Saturday, August 31, 2013

9/1/13 Report - Conglomerate, Artifact, Detecting Rock Star, Massacre, Tools for Immigrants & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Find and Photo by William M.

Iron artifacts are still being found on occasion.  Here is one found by William M.

So you have a kid or know somebody who thinks detecting isn't cool!  Here is something interesting.

Surprising to learn that a one-time Rolling Stone is now an avid detectorist.

The Dare is surveying over 6 square miles a day in the search for the Lost Merchant.  Live video streaming will resume on the Fisher site when they start diving there again.

Do you know what was the deadliest clash between the U.S. government and its own citizens since Wounded Knee?  It  resulted in the death of many men, women and children.

I don't think the Indians were citizens at the time of Wounded Knee, but that might not be the implication anyhow.

It is hard to believe the Davidian massacre occurred 20 years ago. 

Here is a fascinating conglomerate from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources as presented in the recent issue of popular archaeology online.   They have a very good article on pirate shipwrecks, and a supplemental article on conservation.

Conglomerate From the Wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources as
presented in the most recent issue of Popular Archaeology.

I continue to learn from genealogy research.  I found it interesting that those arriving from Germany in the late 1700s were given tools.

Here is one of the many listed examples.

Andreas Volck , aged 30, husbandman and vinedresser; his wife, Anna Catharina , 27; their children, Maria Barbara , 5; Georg Hieronymus , 4; Anna Gertrauda , 1.--He received 1 cross cut saw, 1 smoothing plane, 1 whipping saw, a set of gouges, besides several pieces more.

That makes a lot more sense than welfare to me.  The return on the small investment in tools would be huge as these people would use the tools to build homes and homesteads or create useful items.

The two weather systems that I've been watching in the Atlantic have changed.  The first, which is nearing the West Indies, now has a 10% chance of becoming a cyclone, while the one coming off of Africa also now has a 10% chance of forming into a cyclone.

Friday, August 30, 2013

8/30/13 Report - Classifying Specific Beach Detecting Areas, Detector Coil Selection & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is the National Hurricane Center Map showing two systems in the Atlantic right now.  The first (yellow) has a ten percent chance of becoming a cyclone, while the orange one has a forty percent chance of becoming a cyclone.

We'll keep an eye on both of those.

On the Treasure Coast, nothing but 1 - 2 foot surf for a few more days.

The Labor Day weekend might bring a few more people out to the beach.

I used the illustration below a few days ago.   This is an area that I simply selected for illustration purposes. As I said before, my observations on this area are out of date, but that doesn't affect the general principles that I want to illustrate today.  Remember the observations are some years old and things have changed since then.

You won't necessarily find things exactly as I'm describing them today if you visit these locations.   I know for certain that some spots have been altered by construction projects as well as nature. The same strategies and techniques that I'm illustrating are applicable any time and anywhere though, including on the Treasure Coast.

As I mentioned before, spot 1 was a good jewelry spot, whereas spots 2, 3, 4 and 5 were places where you could find old coins when conditions were right.  The shallow water off of spots 2 and 5 also produced some small amount of modern jewelry.

At the upper left, you see a causeway leading to the key.  It was common, and I'm sure still is common, to see people detecting along the left side of the causeway.  That area was never a favorite of mine even though modern gold could be found there on occasion.  The area had a lot of junk and the targets there were on average not real high quality.

The area between spot 1 and 2 also had a few scattered targets back in the day, but nothing like the concentrations found at the well defined areas at spots 1 and 2.

Between spots 3 and 4 was a mucky mangrove area that was difficult to access.  Targets there were very scarce also.

Between spots 4 and 5, could be found some modern coins and gold.  It was, how should I say, a nude beach, that attracted some, but not high a high density of sun bathers.  Targets were generally sparsely scattered.  Shallow water hunting along there would also turn up a few gold items, but very few.  Not as many as along the causeway and much less than spot 1.

