Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8/30/11 Report - Survey and Irene Find

Irene Find by Pat D.

Here is one find from Irene. It appears to be something like the end of a spoon handle.

If you recognize the pattern or have any thoughts or info on the item, please let me know.

The last blog survey has concluded and the answers are in. It took me a little while to get around to reporting on the last survey because of Irene.

Of the categories included in the survey, most respondents purchased their last computer over the internet (34%). I guess that tells you where commerce is going.

About 53% of the respondents purchased their last computer either over the phone or internet. Which, of course, leaves 19% over the phone.

It is easy to find bargains using electronic sources, but it also leaves the buyer without a lot of customer support.

Although some of the mail order houses claim to offer customer support, when you actually need it, it is not very good. Often the person charged with handling requests for support don't really know the detector at all.

Still, 39% purchases their computer at a local detector store. A computer store is a good choice, especially for first time user. You can get demonstrations of detectors before you buy and return to the store for resolution of any problems. Of course, even some detector stores sell detectors which they are not real familiar with, but they usually know enough that they can help you figure out what is going on.

Unfortunately, even though I've asked online, I've not been able to locate any body on the Treasure Coast that repairs detectors. Although you still often have to return a detector to the manufacturer for repairs, a local detector store can help facilitate the process. And the turn around for service usually involves a period of weeks, making a back up detector highly desirable.

11% of the respondents bought their last detector used from another detectorist. That can be a way to save some money. When buying a used detector, I'd recommend getting a demonstration first in order to make sure the detector works well before you buy it.

Talking about customer service, here are a few tips you might consider.

Once when I had a broken battery holder I talked to the repair department of the manufacturer and told them the problem and suggested they simply send me a new battery holder. They did that because it saved them time and expense in receiving the package and diagnosing the problem before changing the battery holder.

Requesting a new part when the problem is obvious and the solution simple, can save both you and the manufacturer time and expense.

On another occasion when I sent a detector in for repairs multiple times and the manufacturer could not seem to identify the problem, I finally requested that they simply send me a different detector. They did that, it didn't have the problem, which was admittedly sporadic and difficult to find, and I was satisfied with the replacement detector, which I still use years later, even though it was not a new detector when they sent it to me. They said it was the personal detector of the owner of the company.

The company thought my problem might have had to do with radio interference in the environment, but when the replacement detector worked perfectly that showed that the environment was not the problem. A replacement detector worked out in this case for both me and the manufacturer.

Don't be afraid to suggest different solutions like this when you have problems gettng your detector repaired. Simply sending the detector back and forth repeatedly without resolution is a pain for both the owner and the manufacturer.

And remember, you don't need to ship the rod, but generally ship the coil and control box, and ear phones if that might be the problem.

Its a shame the repair situation for detectors is so inadequate. Even when repairs are done well, the turn around time of many manufacturer's leaves much to be desired. It is too bad there aren't more good reliable repair people around.

I guess it is like most electronics these days, they rather you buy a new one. Old detectors can work quite well though. A trusty old detector can be exactly what you need for certain situations.

Every detector has strenghts and weaknesses.

Do you know what coin became known as the "world currency?" Find the answer to that below.

Until a few years ago, no one seemed to know that the 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillar Dollar existed, however 14 of them were found when a parking lot in Bogota was bull dozed for a new building and the foundation of the Nuestra Senora del Pilar church was discovered.

Here is link to a great CoinWeek article that will give you the answer to the first question and more.


Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

As you know conditions on the Treasre Coast are back to poor.

Seas will be around two or three feet for the next several days.

There is one new named storm in the Atlantic but it is well away from us and won't affect us or a number of days if at all.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 29, 2011

8/29/11 Report - Lessons From Irene

Wabasso Beach Friday.

You can see several things in this photo. Notice the big cut, as well as the smaller. Also notice that these cuts are into new replenishment sand. What you can't see is that most of this erosion occurred before Irene.

As I've mentioned several times before, erosion in beach replenishment sand isn't nearly as significant as erosion in old sand that has not been disturbed for a long time. The best thing is when the real old undisturbed sand from the dunes is eroded down onto the beach. That is one way that shipwreck items get left on the beach. Of course the other method is by washing in.

When you look at a beach analyze what is happening. Look for erosion. Consider how long the eroded sand has been undisturbed. Newly exposed roots are a good sign. If there are newly exposed roots you know that the sand probably hasn't been disturbed since the roots grew there.

It helps if you just go out and check the beaches to see what is happening. That will help you know what the sand has been doing and when different changes occurred.

One advantage hard core hunters have is that they are out there a lot and know what the beaches are doing and have done. They are also there, ready and able to jump on any new opportunities. You can't find any thing on a beach unless you are there.

Patience and perseverance will eventually pay off.

With experience you will be able to identify the different sources of sand. Notice if it is fine or course, white or beige, black sand, etc. Get to know where it has been laying and when and where it got moved. That will tell you a lot.

Notice things like in the Wabasso photo that there is a layer of sand over the board walk down to the beach. That obviously means that that layer of sand was put down after the board walk was constructed or modified. That means recently deposited sand - bad sign.

Another thing to note is the curve down in front of Disney. Things often accumulate near the water at the bends in the beach.

All of these things can lead you to treasure. All of these things are important in learning to read a beach.

Try to identify one thing you learned during the last few days from your experience with Irene, either before, during or after the storm. That one thing you learned might end up being more valuable than any thing you found because it might lead you to numerous finds in the future.

The overall bad news is that there was so much replenishment sand on beaches like this, especially towards the northern end of the Treasure Coast, that conditions didn't get any higher than a 2 on my beach conditions rating scale.

I received some photos of finds that were made by Irene. I received a photo of what appears to be a cob found on St. Augustine beach. I also received photos of a few very interesting finds made on the Treasure Coast during Irene. One could be a silver artifact and some nice pieces of ceramics. Identities of those items are yet to be determined.

Hopefully I'll learn a little more about those items and be able to post them.

I also have some more Irene beach photos but was not able to get them posted yet.

On another topic, archaeologists were doing a survey and happened to find a WWII dog tag.

Here is the link to that story.


It is not uncommon to find WWII dog tags on Treasure Coast beaches, especially between Pepper Park and Walton Rocks. Just south of the Fort Pierce jetty is also a spot where dog tags are commonly found.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

Well Irene left us alone. She didn't cause very much erosion on the Treasure Coast, but as I expected a few things were found that yet need to be analyzed. I'm sure there will be finds up on the Outer Banks. Maybe you learned something by going through the process that will help you in the future. You can't find something great every time out, but try to learn something every time out.

Right now there is a tropical depression below Bermuda that probably won't develop, and there is another storm coming off of Africa that could come this way. It is more likely to develop than the one that is closer to us.

The wind is now out of the west, as was expected, and the seas are calm again. That does give you a good shot at the low tide zone. The seas will remain calm through much of the week.

In addition to the low tide zones, I would be checking the areas where the seas did get high and where shells were dropped. From the finds that I've seen, that is where a few lighter artifacts such as ceramics will probably be found.

I'm dropping my beach conditions rating for the Treasure Coast back to a 1.

Happy Hunting,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

8/27/11 Report - After Irene & Intro to Spanish Treasure Coins

Beach By Sebastian Yesterday.

The beach didn't look very good there as you can see.

