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.