As you walk south from spot 5, you would come to the main park swimming area, which was relatively heavily hunted.  Targets were generally spread thinly out over a wide area, but you could often find some gold there.  That was due to both the fact that the area was frequently hunted and nature of the beach.  You could usually find some coins and a piece of gold or two.   As an example, I remember one day I went there when I was sick as a dog and didn't have much energy but felt like hunting anyhow and made a loop out through the area and hit one nickel and one class ring.  I didn't stick at it long simply because I didn't have the energy.  But that is the type of place it was.  Few scattered targets but usually some gold.

As you continue south and out of the park, the first area was pretty barren.  Not many swimmers, but a lot of growing sea weed.

The next spot worth checking would be in front of a condo.  Enough swimmers there to produce something on occasion, but not frequently.  One thing to note:  Condo beaches do not produce as much gold as tourist beaches.  Condo owners often leave their valuables in their condos.  Tourists aren't as likely to leave their valuables in their room and aren't as familiar with the dangers of frolicking in the waves with their valuables on.

The next spot was in front of a beach hotel.  It was a good small well-defined swimming area that often produced good quality finds.  That area was hunted by other detectorists but not a lot like the park swimming area or other heavily hunted areas.  Just beyond that was a good beach area with volley ball courts and a recreational area that produced good items.

Continuing in the same direction a short distance you would come to a beach club where there was a life guard and a fair number of swimmers.  For some reason that one produced some coins but very little gold.  It was a place where I would have expected more.  I guess beach club members are more like condo owners than tourists.

There was then a rather barren area with few good targets until you came to the State Park.  The first swimming area produced some jewelry on a regular basis, but not high quality.

Continuing in the same direction until you come to the heavily used beach and picnic area near the old light house, that beach produced quality finds on a regular basis.  The beach was narrow and most swimmers stayed in the shallow water.  A good number of quality gold finds (not the very highest quality, but good quality) were common there even though a good number of other detectorists hit that spot on a regular basis.

I did not mention today the spots that produced older items other than coins in this listing.  There are a couple of places along this stretch where artifacts have been found.

My intention was not to point you to specific detecting sites.  My point is that every area along a beach will have its own characteristics.  You should get to know what every area is likely to produce in terms or quantity and quality of finds, if it is detected by others frequently, what good, poor and average conditions look like at each spot, and how it is likely to change with changes in the weather.

If you know an area like this, you have a lot of choices.  I talked about the decision making process in the past, which considers both the frequency of finds, the average quality of finds, and current conditions.

One real advantage of a stretch like this is that you can scan a lot of different sites relatively quickly and pick out the ones that you want to pass up or focus on.  Some can be scanned from the car as you pass by.  When one site is not producing, there are enough sites that some probably will be.   They face different directions and when some look poor others will be good.

You can check the secondary or tertiary sites while you are in the area or moving between primary sites.  It usually doesn't take long and it can add to your finds while you are in the area.  It can give you additional options when the site you intended to visit doesn't look good.

I guess I owe a bit of an apology to Whites.  Michael H. wrote in to say that Whites has a non-buoyant coil for the Dual Surf PI.  You should make sure you have a coil that isn't too buoyant before getting any detector that you plan on using in the water very much.  Personally I generally like a detector that works reasonably well for a variety of situations even though I will use special purpose detectors on occasion.

Above I talked about a series of contiguous sites that include both water and land sites.  If I see a water site that where the water looks good, I want to be able wade out into the water.  And then if I see a spot on land that looks good, I want to be able to wander back up onto the beach without changing equipment. 

One of the things that makes the weight more of an issue is the size of the coil.  To make a larger coil neutral-buoyant would require more than it would take to make a smaller coil neutral buoyant. that A lot of weight added to a larger coil would make it less buoyant obviously, but also heavier for land.

Of course you can select different coil sizes for most detectors too.  I usually prefer a smaller coil over a large coil.  First, I've never found large coils that much of an advantage in most situations even though I've used 14 inch coils as well as two-box detectors.  Overall, I've been more successful finding gold using smaller (not real small) coils, and my detecting style does not generally place a high premium on getting the absolute last smidgen of depth.  And when the situation does occur that I want to go for maximum depth, I can switch detectors.  I also like being able to get a smaller coil in and around bushes and other obstacles.