I ran into a fellow that told me that I was too far north (we were between McClarty and the Sebastian inlet) and that the salvage camp and "the" wreck was further south. He didn't seem to believe what I was saying about multiple wrecks and coins being found north of where we were.

I enjoyed seeing all the people out on Friday. It was a different crowd than what I usually see. Seemed that more of the casual detectorists were out. Some from other parts of the state too.

I don't doubt but what a few treasure coins were found. And I do mean a few - very few. Yet if you have that many people covering that much ground, there is always the possibility that something might pop up.

There were a couple of guys detecting down closer to the McClarty Museum and one guy down by Amber Sands when I went by. Unlike most people that I see there at Amber Sands, he was headed south towards the big curve. I thought it looked a little better towards the curve there too.

Beach at Amber Sands Yesterday Looking North.

I noticed that there were a lot of turtle eggs exposed to the damaging salt water the last couple of days. The turtles made their nests in beach renourishment sand. They had no choice. And then the waves came and washed that renourishment sand and the eggs away.

I mentioned yesterday how beach renourishment sand won't stay put. It can't. And that means that the turtle nests will be washed away.

They had to finish the renourishment projects before the nesting season began, but that turned out to be a fatal trap for the turtles.

Bernie Caffaro, who is starting the St Lucie County detector club, started on South Hutchinson Island this morning down by Sailfish Point and traveling up to north of Pepper Park, said the best two beaches in that stretch seemd to be Sailfish Point, which had an 8 foot cut, and Walton Rocks that had a two to four foot cut. Sailfish Point is south of Bathtub Beach.

Contact Bernie if you want to join the club. I've post his contact information in the past. Use the search box at the top of the blog.

Some of the cut that were out there Thursday disappeared by Friday and some increased in size by Friday. Beaches can change quickly.

I saw one four foot cut Thursday that was completely gone on Firday. And I saw one six inch cut on Thursday night that turned into a two foot cut by Friday. It works both ways. They come and go.

Thursday Green Turtle Beach was cut over four feet towards the north end. One many reported watching the cut disappear before his eyes. The surf simply came up over top, flattening it out.

This video shows where there was a cut just minutes earlier.


You have to remember that beaches are dynamic. They constantly change. Quicker than you might expect.

When you find a productive spot work it until it closes up. Sometimes it will stay open for hours, days, or even weeks, before getting buried.

On rare occasions you can get a beach that produces new finds constantly for weeks on end before going bad.

All of that beach renourishment sand was a problem, but in my opinion the bigger problem was the direction of the waves. The waves were hitting most beaches directly from the east instead of from the northeast.

I got word that some cobs were found on St. Augustine beach. Photos may be coming.

I'll bet some will be found on the North Banks.

Here is a nice introduction to Spanish treasure coins written by Augie Garcia of Sedwick Coins. You might find it helpful.


I'll stick with my "2" Treasure Coast beach conditions rating for another day or so. Things are great but there still might be a few worthwhile spots out there to be found if you are willing to walk a distance or hunt some of the less frequently hunted areas.

I received an email from one person that was in a photo that I posed yesterday - Pete V.

Give me a shout if you appear in one of my photos.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 26, 2011

8/26/11 - Irene Gone and Soon to be Forgotten

Detectorist at Green Turtle Beach (Nieves Site) on the Treasure Coast Thursday Evening.

There were actually about a half dozen guys detecting this beach last evening. Some were further south and some further north. Between the sights and sounds of the breaking waves and all of the people that came out to see the high seas, it was pretty exciting. One of the TV news trucks was down at the jetty where so many people accumulated it looked like the state fair was being held there or something. I couldn't believe the number of people, mostly just spectators that were out yesterday. And the show wasn't really anything very remarkable. I really couldn't understand all the commotion this time. Some were tourists. I could understand their curiosity, but for some reason everybody came down to take a look at the ocean.

I got word that the House of Refuge and Bathtub beach area was badly eroded. Of course that beach, like many of the others, was recently replenished and only losing much of the sand that was recently dumped on it.

Replenishment sand almost always erodes first. I don't know why people think that if they dump sand by the ocean it will stay there after the previous sand has obviously departed.

Those replenishment projects often use a type of sand that is easily moved when the water hits it. Sometimes it is very fine, but whatever type of sand it is, it won't stay very long because it is in an unnatural position and does not have the support of natural beaches around it. It is a little like dumping a shovel full of dirt in a river. It won't stay there because it is exposed to the currents and does not have anything to shelter it like a natural beach would.

I saw one lady coming off the beach with her detector last night. She had her purse over her shoulder and her detector in her other hand. You don't want to leave valuables in the car so either leave them at home or be prepared to carry what you have to in a small waterproof container of some sort.

The beach you see in the photo at the top of this post is the Nieves site. Notice the water coming up onto the flat beach. The water got pretty far back towards the dunes there last night.

Here is a cut at the same beach a day or two before. The cut disappeared with the high water and the front beach, which was two steps, is now one mushy slope.

If I was going to spend any time detecting there now, I would sample the area where the shells washed up over onto the flat beach and the area just below that, but mostly the shelly flat sand area.

The high water actually hurt conditions there. It shows how big waves aren't the most important thing in producing a productive beach. And big waves don't necessarily mean a lot of erosion. It has a lot to do with how the waves hit the beach.

I did a survey of most of the primary treasure beaches this morning. It really wasn't very encouraging.

Here is a look at one of the better looking beaches that I saw this morning, and it wasn't great.

Beach Looking North from Seagrape Trail.

You can see that they had some erosion along there. Trouble is, the erosion was of replenishment sand. That was much of the problem with the north end of the Treasure Coast. Just too much replenishment sand all along there. Where there was erosion, it was mostly just replenishment sand.

A lot of sand was gone from Wabasso, but still didn't look productive to me at first glance. If I had more time, it would have been worth sampling.

A lot of beach bums were hanging out there watching the surfers this morning. Only a few detectorists there.

The stretch from Sebastian Inlet to Amber Sands didn't look very good to me.

Most places where I stopped, there were a good number of detectorists, in fact more than I've seen out on a given day for a long time.

I didn't see many of the hard core guys though. Many of he detectorists were couples, some young and some old. It seemed like many of the more casual detectorists (and gals) were out.

There aren't many wives that are going out to the beach with a hard core detectorist. There are a variety of good reasons for that.

To summarize for today, conditions are slightly better than pre Irene, but not dramatically so. If I was the go back and spend some time, I'd probably choose the Wabasso area down to Seagrape.

Turtle Trail and Rio Mar didn't look very good either.

If I were going to spend the time, I would check out some of the beaches that aren't too heavily hunted. You just might find a nicely eroded spot off the beaten track

My Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating remains a two. That is a five point scale, with one being poor, and five excellent.

Good night Irene.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8/25/11 Report - Some Improvement But Not A Lot Yet

One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

I was out by the beach this morning and took the opportunity to see if much was happening yet. I looked at four different spots towards the south end of the Treasure Coast. One beach was showing some erosion, while three others were no different from yesterday.

The above photo is the one beach that was eroding. I took a photo of nearly the same spot yesterday. If you compare the two photos, you can see that where there was a defined two step beach front, the first step of recently accumulated sand is now pretty much gone and what was the second step is now at the front of the beach.

I saw three other detectorists out this morning and I think they were too early. At least at this beach, that was the case. Even though some sand was disappearing, it was not yet productive. Only the recently accumulated sand was being pulled down into the water. And that had stopped for the time being, probably to resume later in the day.

