Sunday, March 4, 2012

3/4/12 Report - Mounted Cobs & Predicting Beach Conditions

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Cobs in Gold Mountings.

I saw these mounted cobs for sale in downtown Fort Pierce. You can get nicely mounted locally found cobs several places on the Treasure Coast.

If you have your finds mounted, it costs a bit, but I think it is nice to be able to wear and display your finds. There are several places where they will mount your cobs for you.

Silver Cob in Necklace.

I didn't get the greatest photos, but you get the idea. Less exceptional cobs might bring better prices mounted.

As gas prices continue to climb, driving to a beach or anywhere gets more expensive. If you want to check out the different treasure beaches you might drive over sixty miles just going from one beach to another. And, of course, if you drive to the Treasure Coast from out of the area that means even more gas and greater expense. That is one of the primary reasons I started this blog.

I lived in South Florida and would drive up to the Treasure Coast to detect and very often it was a waste of time and expense. The Treasure Coast beaches aren't very productive most of the time. That can mean long drives and long days of hunting with very little except the expense to show for it, but if you know what the the beach conditions are like, you cut down on wasted trips and give your self a better chance of success. That is why I created my beach conditions rating scale.

My beach conditions rating scale isn't perfect. Predicting beach detecting conditions isn't easy. As you go from beach to beach, conditions can be different at different beaches. That makes predicting even more difficult.

As you know, the angle of the beaches are different. The beach doesn't run in a straight north/south line. There are also local variables that affect how a beach will react, such as jetties, sea walls, bottom conditions etc.

You can have one stretch of beach that is building and only a couple hundreds of yards away a beach that is cutting.

My Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Scale gives an average rating for the entire Treasure Coast. If I rated each and every stretch of beach, most might be rated a 1, while another might be a 2 or 3. Although there would be some variation from beach to beach, there generally wouldn't be a greater variation from beach to beach than one or maybe sometimes 2 points.

It has been a long time since we had excellent conditions. The best detecting conditions were all the way back to after the hurricanes.

Back in 2008 we had what I rated as level four conditions one October. I don't really remember issuing level four conditions again since then even though I might have.

It has been unusually slow since then. We've had some of the slowest years I can remember, going back to the eighties. The past two winters have been very slow. We have hit level three conditions a few times.

A short period of extreme conditions will have affects that last quite a while. People often think that they get there too late after a hurricane, but things will show up for quite a while after something like that, either being washed out of the dunes or showing up on the front beach. Something like that moves layers of sand and churns up objects that haven't been moved for a long time.

On the other hand, it can take a long time to overcome extremely sandy conditions like we've been having. It will take a good storm to do something more than just move the top layers of sand around.

What started me on this today is that I wanted to point out a new site that I've been looking at that seems to be very helpful in predicting when conditions will improve or get worse on a short-term and local basis.

Here is one.

It gives an easy to view picture of how the wind changes through a day or a few days.

As I explained not too long ago, what has been happening lately is that these fronts have been coming through and the wind has been progressing through a regular cycle of first coming from the west and then from the north and then the northeast, to east, and eventually southeast and south.

If you've been watching you might have noticed that is what happened the last several fronts that have come through this winter. The result is that when the beaches cut during the north/northeast winds, it doesn't last long and only the top layers of sand get washed from the beach, then the beach fronts begin to fill as the wind shifts to the east and the same old sand is washed back up onto the beach especially when the wind comes from the southeast again. That cycle has been repeated several times this winter as one front and then another passes through. And the same layer of sand gets washed into the water and then pushed back up onto the beach again.

What we need is a good sustained period of high seas and north/northeast winds that keeps churning for a while.

Anyhow, you can see from the web site that it shows the direction of the winds throughout the day for multiple days along with high and low tides. Of course, a good angle at high tide will be more effective at causing erosion than a similar north wind at low tide.

I do find this particular web site easy to use and very helpful for predicting beach detecting conditions and you might too. It gives data for different spots along the Treasure Coast including Wabasso and Fort Pierce, for two examples.

If you look at the near shore model on that web site you'll see that the wind is going to go through exactly what I talked about above. The wind direction will switch around from north later Sunday to east and then south on Monday. That means that even if there is any cutting on the beach, it won't last long, and the same old sand will be washed off the beach and then back up again in a matter of two or three days. There will be a short window of opportunity and practically no opportunity for very old items to be exposed. The only possible exception being in areas where obstructions prevent the natural flow of sand and where in the recent past continued erosion has occurred as a result of the interruption of the natural flow.

Although the seas are getting rougher today and the wind is now blowing strongly, I'm not expecting much improvement in beach conditions until around Wednesday when the seas are predicted to be up to seven feet and above.

Happy hunting,