Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7/30/13 Report - Going with the flow while water detecting and the advantage of minimalism.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Nothing Surprising But a Good Beach Illustration.
I think it was from the Dept. of Highways or something like that.
Different people go about beach detecting differently.  That is natural enough.  One thing that was recently brought to my attention is that some of my techniques are not the same as what you will most often see described in books and magazines.  I can't say I've done anything near a comprehensive review of the literature, but I often see techniques described and encouraged that are very different from those that I use.

Many of my techniques are what I would describe as minimalist.  I tend to avoid equipment of all types as much as I can.   If a detector didn't make such a huge difference, I wouldn't even use a detector.  I very much like eye-balling.   It is just so much less productive to work without a detector.   I don't use extra equipment unless I find it essential.  Minimalism seems to me to be more natural, involves less expense, and requires less equipment to fool with and maintain.  But most of all the advantage of a minimalist approach is the versatility it affords.

When you go out with all types of specialized equipment, tanks, floating sifters, or whatever, the more you have of it and the more specialized it is, the more there is to hinder you from adjusting on the go.  Equipment specialized for one particular situation is excellent, but that requires you to know before you start what you are going to do.   If things are not working out as expected, you  have to change equipment and your whole approach.  The alternative is to learn to use some good basic equipment very well and adjust your techniques to multiple situations.   Learn to adjust your basic equipment and learn to use it well for various situations.

If I set out for a day of detecting in deep water and find that it isn't as productive as expected, or that the conditions have changed, and if I want to be able to walk out onto the beach and work there without carrying tanks or anything, I want to be able to do that with little problem.  I don't want to go back to the car or wherever and lose time as I change equipment.

I recently realized that since I've always worked alone, my techniques evolved independently and some of them are pretty unique.   Below is one in particular that is very different from the techniques that I've read in magazines and books.  It involves detecting in rough water.

I would describe my rough-water technique as going with the flow.   I don't like adding dive weights to keep me in place while the waves crash over and around me, for example.  I rather go with the flow.  I didn't know how to do that at first.  It took a while, but I learned to work with the waves instead of against them. 

Instead of trying to stay in place, my preferred rough-water wading technique is to let the waves take me where they want me to go rather than struggling against them.   What may be a surprise is that each wave will return you to the point where you started.  If you let go it won't wash you up on shore like a beached whale.

Add caption
Here is a good illustration that I found online.  I couldn't find a more complete source to credit, but the illustration shows what I am talking about.  Imagine that instead of the red boat, the figure is a wading detectorist facing the beach.

When working in rough water, if you are wading while facing the beach and a wave comes, you'll feel yourself getting sucked back.  You'll feel it before you see it and before the wave hits you, and you'll know that it is coming.

You'll be sucked back, as shown at the top of this illustration. When you feel yourself being sucked back, instead of struggling against it, sit back. Sit down and draw your legs up a little, more if you are in shallower water.  Then just let the wave take you back and up and then forward and down, eventually back to where you started.

You can see that cycle and the circular motion illustrated in the picture.  You'll eventually learn when to lean back, ride and then put your feet down again.

If you started a hole at the beginning of the cycle, you'll be dropped at the same position right by the hole where you were at the beginning of the cycle.  That will happen time after time.  No struggle, no mess.

So how do you use your scoop to recover objects while floating around?  At the low point in the cycle put your scoop into the sand.   If the object requires more than a single scoop, leave your scoop in the sand as you float away and back.  The sand in the bottom of the scoop will hold the scoop in place until you return to it.  You can hold onto the handle of the scoop while you float away and then back, while the bottom of the scoop remains anchored in the hole.  Or you can let go of the scoop until you return to the beginning of the cycle.  The scoop will remain anchored where it was, and if you are using a wood handle or other handle that lets the scoop float handle up, it will be right there for you to grab when you return.

Dig as many times as necessary at the low point of the cycle.  You can combine scooping with foot fanning.  The only difference is you take a breath while being floated up and away and move sand when in the bottom part of the cycle.

This technique is easier on you and our equipment.  It is more like floating than fighting.

Accurately estimating the depth of the object will help you know how to better approach target recovery.

I find foot fanning very effective in many situations.  You can move a lot of sand quickly through vigorous foot fanning.  You can use some slightly modified footwear to make that go even faster.

Not very long now until the blog poll is done.

Not much has been changing on the Treasure Coast beaches.  Its not likely you'll see old shipwreck cobs or treasure coins, but there are still things to be found, including among others, modern jewelry.

Tomorrow the surf will be a touch rougher.  Then on Wednesday the surf will peak at around 2 - 4 feet.

It took me a long time to try to get this post so I think you can understand what I'm trying to say without going into volumes of detail.  I'm sure I could have said it better.

I'll leave it at that for today.

Happy hunting,