There were some showers on the beach this morning, but things were relatively calm. The waves were hitting the beach almost directly when I was there.

You can see the sea weed line, which is a good indicator that the erosion had stopped for the time being.

About ten o'clock the wind and waves picked up. If we get a change in direction, that might help as the seas increase through the day.

One Beach Without Any Erosion This Morning.

The surf web sites are predicting 12 foot seas by 6 PM today (at Sebastian Inlet). That will occur close to high tide, which would be about 5:30. That might help.

So far, some sand is being moved. I'm not terribly encouraged though. There is some possibility that this could turn out to be another disappointment. I hope not.

The wind direction is predicted to be out of the northeast today, which is good, but Friday and this weekend out of the west. That will push the water out so you can get out lower on the beach, but it probably won't help beach conditions.

I don't have a crystal ball, and I only looked at four spots this morning, but what from what I saw, I can only increase my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating to a 2 - at most and part of that based upon things other than what I have actually seen.

Conditions have improved a little on some beaches, but not much yet. The water hasn't been up very high on the beach yet and there is so much sand out there to be moved.

Tomorrow morning will probably tell the story. If we don't see some good erosion by then it might not happen.

Happy hunting,

PS: Below I added the text of an alert from Indian River County that may provide additional helpful information. One of this blog's readers forwarded it to me. Thanks much.

TONIGHT: Swells will begin to gradually increase after midnight tonight, then build rapidly Thu/Thu night, and then gradually subside later Fri-Sat.

THURSDAY: A High Surf Advisory has been issued for all beaches (Volusia to Martin County), effective Thu morning through Friday evening.

High swells and surf may arrive a few hours earlier south of Vero Beach and a few hours later north of Cape Canaveral.

Onshore NE winds Thu, will become N Thu evening, then along-shore (NNW) after midnight, then offshore (NW) after sunrise Friday south of the Cape and around mid day north of the Cape.

Onshore/along-shore flow and large swells for 4-5 high tide cycles likely to result in moderate to possibly severe beach erosion. High surf near time of high tides may splash over dunes in isolated locations (history problem areas). The rip current threat will be high to extreme.

ICW: The NWS does not have hard data or forecasts for any potential increase in the normal high tides in the ICW. Past history suggests that with a long term sustained wind a greater volume of ocean water may enter the inlets, at least until the winds change to Northwest.

ICW high tides for 25 August:
Sebastian 7:15 AM 0.4 ft normal height
Vero Beach 8:39 AM 0.9 ft normal height
Ft Pierce 6:32 AM 1.4 ft normal height

Breaking surf increasing through the day.
Greatest time of maximum surf begins 2am on Friday with 11-13’ inshore waves and 8-12’ breaking waves decreasing Friday night.

As occasional squalls move onshore and down the coast, periods of torrential rain and wind gusts of 40-45 mph expected. A few of the squalls may reach into the central Florida interior.

Sustained winds of 30 mph possible for much of Thursday through Friday.

I didn't check all the details to make sure that this agrees totally with the other sources that I've used, so there may be some things that don't totally agree. Just take it as an additional source of good informiation.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/24/11 Report - Irene Moves East & Not Much Action Yet

One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

I often remind you to keep any valuable finds in a bank safe deposit box. Evidently one St Lucie County person didn't do that.

Earlier this year a Spanish Colonial coin collection was stolen in Port St. Lucie. The collection included 136 Spanish coins, many of which were minted in Potosi in the late 1700s. There were also some Pillar dollars, Portraits and cobs.

A suspect has been arrested and 45 of the coins have been recovered. Contact Doug Davis at 817-723-7231 or Doug@numismaticcrimes.org if you have information on any of the others.

There is a web site detailing information on crimes involving numismatic collections.

Here is the link.


I'm glad the crook and some of the coins were found.

A NFL championship ring belonging to Art Donovan that was stolen in 1977 was recently found by police listed for sale on Criag's List and returned to the former defensive tackle who said the ring was stolen on a trip to Hong Kong.

This article traces the ring's amazing travels.

here is the link.


One of Hurricane Irene's early acts of destruction was the destruction of Richard Branson's mansion on his private island - not by wind or water damage but by a fire started by lightening. At least he has the money to rebuild.


Lightening is not what you think of first when you think hurricane, but destruction can come in many ways.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Latest Track From BoatUS.com.

The track keeps getting shifted a little further out to sea and a little further away from us. It looks like the Outer Banks will really get it.

The surf predictions have been pretty consistent for the last few days. Now they are expecting 11 foot seas, as the peak, late Thursday. Seas will quickly build on
Thursday to a peak and then subside gradually Friday and through the weekend.

A good time to hunt might be at low tide after the peak passes and the wind shifts to come from the west.

The weekend should provide some good hunting.

As you might be able to see from the photo at the top of the page, the high seas have not begun, and there is no erosion to speak of yet. The ocean got stirred up just a little by a passing rain storm and there was some lightening out there.

The beach conditions remain poor so far.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/23/11 Report - Irene, Kim, Omar, & Au

Latest Track of Irene.

I'll start with Irene today because she is the big news. Here is NOAA's six o'clock morning track. A little further to the east now I'm glad to say, but this is one big bad storm.

I'll continue with that topic below.

Kim Kardashian lost a $75,000 ear ring in the ocean. Unfortunately that was out in Bora Bora, and I can't go find it for her.

It does show how things happen. Evidently her new husband threw her into the water - but she got out. One ear ring remained in the water though.

He should have known that she would float. Maybe he was wondering which side up. It could have gone either way.

You didn't know Jay Leno wrote for this blog, did you?

For those of you who really want to know, here is the link to that video.


Good place to detect!

I don't know if any of that is for real.

Gold finished over $1900 an ounce yesterday. Seems like every couple of weeks it hits a new century mark.

Talking about gold, I wonder what happened to Kadafi's 144 tonnes. That could make for a wild treasure hunt. Could also end up funding a lot of terrorists. Who knows where it will go? I suspect someone knows.

You might also wonder how the other Libyan interests tied up in the US by the Obama administratin will be handled. Someone will benefit for sure.

A Tennessee man's backyard was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the state Historical Commission. Ancient artifacts and mastadon bones from 12,000 BC were found there.

Here is the link if you want to read that story.


It sounds like they've never heard of the carved Vero fossil bone.

In case you missed that, here is the link to that story.


You can find more on that story in some of my previous posts by using the blog's search box.

Treasure Beach Forecast and Conditions.

It seems like Irene will pass through the Bahamas. That will undoubtedly create some erosion over there.

Unlike on the Treasure Coast where the beaches generally run north south, islands have beaches running at all directions. That means when one side doesn't get hit right, another probably will.

On the mainland the beach curves here and there a little, so one spot will cut while others don't, but that effect isn't nearly as strong as in the islands. Those curves and angles make it hard to predict which spots on the Treasure Coast will cut the most.

On the Treasure Coast it looks like peak seas will be Thrusday. The surf web sites are now predicting ten foot seas later on Thursday. That is down a little from the thirteen foot seas that were predicted earlier, but it is still certainly more than enough if the angles are right. And it is way more than we've had for quite a while.

I haven't been able to issue more than 1 (poor) rating on my Treasure Beach Conditions Rating Scale for some time. I'm hoping for at least a 4 by Friday when the seas start to slacken off again. We'll see.

