius of 3000 yards out from the center point. That means an area of around 3.2 miles across (diameter).

I've posted this information before, but I get asked so often that I thought I would post it again.

My 9/20/2010 and 9/23/2010 posts provide maps showing most, but not all of the leased areas.

I'm sorry I don't have it all, and I can't guarantee that what I do have is accurate or up-to-date. It isn't easy to get this information. I haven't found where it is published by official sources. I think it should be public information and easily accessible to the citizens of the state for whom those cultural and historic resources are being protected.

If anyone can provide complete, accurate, up-to-date maps of lease areas I'd be happy to post them so people will know where they aren't allowed to detect.

I can tell you from personal observation that a some of those leased areas haven't been actively worked for quite some time.

The survey has concluded and the results are in. Most people who travel to metal detect, travel by car. That isn't in the least surprising. It does make the information that I've provided lately concerning crime at the beach accesses important.

I'm a little surprised by how many people take their detectors on planes and boats. And I am surprised that as many people take detectors on boats as planes.

I suspect that before airport security became so tough, it was more common to take detectors on planes.

I remember in the eighties and nineties before airport security was as tight as it is today, I would take my detector as carry-on and when I went through security, they didn't have the slightest idea what the detector was but they passed me through without any trouble. That wouldn't happen so easily these days. I don't think I would try to take my detector as carry-on these days.

I'd like to hear any tips or experiences from those of you who take your detector on either planes or cruise ships.

Don't forget to check out the new site on my Treasure Links List. And you mightalso want to take a look at the old posts containing the lease area maps.

And don't forget you can use the blog search box to find information in old posts.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

Beach conditions on the Treasure Coast are not only very poor for finding cobs, but also poor for finding iron artifacts or anything old now.

We are really in summer now. It is hot and the surf has calmed down. Nothing but sand everywhere.

Well, not quite nothing. There are some shells and light materials. But not much good.

Shell Pile Found This Morning.

The shell piles were few and far between but there were a few. I found some fossils in shell piles like this one.

I also detected around the shell piles without much luck. Just a few worthless pieces of metal.

The wind is out of the west. That is why the surf is so smooth.

The forecast says the surf will remain calm for the nest week. You might either want to hunt tourist beaches or take a dip. That is one reason I posted the lease area information again today. The surf is nice and calm.

One thing I often tell people is that if they don't know if they can detect on a certain beach, ask. If there is a life guard, they will be able to tell you what you can and can't do. In some cases, you might want to call government officials. The people in Parks and Recreation will be able to tell you.

A lot, if not all, state and national parks do not permit detecting. Again, if in doubt, ask.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 13, 2011

6/13/11 Report - Cleaned Iron Artifact & Great Pirate Site

Chisel As Found in January.

This chisel is ten inches long and the head is 2 inches by 1.5 inches.

I like it better with the crust, but it started to deteriorate so I decided to clean and preserve it to keep it from falling apart.

I should have immediately put it in a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate and let it soak until I got around to cleaning it.

Don't take the crust off until you decide to clean it though. The crust can actually prevent further rusting.

I don't know why I didn't think of doing that at first. When it started to deteriorate I decided to clean it.

Even though I didn't do everything the way I should have, it has been a good experiment. It took several days of electrolysis to clean it this well.

Same Chisel After Several Days of Electrolysis.

Electrolysis takes a lot longer for a larger item like this than for smaller spikes.

I wanted to see if there were any marks on the chisel that would help me identify it better. I could find none other than the a long series of parallel lines along the one side. You can see some of them in the photo up near the head of the chisel on the narrow side.

I have what appears to be a bronze chisel that is much smaller that didn't need any cleaning. It came off of another Treasure Coast shipwreck beach.

If you want to read what the experts have to say about treating iron artifact, here is a good link.

On the subject of iron artifacts, Bill P. thought the strange iron item that I showed in my 5/8/11 post might possibly be a caltrip. That is certainly as close to the mystery object as anything that I have seen. I'll probably never know what that strange item is because it is too far gone.

Nonetheless Bill P's message was very helpful. It gave me one good idea of what the iron item might be, but it also pointed me to a very good web site about pirates and nautical items in general.

First, here is the link if you want to learn what a caltrip is.

The web site containing that information is loaded with all kinds of good information on a wide range of subjects that will be of interest to anyone interested in shipwrecks or pirates.

It includes information on sailing ships, weapons, historical documents, etc. etc. It is so good that I added the link to my Treasure Site Link List, which you will find to the left of my posts and under the survey and Followers List.

It is the first link on the link list. For now I have it listed as A Great Nautical & Pirate Web Site.

Take a look at that link as well as the other links in my link list.

The survey isn't done yet, the results have been pretty much the same all the way through.

Most people travel by car when they travel to detect. That isn't surprising. It is easy to throw your detector and other equipment in the trunk of the car. When you travel by plane and cruise ship, you have all of the security checks to go through and everything. There is one thing about that survey that if the results don't change by the conclusion surprises me a little.