That brings up some issues to consider when purchasing a detector.  Think about the size and buoyancy of the coil.  I have a number of detectors that I will use for different situations, but generally prefer something that is flexible and does a decent job for a broad range of circumstances.   When I go out and go past a series of sites like those I talked about today, I don't want to have to take a different detector for each different site, nor do I want to have to switch coils or whatever.  That is partly my style.  Your detecting style might be different.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

8/29/13 Report - Water Spout, Sea Weed, Recovering Targets in Strong Currents & Tropical Waves

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Really Amazing Photo of Water Spout Off of Pepper Park
Photo submitted by Michael E.

That is a great photo Michael.  Thanks for sending it in.

That is one of the things about being out there on the beaches.  You'll see some beautiful and amazing sights.

I wish I had photos of some of the things I remember seeing.

I was using a White's Dual Surf PI this morning.  It is not my primary detector, but I do use it occasionally, depending upon the conditions and what I am trying to do.

I seldom complain about detectors because they all have their weaknesses and strengths, but one thing I really don't like is the very buoyant coil on the PI, which in my opinion is ridiculous.  You'd think it was meant to be a life preserver.

Anyhow, I've mentioned the buoyant coil before.  Some people add a sock full of sand or something to weigh it down.  It is bad enough in calm water, but it was really a nuisance today because I was working in a strong long shore current, and not only did it want to lift, but the current wanted to take it.   That was really a pain when I was focused on digging a target under difficult conditions.

Where I was the current was fast.  When I first got there and took my first look, it looked like the water was high, but it wasn't - the sand was low.  The current had moved a good bit of sand narrowing the beach.  There was a steep drop off (not actually what you would notice as a cut) in the water at the front of the beach.  Good targets were found on the face of the sloping drop off and just below.

I thought I'd mention a few things I do under those conditions when recovering targets.

When you dig into the sand, tilt the front of the scoop up and shake it so that the sand settles down into the bottom of the scoop more.  Otherwise when you lift the scoop up the top layer of sand and possibly the target will be lost, especially when the current is rushing by.

Sometimes you'll want to face the slope or cliff as you dig into it.  Things will tend to stay in the scoop better that way.

When the currents are strong, you might want to face the current so that the current will be pushing into the scoop instead of across the scoop or from behind it.

Place your coil down the slope or down current from where you are digging, so that a target that rolls down the slope or falls off with the current will have a good chance of being heard.

If visibility is good, watch carefully for signs of the target as you dig or lift the scoop.

If you lose a signal as you dig and you think you might have moved the target so it is either deeper in the hole or now on edge, foot fan and then scan the hole again.

Sea Weed in Shallow Water.

I've mentioned before how sea weed accumulating on a beach can be a bad sign.  It can also be a bad sign in shallow water if it is washing in.  On the other hand it can be a good sign.

It can be a good sign in the water if it is live.  Or in the water it can be a good sign if it is being caught in a low dip that had recently been created but hasn't yet filled.  That might happen just after a change in the currents.

Dug Gold Band.

There are now a couple of tropical waves in the Atlantic.  There is some chance they will form.  I'll keep an eye on those.

Low tide was just after 9 AM this morning.

The surf is only 2 or less feet.  It looks like that will not change for a few days.

The low tides have not been real low lately.

I did something other than continue my series on secondary sites again today.  I think I'll probably get back to that topic tomorrow.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8/28/13 Report - Beach Erosion, 1860 Shipwreck, Canadian Coins & Nugget Ring

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Near Low Tide.
I haven't been out to the beach very much lately, partly because of a foot injury.   I went out this morning to take a look.  It wasn't very exciting.  It was pretty much what I expected, with one exception.

I did find one spot where there was about a four foot cut, and not in renourishment sand.  The cut didn't run far.  The slope in front of the cut was mushy.  Nearer the water the sand was more firm.