It looks like the Outer Banks might get the full force of Irene. I hope it doesn't do too much damage to property where ever it goes. Hopefully it will push the waves in but remain out to sea.

Get your equipment in order. Charge your batteries.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8/22/11 - Hurricane Irene & More

Shipwreck Wood.

Here is a piece of wood from a shipwreck that is for sale on eBay. You can make nice display pieces out of miscellaneous finds like this. Preserve wood, pottery, or whatever, make a nice label and you have a display that will look nice in the right room and be a nice conversation piece.

Create nice displays out of miscellaneous finds like this and you will enjoy finding things besides silver and gold. Don't forget to write down where it was found and when and keep all of the relevant details. That will enhance the value of your display.

Here is a nice article showing some photos of Civil War artifacts found at a prison camp near Millen Georgia.


Treasure Coast Forecast and Conditions

And now getting right to the big news, Irene is now a hurricane and has passed over Puerto Rico. The projections now have it as a level two hurricane as it passes by West Palm in the early AM hours of Thursday.

The predicted track now has it a little to the east of us, but of course that could change. I'm hoping Puerto Rico threw it off track, and it stay farther out to sea.

Here is the predicted track as shown on boatUS.com this morning.

Of course I'll be keeping an eye on this and reporting daily changes.

I'd really rather not have a hurricane. Too much damage and trouble for too many people. And as I often remind, high seas and waves do not guarantee erosion. The waves can wash up onto the beach and straight back down, as happened along most of South Florida during hurricane Andrew, not causing much erosion. Smaller waves at the right angle (from the north/northeast) are more likely to slice the sand away and produce more treasure coins.

It also looks to me like this storm will pass by rather quickly. The surf web sites are now predicting 12.5 foot seas on Thursday and 15 foot seas on Friday, subsiding quickly.

Now it is a watch and wait game.

Happy hunting,

8/21/11 Report - Big News - 13 Foot Seas Predicted - Tropical Storm Irene

Neck of Tinajas Jar Recently Found on the Site of the Santa Margarita.

Besides the Atocha and the Santa Margarita, Mel Fisher Expeditions is now also working the site of the shipwreck code named the Lost Merchant.

Recent finds on the site of the Santa Margarita include a pewter plate, lead sheathing, and a number of iron encrusted objects.

The most important find from the Margarita this week is the item shown in the photo above. It is the neck of a Tinajas jar. Tinajas jars were used to store water.

Someone sent me an email asking about my detecting club. I assume they were talking about the newly formed St. Luce metal detecting club. Bernie C. has taken the lead in starting that club, so anyone who wants additional information about that club should contact Bernie C. at the following email address. twiprod001@att.net

Someone else sent me photos of a ring that they found and was wondering about its age and identity. The ring was silver and gold. I've found rings that are both silver and gold that seemed to come from the mid-1900s. I don't know why they combined the metals. I suppose it has some significance, but I don't know what it might be.

It is really hard to tell how old some rings are. Some designs have been used for centuries such as the Claddagh ring, which was first produced in the 17th Century in the Irish village of Claddagh.

Typical Claddagh Ring.

Anyone who has found a lot of rings has probably found a Claddagh ring or two. A Claddagh ring has two hands holding a heart, and there is a crown on top of the heart.

Claddah rings were often used at weddings. The heart represents love, the hands represent friendship, and the crown, loyalty. It can be difficult to distinguish a 17th century example from a 21st century example. I've found Claddagh rings in silver and gold. I think I might have posted photos of one or two in this blog before.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see tropical Storm Irene seems to be headed this way and could reach South Florida as a hurricane by Friday.

The predicted path takes Irene over Hispaniola and Cuba. That could cause the storm to fall apart or change direction.

Tropical Storm Irene.

The surf web sites are predicting up to 13 foot seas on Thursday. We haven't seen anything like that for a couple of years if my memory serves me correctly. That could change detecting conditions dramatically. It might even hit the back dunes.

As you might know, it is not unusual for the surf web sites to change their predictions significantly though. We'll have to wait until a little later in the week to see if those predictions hold up.

Get ready and keep an eye on Irene.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 19, 2011

8/19/11 Report - Testing Gold Bullion Coins, Wheaties & Big Seas Coming?

Scattered Showers Over Treasure Coast Beaches Again This Morning.

I've often mentioned how many fakes or counterfeits there are these days when it comes to rare or collectible coins and how careful you have to be. I do not advise buying expensive items over the internet or eBay unless you really know your stuff and know the seller.

Brad C. sent me an email saying, The only gold you can trust in this economy is in the form of modern minted (late 1800's+) coins. Coins that are established in size and weight. Almost all gold coins are being forged now, but the only way to forge a gold coin's exact weight, and feel, is to use tungsten. Tungsten is extremely close to gold in density and gold plated tungsten can pass any cursory exam, especially in a bar, ingot, or nugget form. In the form of a minted coin, it is possible (and is being done) to use tungsten and gold plating to get an exact replica - weight wise, or size wise - but not both. If you buy a gold coin and it weighs what it should, it will be off a little from the correct size. If it is the correct size, it will be off a little on the correct weight.

There is a tool called The Fisch that you can use to test a coin. It's a flat plastic bar with an indentation the exact shape of the coin, a slot the exact width of the coin, and a fulcrum (on the bottom). The coin should fit the indentation exactly, pass through the slot exactly, and when placed in the indentation on the end of the tool, on a flat even surface, balance on the fulcrum like a seesaw. If a coin passes all three tests, it can only be gold. There are several tool sizes for common gold and silver coins. Its an extremely simple tool to spot extremely high tech forgeries.

Thanks Brad.

Here is a link if you want to learn more about the Fisch.


It costs a little, but with all of the people investing in gold coins these days, you want to know that what you buy is real.

And of course the Fisch would not work on escudos, which are all different in shape.
It only works for known gold coins that have a specific size and shape.

I noticed a wheat penny in my pocket change the other day. Old coins do occasionally show up in circulation. You can find them in your pocket or in the ground. It can be fun to check them out. And some wheat pennies can be worth hundreds of dollars.

Here is a link to an article that provides a table that gives the values for wheat pennies.


A couple of day ago I talked about diamonds and zircons. Akita sent me an email describing an additional but very technical way of identifying real diamonds.

Here is what he said.

Simply, you just drop the stone into a liquid of a known Index Of Refraction that is the same ROI as a diamond or the other mineral you suspect it of being. If it is a diamond with a IOR of 2.4, the stone will 'disappear'. Very simple nondestructive test. I'm not sure where to buy the liquids with various IOF's, but I'm sure they are out there.
I am a retired geologist and this is a way we did the testing in school.


The link is a bit technical, but all you need to see (note the chart) is that diamond and zircons are WAY different.


Here is a good article about the use of ground penetrating radar being used to survey the Ft. Laurens site in Ohio. The plan is to locate where the old structures were so that a replication of the fort can be built where it will not disturb future archaeology.


And here is a link you can use if you want to learn more about ground penetrating radar.


Treasure Coast Forecast and Conditions

Still a lot of rain showers scattered over the Treasure Coast beaches. And there is a steady string of tropical waves coming off of Africa.

The disturbance to the south of us is heading into Central America, but there are two new tropical waves in the Atlantic, both with a good chance of developing. They are still too far away to be able to predict.