You might want to take a look at your Mercury dimes. Everyone knows that the 1916- is the key, but there are other interesting dimes in the series that are of interest. In fact some are even higher to find than the 16-D in higher grades.

Here is a good article about that.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There is nothing going on in the tropics and the wind is now coming out of the west. There is nothing to change beach conditions, but the water will be getting flat.

Tomorrow the sea will be really down. And it will remain flat for about a week. It looks like the best hunting might be in the water for this week.

Remember, no detecting in the salvage lease areas.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 10, 2011

6/10/11 Report - Your Best Detector Settings & Erosion on Treasure Coast

One Nice Size Cut on One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

This cut was about six foot high, which was as high as any I saw this morning.

See video of this beach below.

Yesterday my post was about being up to my arm pit in muck. I understand that a lot of you would like to see that. I should have taken a video, but I don't have enough hands. Usually I'm holding a scoop and detector or I am up to my arm pits in muck, which doesn't make it easy to film the comical scene. About all I would get is the sky, the bottom of my foot or some other less flattering part of my anatomy.

Recently an old church from the 1700s was redicscoverd in St. Augustine when some old recrods were found and analysed.

Here is the link to that story.

Someone asked how I got ivory out of the beach fossil that I showed in the video yesterday. Actually I didn't. I don't know what it is, and where I said ivory I used the wrong word. What I was really thinking and should have said is enamel. I was thinking of the enamel bands that are on tusks such as those of the gomphothere as shown on page 310 of Hulbert's book, The Fossil Vertebrates of Florida.

It might not be a piece of an enamel band either. I'm thinking wood now, butreally don't know.

That is one of the good things about writing a blog. If you make a mistake, someone will point it out. That helps.

I don't spend a great deal of time on these posts and sometimes I write like I was thinking out loud. If I did put a lot of time into proofing and checking everything I say, there wouldn't be nearly as many posts.

I really don't know much about fossils other than what I've learned myself over the past couple of years from the fossils that I've personally found and subsequently researched. This one didn't look like any of the ones that I have become familiar with, and I don't know what it is yet. Over time I will find out what it is and in the process learn a lot about what it is and also about some things that it is not.

If you know what it is, I'd like to hear from you.

Talking about self-education, I was out scouting around on the beaches this morning and learning more about a detector that I haven't used too much. I like experimenting, especially with detectors.

Just the other day I was reading in a forum where someone was asking what settings to use on a particular detector and the discussion that followed. My advice is to not pay too much attention to what other people say about things like that. It might give you a starting point, but then go and test it out and find the settings that are best for your particular detector on the beaches that you actually hunt.

If you aren't sure about what settings to use on your detector or if you simply want to optimize your settings, take some test targets to the beach and try the different settings t see which provides the best results.

The beach that I visited today was ideal for testing. There was a broad relatively flat beach where you could easily test your settings in dry sand, wet sand and shallow moving water.

First I'd recommend just throwing out a coin on the surface of the beach. Swing your coil repeatedly over the coin, change the sensitivity settings and observe the change in signal. Find the setting that gives the loudest clearest signal. Then adjust the threshold and other settings to get the best signal. Play around with your settings like that until you find the best combination.

You can do the same thing moving to the wet sand, and then into the shallow moving water.

For some detectors the optimal setting will not change much for the different zones of the beach.

After you are comfortable with the settings that you obtained using a surface coin, bury a coin and test your settings. Just dig a hole and put the coin in it and cover it up. Repeat the test and adjustments until you get the best signal you can from the most deeply buried target.

Note: A newly buried target will not necessarily give as good a signal as one that has been buried for a while, and where you bury it will also determine how deeply it can be detected. If you bury a coin in shells you usually won't be able to detect it as deep as a coin buried in densely packed salt-water saturated sand.

If you ask me, doing this is much better than using the preset settings or the settings that you read or heard.

Another note: Don't always go for maximum sensitivity. When increasing the sensitivity causes an erratic threshold, you might get a signal but the signal could easily be disguised and lost in all of the noise.

I took sometime to play with my sensitivity and threshold settings today. With the detector I was using, increasing the sensitivity beyond a certain point resulted in an erratic threshold sound and more noise which off-set the effect of the increased sensitivity. I personally like a smooth threshold so I can really catch those marginal whisper signals.

I'd say that one important thing that many people do not do enough, is use test targets and play with their detector's settings.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Here is a video showing one beach where I found some nice erosion this morning. In a way it almost looked like a winter beach, but that was superficially.

Here is the link for the video.

Notice the erosion, and notice how the sand had been pulled down and extended the front beach.

On other beaches that I saw this morning, but did not detect, there were dips in front of the beach. I didn't have time to check them out.

On this beach there were a good number clad coins between the slope and front beach. I'll define that better for you some other time - probably tomorrow.

The erosion on this beach has been a slow process that has been accumulating for a few days. I mentioned a few days ago that there were some slight erosion. This is one of those spots and it evidently eroded a little more last night.

Unlike this beach, most of the other beaches I saw this morning were covered with sea weed, indicating that the sand was building on those beaches.

I think that is it for today.

Happy hunting,