Below is the cut that I found.  It ran maybe a hundred yards or less.  I think it probably occurred yesterday morning when a local thunderstorm came through.  Local storms can cause enough waves to create some erosion.

Cut on Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.
This cut is not in replenishment sand, as most of the cuts are these days.

This erosion was at a place where the shoreline projected out into the water as illustrated by the blue lines in the picture below.

Erosion at areas of the shoreline like that shown by the red area above will be more productive than erosion at places that project into the water, such as that shown by the blue lines.  The cut shown in the photo above was at a place like that area illustrated by the blue lines above.  It appears that the shoreline was in the process of being straightened out a little.

Also notice the sea weed in the photo above.  I  talked about sea weed a little yesterday.  Here it shows that some small amount of filling occurred since the cut was created.

There is nothing like being out there.  There is no substitute for actually looking at a beach first-hand and perhaps doing a little sampling with your detector. 

Not only does that tell you if there might be much of anything to be found, but it also tells you how the sand is moving at different places.  That can be very helpful information.  Occasionally you'll be surprised by what you see no matter how much you've learned about how beaches work.

If you are out there looking at the beaches everyday that is a huge advantage.  Most of us don't want to live our lives on the beach though, and we have other responsibilities and other things to do.  We want to cut down on unproductive trips and make the most of our time.

Tomorrow I'll talk about one way to make the most of your time.  It involves really knowing the different spots along the shore.  When you know a lot about a lot of different areas, you can quickly check them out and move on until you find a beach that is really worth spending some time on.

I like to check on the beaches that I think have a good chance of being the most productive, but after taking a look, I often decide to move on to check out another spot without even taking my detector out of the car.   Why spend hours at a low probability spot when other spots might be more productive?  Of course to make that type of decision, you need to know the different beaches, and as I've recently described, you should know the frequency and average value of finds at that spot.  You'll also need to know how to read the beach and how to evaluate the current conditions.  Of course when you estimate probabilities you'll sometimes be wrong but over the long term it will pay off.

Gold Nugget Ring Dug on Treasure Coast Beach
Gold nugget rings were popular back some years ago.  Here is one I think is a little strange.  Only a small part of it looks like a nugget.  I don't know what that is about.

The wreck of the Robert J. Walker, a steamer that sank while returning from surveying the Gulf Coast in 1860, has been identified, in part from the unique square port holes.

We get a lot of visitors from Canada in Florida, especially during the winter.  That means that you'll find a good number of Canadian coins, especially at certain beaches such as Hollywood Beach, where Canadians tourists have gathered in great numbers over the years.  Anyhow, older Canadian coins can be worth a bit too.

Here is a good web site that gives values and information on Canadian coins.

I was looking up information on an older dug Canadian coin and discovered this web site.

Even though I was a little surprised by the cut I saw this morning, I was also surprised how little a adjacent beach has changed over the past weeks and maybe even months. 

We're still having mostly southeast winds.  The surf will decrease a little tomorrow, dropping down to 1 - 2 feet.  The low tide won't be real low tomorrow.

For now, Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8/27/13 Report - More On Secondary Detecting Sites and Their Surprises & Experimenting to Learn More About Your Detector

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here are three beach dug 14K rings of different sizes.  There is quite a bit of difference in the surface area and amount of gold in each of these.

I recommend taking rings of different sizes, putting them on the ground and scanning them with your detector.  Listen to how much different the signal is for each ring.  I highly recommend practicing with your detector like that.  Move your coil different distances above each ring.  Notice at what depth each drops out.

Then vary the settings on your detector and observe the results.  Increase and decrease sensitivity and notice where each drops out.  Increase and decrease discrimination and see how that affects the signal at different distances.

I think people do not do enough of this kind of thing.  It is a good way to learn how different detector settings affect the results, it is a very good way to learn what your detector is trying to tell you.  Of course the results will not be exactly the same under different situations in the field, but you will still learn a lot about how to use your detector.  I'll bet a lot of you find out that you might have been missing items like the very thin ring because of the settings you use.