Today the wind is from the west and the seas are running about two feet on the Treasure Coast, and a bit higher south of the Treasure Coast. That is expected to remain about the same until next Thursday, which is when the surf web sites are predicting seas up around six feet. As you may know, very often predictions of high seas several days out get changed. We'll have to wait and see how that prediction stands up this time.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

8/18/11 Report - 1500s Gold Bar, Bronze Coin Finds, and $5 Indian

Gold Bar for Sale on EBay.

This 14.74 troy ounce lower kt. gold bar is for sale on eBay for just under $20,000. Interesting! To me it seems unusual in a variety of ways. It is listed as being from a shipwreck, but the age and ship is unknown. It is speculated to be from the 1500s. That would be a relatively rare date for a North American shipwreck, although there are some.

There is no COA included.

I'd like to hear from others that may have some thoughts on this bar.

3,422 ancient bronze coins dated to between 264 to 241 BC were accidentally found in 68 feet of water off the island of Pantelleria.

Here is the link to more of that story.


Gold hit $1825 today as India and China keep buying.

One gold coin that I really like the look of is the Indian Five Dollar gold coin, which is close to a quarter of an ounce. Of course the value of these coins varies depending upon year, mint and condition.

The New Orleans mint, for example, produced just over 34,000 coins in 1909 and since not many survived you might get over $1800 for a coin like that.

The following link is to a nice article that shows what dealers would pay for an Indian five dollar gold coin of various dates, mints and conditions.


There is a new survey on the main page that has already started.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The tropical disturbance down below Cuba is developing and has an 80% chance of becoming a cyclone. It will probably not affect us on the Treasure Coast.

There is another tropical wave over by Africa that is developing but it is too early to guess what it might do.

The wind is from the south and the swell from the east. The sea is calm, although a touch rougher than last week. That will continue for a few days and then next week it will get just a little rougher again, if the predictions are correct. It will still be less than three feet, again, if the predictions are correct.

That means no change in conditions again.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/17/11 Report - Diamond Finds & Being Safe

Rain Clouds Over the Ocean This Morning on the Treasure Coast.

It is not uncommon to find diamond rings. There are a lot of zircons out there though. You can have a $30,000 diamond or a piece of junk. How do you know?

With practice you can learn to identify most diamonds with a jeweler's loop, but it can be difficult to tell a zircon from a diamond. A diamond tester can be helpful, but they aren't inexpensive. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to take your find to a pawn shop or jewelry store. They'll often test it for you. If you don't trust the first opinion, go get another one. That is pretty easy.

Many diamond rings will have the carat weight of the diamonds marked on the inside of the band. That is always a good sign.

It used to be that if the gold was good, the probability was that the diamonds would be real, but with the increase in gold values they are now putting diamonds in less expensive metals such as silver.

It is easy to identify a lower quality but real diamond. With a loop you will often be able to see "inclusions," which are little black spots (carbon) inside a real diamond. Zircons will not have those obvious imperfections. But neither will the highest of high quality diamonds.

There is a world of difference in the price of a low quality diamond and a high quality diamond. In the world of diamonds, bigger is not always better.

Here is a link if you want to read more about diamonds and how to determine their value.


As you might know there is a lot of crime in the world these days. Lately sales of home safes has increased dramatically.

Here is the link to that story.


My recommendation is to use a bank safe deposit box instead of a home safe for valuables. I know it isn't as much fun, but its the best thing in my opinion.

A fire safe might be a good idea for important papers though.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Here is a photo of one Treasure Coast beach this morning. Conditions remain poor.

This beach is one of the flat ones. Another that I visited was stepped. There was the remains of one old cut and below that, new fill, and then another slope. The stepped beach looked worse than the flat beach to me even though I didn't bother to turn my detector on at either this morning.

One of the Flat Treasure Coast Beaches This Morning.

Notice the sea turtle tracks.

Down at Fort Pierce, I saw one guy snorkeling with a detector at the Nieves site. Just to remind you so that you don't get in trouble, detecting in the water at a leased salvage site is illegal.

I also saw a guy detecting the south causeway beach across from Harbour Isles.

As the photo at the top of the blog shows, there were some rain clouds and even some thunder on the Treasure Coast beaches early this morning. Watch for lightening.

The wind is from the south as are the swells. Seas remain at about one foot but will be increasing a little, very little, the next few days.

There is one tropical wave down below Hispaniola and Cuba that has a 30% chance of developing into a cyclone. I don't think it will affect us.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/16/11 Report - Prize Winner of Treasure Hunt Victim of Spain

1855 S $3 Gold Coin.

This exemplary coin brought a price of $13M at auction.

You will find the link to that story below.

If you are one of those who travel out of the country and metal detect, beware! All around the world there is a growing cultural heritage frenzy. Customs agents and other government officials act on unsupported suspicions to seize from private citizens any items that are deemed by any definition to be historic or part of some "cultural heritage."

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, a non-profit group that promotes the coin collecting hobby, bought 23 ancient coins of unknown provenance from a London dealer. On return to the U.S., the coins were seized by Customs and the Guild filed suit. but, of course, the courts upheld Customs.

The point is. if you travel, you better be able to prove to any one's satisfaction that anything you carry isn't some one's cultural heritage. The risk of having items seized is very real.

Here is the link to the article about the Guild's suit against Customs.


You might have to prove your innocence instead of having to be proved guilty.

Be cautious. Obey the laws.

The winner of a treasure chest filled with $10,000 in gold doubloons and the key to a new Volvo which was placed at a secret location in the sea has not received the prize because of Spain's dispute with Odyssey Marine over the $500 million treasure of the Black Swan. The treasure contest was part of a promotion for Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.' which involved puzzles and clues and an online treasure hunt.

Odyssey Marine hid the chest in the Western Mediterranean near Gibralter and was to take the winner to retrieve the prize when the puzzle was solved. However problems arising from Spain's dispute with Odyssey Marine over the treasure of the Black Swan has made it impossible for Odyssey to take the winner out to the site to retrieve her treasure.

Here is the link to that story.


And here is more of the same story.


There were other similar promotions for other Pirates of the Caribbean releases, and those winners were not so unlucky.

You know, the last three years have seen some amazing treasure discoveries.

In 2009 the Anglo-Saxon hoard including 1500 pieces of gold and silver was discovered in England.

In 2010 a bricklayer in Brazil found 8,352 historic coins in his backyard.

And in 2011,there was the treasure that dwarf's Indiana Jones' wildest dreams - the temple treasure of India.

That is quite a treasure lineup.

Here is the link to the story about the $1.3M gold coin.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the west and the swell from the south. Seas are down around one foot. The water is nice and calm, which makes for easy water hunting.

Gert is heading out to the North Atlantic, but there is one other tropical waves down by South America to watch. I don't think it will affect us.

Seas will increase to about two feet by Thursday. That isn't enough to change conditions. Conditions remain poor for hunting treasure coins along the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 15, 2011

8/15/11 Report - Spanish Monastery & Active Tropics

Gert and Two Tropical Disturbances.

These things have been quickly popping up and then disappearing.

Gert is headed out into the Atlantic.

Want to visit a 12th Century Spanish Monastery, but not going to Spain real soon? No problem! You can find a genuine 12th Century monastery in South Florida.

The monastery was built in Spain, later converted for other uses, purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1925, then disassembled, the stones packed in 11,000 numbered wooden crates, and shipped to the United States where it was reassembled.


Pretty Amazing.

Divers explored the wreck of the HMS Investigator that sank in 1854. It is full of artifacts.

Here is the link to that story.


Silver Spoon From Spanish Galleon.

This spoon was listed for sale on eBay. It can be difficult to identify the date and source of artifacts like this. Sometimes the style or design of very old spoons or forks can look very modern. The easiest way to tell if an artifact like this is old, is to find markings on it that provide good information. Unfortunately you can't always do that.

I believe this spoon had bid of about $50 on it with a couple days remaining.

Right now there are a number of artifacts from a Spanish galleon from Argentina listed on eBay. The artifacts include things like spikes, musket balls and ceramics.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Like I said, Gert is going away from us and won't affect the Treasure Coast.

The other two disturbances have about a 10% chance of developing into a cyclone in the next 48 hours. They won't affect the Treasure Coast much, at least not for a few days.

The wind is still out of the west. The surf web sites are still predicting a small increase in the seas around Wednesday or Thursday, but the increase is only about a foot, so that probably won't affect beach detecting conditions.

The topics have become so active, you need to keep an eye on current developments. Things are forming quickly, and so far, have then disappeared almost as quickly.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8/14/11 Report - Shell Piles, Pot Shards, & Calabash

Shell Pile on One Treasure Coast Beach

Shell piles like this are worth looking through. I like to detect around them too.

If you dig down a few inches around piles like this, you'll often find layers of shells covered by the sand.

While the piles often hold fossils, sea glass, or pot shards, detecting around the shell piles will often lead to iron artifacts or pieces of thin metal or sheeting, such as copper sheeting. Many detectorists have no particular interest in those things, but they can often be worth as much as a cob in poor condition.

Below is a couple of pot shards form the Nieves site that is up for auction on eBay and at this point has a $25 bid with two days remaining.

Pot Shards for Sale on EBay.

These are larger shards than many that you will find in shell piles, but even small pieces can be interesting, especially if they are marked or something.

Things like this can also be good clues, and can be what I call signal finds. They can indicate the presence of a shipwreck or historic site in the area and tell you to check the area for other signs.

Another point that I want to make is that there is a lot to be found near shipwreck sites besides coins and many things that people tend to overlook have economic as well as historic value. Keep your eyes open while you detect.

Workers cutting a tree at Gettysburg found a mini ball in the trunk.

Here is the link to that story.


Metal detectors will work other places than on the sand or ground.

Someone wrote in asking about Calabash, an old place where blacks used to gather in the Savannahs back near the turn of the century. It has an interesting history, but I haven't learned much about it yet.

Here is a brief description of Calabash and some of the old towns of the Treasure Coast.


Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Some of the tropical waves disappeared overnight. Seven seemed to come from nowhere but is headed out towards the Atlantic and won't affect us.

The seas are still calm and conditions remain unchanged. You can still go out and much around for a few artifacts, like those I mentioned today, or detect the tourist beaches.

The surf web sites still show a predicted increase in seas about Wednesday or Thursday, but not enough to significantly change detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

12/13/11 Report - Finding & Returning Lost Items

New Named Tropical Storm Franklin.

He's is going out to sea and won't affect us.

One of the neat things about detecting is when you return a lost item to someone who really treasures it. It happens relatively often. And sometimes when at the beach someone will ask you to find something that they just lost. Sometimes the lost item is a valuable piece of jewelry, but sometimes it is something like a pair of glasses or car keys.

I've been able to return a number of gold and diamond rings, an emerald ring, gold chain, and glasses and keys. Most of the time you don't get a reward. And sometimes not even so much as a thank you.

I've told some stories in the past about how some attempts to return lost items were harshly turned away. That is puzzling, but you never know the circumstances of the loss, which might account for the owner not wanting any contact.

I once found a matching engagement and wedding ring in close proximity in the water and thought they might have been thrown away.

Once I was able to find a tourist,s eye glasses that were lot in the ocean. He offered to buy me a drink as a reward. I declined.

One lady after getting her emerald ring back, ran back to her beach blanket and returned stuffing a twenty dollar bill into my pocket.

And one day a guy that ran the jet ski rentals and other concessions at a major hotel lost a big bunch of keys, which put him out of business until they were found. He offered me fifty dollar to find them. It only took me a few minutes to earn the fifty dollars.

I always tell people to get a very detailed description of an item before showing it to someone who says that they lost it. I can recall at least three occasions when someone tried to claim an item that wasn't theirs. People will do that.

When a $30,000 diamond ring went up for auction after sitting in a police evidence room for two years, 25 people called the police claiming that it was theirs.

Here is the link to that story.


Fortunately many rings can be traced to their owner.

One detectorist was lucky enough to find a Super Bowl ring on a beach and personally returned it to the player.

Here is the link to that story.


And here is a really great web site. If you've lost or found a class ring you can enter it into a database. Hopefully many rings are returned through this web site.

Here is the link.


I highly recommend using this site and think I should come up with some type of award for the site.

And here is a link to another story about a found class ring being returned. This one was eye-balled.


You never know what you are going to find on a beach. It seems like anything in the world can pop up on a beach. I just saw a story where one man found a human skull on the beach. I'm glad that wasn't me - the skull I mean. I wouldn't want to be the finder either.

One man recently found 55 pounds of cocaine on a beach. If you ask me it really really isn't rare for drugs to be found on a beach.

Here is a link to that story.


Of course you know what to do if that happens to you - call the police.

I once saw three huge bales of pot that washed up on a Treasure Coast shipwreck beach one morning before they were removed by the authorities.

Back to the lost jewelry. If lost jewelry isn't found, it can't be returned.
I don't know why some people can't understand that.

Yesterday I posted an incorrect statement and after discovering it, removed it. As a result I'll refer back to my June 2, 20089 post giving the rules and regulations for metal detecting on Florida beaches as provided by Tom Guidus.

Here is one statement from the June 2, 2009 post which corrects the error I made yesterday.

... and other than the National Parks, and a few upscale hotels around the state. You are allowed to hunt the beaches from the base of the Dune to the low tide line as you desire, and that includes the beaches adjacent to the 1715 fleet of Spanish shipwrecks.

Sorry for any confusion that I may have caused. The entire June 2, 2009 post on rules and regulations is still available for review.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the southwest and the seas still calm. The surf web sites show an increase in seas next Wednesday and Thursday, but only up to two feet. That might well change though. They are not real reliable with their predictions several days in advance. And who knows what all of these tropical disturbances will do by then.

Right now Treasure Coast beach conditions remain poor. There is a lot of action in the Atlantic though, so thing could change.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 12, 2011

8/12/11 Report - Riparian Rights & Staying Out of Trouble

Four Tropical Waves.

It looks like the Atlantic is getting active.

Yesterday I showed the photo of that old house on Indian River Dr. I'm sure some of you thought that might be a good place to detect. I heard from one person that obtained permission to hunt there in the recent past, and he reported finding nothing of note except for a lot of roofing nails and junk in the yard. I do know that the yard had been detected at least a few times before that.

If you look at the back of that house, on the top floor you will see where there appears to be an oddly shaped room. The house was constructed with a hidden room, which is not apparent from the inside. I just thought that was interesting.

Yesterday I also wrote about some of the rules and regulation that relate to detecting. I often get questions from people wanting to know what they are allowed or not allowed to do. Sometimes I can give an easy general answer, and sometimes with all of the complications it is too tricky to even attempt an answer.