This experimental method is much better than simply using the factory settings or doing what someone else says.

Now I want to recap some of the main points that I discussed concerning the four old coin spots that I talked about two days ago.  Those old coin spots are very much like the shipwreck coin sites of the Treasure Coast.  They appear when conditions are good and disappear when beach conditions are not good.  They primarily produce a particular type of target that comes from an older source even though targets from other sources as well as more recent losses can sometimes be mixed in.

Deciding if you want to spend time on spots like these old coin spots ,might include several factors such as the expected quality or value of finds, the expected frequency of finds, and other possible risks or costs such as the time risk of missing out on other promising sites, but with this type of site the most important factor is the beach conditions, which can cause the probability of finds to vary from near zero to very high.

Another important characteristic of those four coin spots is how quick and easy it is to check those sites.  You could quickly take a look to see if they might be producing or not, and it would be quick and easy to check out the well defined area with a detector, and if producing, do a good job of cleaning out most targets before moving on.

As a result, sites like this are good supplementary detecting sites, or when higher quality sites are not producing for one reason or another, they can become your first choice.  When better sites are producing these secondary sites can wait.  There is little chance that anyone else will clean them out, although there is the danger that conditions might deteriorate.

You can see that the decision making process to maximize the value of finds can be more complex and precise than simply always checking out your same old favorite spots or some simple-minded site rotation strategy.

The primary value of these old coin sites is that they can supplement other hunting when you are in the area or passing by or when you are waiting for a tide change or something before hitting higher quality sites.

Much of the above discussion assumes a goal of maximizing the monetary value of finds.  That might not be your only goal.  Some people simply like old coins or some other type of target and like to find those types of targets even if they are not the most valuable.  Some people also just like to explore.

One thing to remember about these old coin holes is that they also occasionally produce surprises.  And some of them are associated with other locations that produce other types of targets.

For example, near spot 2 there was and still is a series of groins in the water opposite the dunes.  The shallow water seldom produced jewelry of the age of the coins.  I believe that any older jewelry, if there was much to start with, which would probably not have been expensive anyhow, was probably pulled into the deeper water that rushed through the cut just off the beach.  There was however an occasional more modern gold item that was found in the shallow water there even though very few people visited that area during the period that I was detecting the area.  Nobody that I ever saw detected that area and so if something was lost there it stayed there until a storm came along to pull it down into the deep water.  One of the good things about areas like this is that they don't get cleaned out on a regular basis.

Spot 1, the modern jewelry hole that I talked about the other day, was like that too.  In my estimation, there wasn't a great deal of jewelry lost there, but it would accumulate for a while without being cleaned out.  Again, that is the good thing about finding your own little spots, as hard as that might seem.  You can let them accumulate and clean them out pretty much on your own schedule.  I know that is difficult today, but it can still be done.  There are good stretches that almost nobody detects.  You do have to do what I've been talking about - not following everyone else but taking time to explore and find those areas that aren't heavily hunted that do produce under certain circumstances.

I mentioned the other day that genuine treasure chests have been discovered not far from these locations.  Other old artifacts have also been discovered in the past down around there.  When you are out in an area with a long history, you never know what might pop up.  That is another reason to go out and explore a little.  Sometimes these types of coin spots are simply a part of the mix that keep it interesting while you are looking for other things.

I should remind you that some of these sites have changed in more recent years.  A lot of construction was done on Virginia Key.  The white sand dunes were flattened and removed, as one example.   That does not change the general principles that I am illustrating.  My intent was not so much to give you specific locations but to illustrate general principles that can be applied anytime and anywhere.

There are no storms right to watch right now.  This morning some heavy showers came around Fort Pierce near low tide, which was just after 7 AM.  They didn't last long.

The surf is running about 2 - 3 feet today and will decrease a little for the next few days.

We've really had a couple of years with very few periods of good cob hunting along the Treasure Coast.  Things come and go in spurts.  I'm expecting this long dry spell to end some day.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 26, 2013

8/26/13 Report - New Named Storm, Blackbeard's Ship, Hurricane Season & Detecting Newly Moved Earth

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Sea Weed Beach.
Photo By Michael E.