[I removed a couple of paragraphs here because I am not 100% sure that I was right and the statements were causing more confusion rather than helping. I'll do some more research and see if I can clarify the issue before commenting further. In the past I thought the issue was too tricky to answer, and after having tried to provide an answer, I learned that I was right to have avoided the issue in the first place.]

If you run into an overzealous park ranger, security guard or whatever, don't make trouble for yourself.

The law is almost always tricky when you get down to the fine points and technicalities and often the authorities don't actually know the law. Security guards, park rangers, life guards, police officers, wild life officers, home owners, and activist citizens often do not have a complete understanding of all of the applicable laws and might tell you something that is not correct. Trying to educate an overzealous authority is seldom successful. Don't make trouble for yourself.

In my opinion, if you use good common sense, try to do the right thing to the best of your ability, and avoid making someone, especially someone with real authority, angry, you'll probably stay out of trouble.

If you have a question, ask someone who really should know. People often don't know if they can detect on a particular beach, for example. If there is a life guard on duty ask them. They'll generally know.

On the other hand, it is better not to bring attention to some things.

Some beach clubs or hotels will try to keep you from detecting on the beach in front of their property when they do not have the authority to do so. Don't get into an argument, but you can follow up with the appropriate authorities if you want to know for sure if you are in the right. Call the county offices or whoever can tell you what the truth is. Get it in writing if you can.

There have been times when I received information from government officials that made it possible for me to be one of the first to detect a park that had not permitted detecting for a number of years. On another occasion they told me where the markers were that defined the area owned by a beach club, and told me I could detect up to those markers.

Always ask for permission before hunting on private land.

One concept that you should probably know something about is "riparian rights."

Florida navigable waterways are owned and controlled by the state. They are held in trust for the use of the public. The public is free to use those waterways for legal activities such as boating, fishing or swimming.

On navigable tidal bodies of water you are allowed to walk along the waterway below the mean high tide line. If you go above the mean high tide line, you might then be on private property. The easement is determined slightly differently on other bodies of water such as creeks and rivers.

If you want to learn more about riparian (and littoral) rights here is place to start.


Don't get bogged down in the technicalities. And don't get yourself into trouble. Avoid conflict, use the available resources, and learn as much as you can.

Yesterday I received an email from someone that has a law degree. What he said might help you put this legal stuff into perspective.

Here it is.

Laws are not as simple as yes and no or wrong and right. Laws are just to keep people somewhat honest and not for people who are figuring a way to circumvent the process ... They [laws] are just a general guideline to follow.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see from the photo above, there are now four tropical waves in the Atlantic. I would say the two that have the most chance of affecting us are the two that are now closest to Africa. They also have a good chance of developing. Keep an eye on those two.

The wind is now out of the west/northwest and the seas running about one foot. The surf web sites are still predicting a little increase around next Wednesday.

Until then, conditions remain the same - poor.

Happy hunting

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8/11/11 Report - History on Indian River Drive, & Rules and Regulations

House on St. Lucie County Historic Registry.

There is an old house on the corner of Midway Road and Indian River Drive that was built in 1901. This photo, which was clipped from the Hometown News, shows that house. It is the only house on the St. Lucie County Historic Registry and can be found discussed in a book that you can find in the Fort Pierce branch of the St. Lucie County Library. If I correctly recall, the title is something like The Historic Homes of Indian River Drive.

The house was lived in until the hurricanes of 2004 severely damaged the house. It went into foreclosure in 2008, and is now rotting away and either beyond repair or close to it.

I find it interesting, or is it paradoxical, that the state claims every coin, artifact or piece of junk that is over fifty years old (Yes, fifty years old!) that is found in the waterways of the state, yet this entire house, which is listed on the historic registry, rots away without any interest or efforts on the part of the state or other governmental agencies to save it.

Let me clarify a tad. Not only does anything over fifty years old found in a Florida waterway belong to the state, but it is illegal to remove objects over fifty years old from state waters.

Florida State waters include all submerged bottom lands including lakes, rivers, lagoons, and three miles out into the ocean on the East coast, nine miles out into the Gulf Coast, and twelve miles out from Key West.

As I recently reported, the government is in the process of redefining "their" water as almost any water including creeks, streams, and who knows, maybe even puddles.

Before May of 2005, there was in Florida what was referred to as the Isolated Finds Program, which permitted the removal of old objects if the item and all relevant information such as the location was reported to the state. In most cases the finder was permitted to keep such "isolated" finds.

I want to repeat this - the Isolated Finds Program has been done away with.

Back to the house. It was built from cypress wood salvaged from a wrecked barge.

If you want to read more about the house, here is a link.


Please forgive me if my interpretation of the law is not correct in all details. And please don't ask for clarification. I am in no position to provide a legal interpretation of Florida law. I am simply giving my impression from what I have read. If you have significant corrections or clarifications that should be added, feel free to send them to me. And feel free to do your own research if you need additional information.

The blog survey has concluded and the results are in. Well over ninety percent of the respondent think that the governmental rules and regulations that affect the metal detecting hobby are too restrictive. I'm not surprised by that.

When you think that you could drop a 1961 penny in the water and not be allowed to pick it up, that seems ridiculous. Yet as crazy as that sounds, I think it is technically correct.

Many of the people reading this are over fifty years old. An item isn't even an antique unless it is a hundred years old, yet you are not allowed to remove items over fifty years old. Who wrote these laws? Fifteen year-olds?

That seems too restrictive to me.

None of the respondents to the survey seemed to think that the rules were not restrictive enough, but nine people (about 6%) did think the rules were about right. I think I could guess what involvement those people have.

It is not an easy task to find all of the applicable laws and regulations. It seems to me that when it comes down to it, there are those who would rather them not be widely publicized and understood. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that is how it seems to me.

Well, it seems like only yesterday that gold went over $1700 an ounce. And then yesterday it hit over $1800 an ounce for a brief time, and gold was and maybe still is actually more expensive than platinum.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There are now three tropical waves to watch. The first is right over us, but will not affect the beaches significantly. The other two are coming off of Africa and are still too far to be much concerned about.

The surf web site are showing flat seas for the next few days, not changing until Wednesday when they are now predicting four or five foot seas. As you probably know by now, the predictions they make that far in advance usually change.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8/10/11 Report - Riffles, Dips & Loose Connections

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Yesterday I mentioned that there are two types of beaches on the Treasure Coast right now. There are those with a wide flat front beach and a wide low tide zone, and then there are those like the one shown in the photo above, which has a relatively steep mushy front.

The beach shown above had a four foot and greater cut a few weeks ago. If you look at the photo closely, you might be able to see part of the cut that remains at the top of the slope. The mushy front beach is recently accumulated sand. Notice how the slope goes right down and into the water even at low tide, which is when the photo was taken.

I believe you'll find the beaches with a wide flat front to be more productive.

Riffles in the Sand.

This is something I don't remember seeing before - at least not to this extent. Notice the riffles, which were more extensive than what is apparent in the photo. There were at least a dozen riffles running parallel to the beach for a good distance.

The riffles accumulated small light items. It reminded me of a riffle box. Unfortunately the things that were being caught weren't much good. I was curious about how the riffles formed.

The riffles, like most of the front beach here, were composed of densely packed fine sand that was covering layers of shells and filled the areas between the shells. The result was a very firm beach that was hard to dig.

I mentioned yesterday that some metallic objects were found in areas of packed sand and shells like this.

It is always a good idea to check your detector before leaving the house. Last night I charged my detector but when I got to the beach and turned it on I found it wasn't charged. I noticed that when I took it off of the charger the connection seemed to be loose. It didn't get charged. I did have enough juice to quickly check out some spots. I should have checked it before I left home, especially after noticing the loose connection.

In the water there were some rocks and in front of the rocks some dips. Places like that can catch heavy items and are good places to look even if they are very difficult to detect and dig. It might be easier if you snorkel and hand fan places like that. The rocks can make it very difficult to use a scoop.

Many detectorists when hunting modern jewelry in the water go to the place that has had the most people. That is fine and often a good strategy. However my experience suggests that there is often a spot to the south (on East Coast beaches) of where the most people go that accumulates coins and rings and will produce time after time, year after year.

Instead of just detecting where you see the crowds, check to the south up to fifty yards or so. You might find one of those catch areas where things accumulate over time. When you find one of those, don't just clean it out, but return every once in a while to check it out.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There is a new area of disturbed weather just to the west of Africa that looks like it will develop and move in our direction. It is too far away now to tell much about, but keep an eye on it. There isn't anything else of interest in the Atlantic right now.

The wind is from the west and the seas are calm. The surf web sites are predicting one foot seas for several days. That means no change to beach conditions and easy water hunting.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8/9/11 Report - Whites Spectra & IDing Titanium

Whites Spectra v3i.

Here is a nice review of the Spectra. I'm not doing this to give Whites free advertising, even though they are getting it. And I'm not one that puts a lot of emphasis on having the very deepest or best detector. In my opinion, there is no best detector. Some detectors are better than others for specific purposes.

The Spectra is undoubtedly a very good detector, as are most detectors made by the major manufacturers. Just like the others, it has its strengths and weaknesses.

If you are narrowly focused on finding old Spanish shipwreck treasures on a beach, this detector might not be the best choice. All of the fancy target ID stuff would be a waste a lot of the time.

No detector is going to tell you that the big piece of iron you are detecting is a cannon ball or shipwreck spike. If you are hunting old shipwreck items, you usually will want to dig everything.

As the reviewer said, the target ID is not perfect. Target ID is never fool proof. And you simply can't expect a detector to recognized the wide variety of targets you might dig on a shipwreck treasure beach.

If it wasn't hard enough for a detector to correctly identify the wide variety of items, some items will be bent, broken or stuck to other items. That makes target ID very difficult.

For shipwreck treasure hunting, a waterproof detector can be helpful. You can get hit by an unexpected wave or caught in a rain storm. I've even known one person that lost their detector to the sea on a rough day.

Here is the link to the review I am talking about if you are interested.


I suspect this would be a great detector for picking through trashy areas such as urban grass parking lots or parks where you don't want to dig any more holes than necessary.

Don't waste your money unless you need the capabilities you are paying for. Select your detector according to what, where and how you want to hunt. Remember, all detectors have their own specific strengths and weaknesses and will be better suited to one type of detecting rather than another.

If you've ever dug up a piece of metal that looks something like melted aluminum on a Treasure Coast beach, it could be titanium from a rocket or maybe the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

Here is a link to a web site that tells how to identify titanium.


As you might know, titanium is also used to make inexpensive jewelry these days and is much less expensive than platinum, gold or silver.

By midnight 8/8/11 gold finished at over $1751 per ounce. It is up again today.

A 2000 plus year old sword, still in its hilt, was found with some other artifacts in a drainage channel in Jerusalem.

Here is the link if you want to read that story.


Even small creeks and channels can conceal treasures.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Emily has developed again. This time though, she is out in the middle of the Atlantic and no apparent threat to return to the mainland US.

The wind is out of the west and the ocean is very calm. No change to detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast.

I took a quick look this morning and saw that there are till basically two types of beaches right now. Some have a low flat wide low tide zone, and some have a front beach with a mushy front that slopes steeply down to the waterline.

I would focus on those beaches with a wide flat low tide zone. Some still have a number of metal targets, especially if you walk a distance from the parking lots. Some beaches also have some nice shell piles where you might be able to find lighter targets, such as fossils, sea glass or pot shards, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

On some of the beaches you'll some find metal targets between the shell piles and the water line.

It seems that the wide low tide zones are composed of layers of shells covered by fine hard-packed sand. It doesn't make for easy digging.

I only did a quick sample where I stopped today and dug some pieces of copper sheeting. I left some targets simply because I didn't have time to dig them all.

Anyhow, there are still some shipwreck items to be found on the beaches even if they are scattered and are not high value targets. You never know what might pop up.

Use rocks and other stationary items to indicate where the sand is moving.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, August 8, 2011

8/8/11 Report - More Beach Renourishment Projects & GPS Uses

New Wilderness GPS Model.

If you have never looked at a wilderness GPS system, you might find it interesting. They can be very useful, although not every beach hunter will need one. If you are not hardcore, it might be a waste of money.

This is not the brand or model that I use, but I do use one. If you are a beach hunter, you might want to get a waterproof unit.

You can mark a spot so you can easily return to it later. You can easily find locations given in latitude and longitude. And you can even map your scan pattern so you can tell exactly what area you covered by looking at the display screen. You can also mark spots (way points) along your path.

Overall hand held GPS units can be quite handy, but some are difficult to use. Some are not exactly what I would call intuitive.

You might or might not benefit from having one, but you might want to look into it.

It looks like the 2012 beach renourishment budgets are in place. Congratulations to Indian River County who won't get any additional money for drowning our beaches in sand.

Martin County's is getting $2.96 million to dump sand from the St. Lucie County border to Indian River Plantation.

$890,000 more will be dumped south of the Fort Pierce Inlet. We saw how well the last project lasted there. They created a nice eight foot cliff. And some people complain about six inch deep holes. The world is full of craziness.

A request for a project to dump sand on 3.6 miles of shoreline, stretching from the Florida Power & Light Co. nuclear plant south to the Martin County line was not funded. I'm really glad about that. It would have been a shame to cover the reefs and rocks where all the wild life is flourishing now.

If you want to read more about where sand will and won't be dumped, here is the link.


I said a few days ago that gold was headed to $1700 per ounce. That didn't take long. It has passed that already. It is amazing how quickly gold is rising. It is seen as one of the few safe havens in this time of high uncertainty and economic turmoil.

We'll see what the downgrade in credit rating is going to do the US dollar in a short while.

I'm afraid that if you are one of the many people that have a 401K or retirement program, that it might take a hit. Again, we'll see what the day brings.

When the people voted for change, it must have been in place of dollars - as in pennies and nickels.

Here are a few shipwreck and salvage definitions.

Flotsam are goods lost from a ship which has sunk or otherwise perished which are recoverable because they have floated.

Jetsam are goods cast overboard in order to lighten a vessel which is in danger of sinking.

Derelict is property which has been abandoned at sea by those who were in charge without any hope of recovering it. It includes both vessels and cargo.

Anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There are no cyclones out there now. Emily disappeared again. And not much else stirring in the tropics right now. At least we got a little rain out of it.

The wind, what there is of it, is from the west. The seas are calm and predicted to remain that way for several days.

The rating on my Treasure Coast TBDCS is a 1 (poor).

The water should be calm enough for easy water hunting for the next few days. Look for dips or moving sand bars.

Some people on the Treaure Coast have been picking up a good bit of clad lately.

Happy hunting,