Here is a beach photo by Michael E. showing a beach covered by a lot of sea weed.  As I've said in the past, sea weed indicates that light materials are washing onto the beach and conditions will generally be very poor.

Beach conditions have been poor most of this summer on the Treasure Coast.  It has been a long period of continued small surf and mostly southeast winds.

I changed my mind on what I was going to post today because I got some emails and some links that I wanted to post.

Below I posted a link to an article on how this is the slowest beginning to any hurricane season on record.  That isn't what they started out predicting this year, but it isn't over yet either.

I was going to continue with the stream that I've been posting on about site selection.  I felt like taking a bit of  a break from that today though, especially since I got the following email from Bill P.   It provides a good reminder.

I'll continue with my previous series of posts tomorrow.

Here is what Bill P. said.

Your post about old coin concentrations reminded me of a modern beach site that unexpectedly gave up a couple handfuls of early 1900's US coins. Not long after becoming addicted to metal detecting, I was walking from my car in the parking lot to the beach where I'd only found modern coins and jewelry. This was a very popular busy beach. I had turned my machine on at the car and as soon as I reached the sand I lowered the coil and immediately got a loud, large target. I kicked the sand and out popped a 1918 Walker half just below the surface!! Somebody must have dropped this recently because this beach gets hammered daily. I took another step and picked up another old silver coin, no way!! These were so out of place I thought someone was playing a trick on me. I looked around to see who was laughing and pointing at me but no one was there. Then I realized that the city had recently installed outside showers for the swimmers to rinse off after swimming. They were positioned a couple hundred feet apart but they had dug a trench to bury the water lines between them. I was detecting the area where the deep sand was dug up and placed during construction then backfilled. If I remember correctly (I didn't keep records), I found over 50 old coins and most were silver. I later found out that that area once had a concession stand right on the spot where the old coins were found. Unfortunately, it was next to the parking lot and the city wouldn't allow any "deep" digging around their new plumbing. It goes to show a little luck and research can put valuables in your pocket, but in this case, the research was after the fact. -Bill
Bill's story does relate to what I've been talking about.  At some locations on the beach there are layers of sand where older coins reside.  On the beach we wait for mother nature to do the construction work and bring the old coins within detecting range.  That is why those holes on the beach like those I've been talking about appear sporadically rather than continually.  Mother nature will uncover the hole, or more likely part of the hole, and then cover them again, maybe later uncovering others.
Those types of old coin holes will be missed by detectorists who do not explore new areas and who are not at the right place at the right time.  It helps a lot to be able to look at a beach and know by looking if an area is worth exploring or not.   
I always check out newly exposed dirt in older areas unless I have a higher priority detecting site at the time, in which case I'll return at another time to the area where the old dirt has been exposed.  One time that comes to mind is when I was driving from one beach to another and noticed where recent construction had taken place on Miami beach.  I forget exactly what they were doing, but there was a long trench that was recently dug between the road and the beach.   When I saw that, I pulled over, parked the car and took a look.  It didn't take long to start finding old coins in the newly disturbed dirt.  I think the first signal was a Buffalo Nickel.  Be vigilant for those types of opportunities.  It doesn't take long to notice construction like that, and it doesn't take long to check it out.  There is little down side, and I always like to know what might have been exposed.
More artifacts have been recovered from the wreck of Blackbeard's ship.  They are hoping to recover what the can before some big storm comes along and scatters or destroys things.  Here is the link to that story.

This link was submitted by Christopher P.  Thanks Christopher!

Here an article about this being the slowest start to a hurricane season on record.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is running about 2 - 3 feet, as has often been the case lately.  It won't change much real soon.

There is a named storm, Fernand, which is over the coast of Mexico.  I don't expect it to come this way.

From the charts I wouldn't expect a real low tide today.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

8/25/13 Report - More On the Old Coin Sites, The Road From St. Augustine, & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I was talking about Hurricane Andrew the other day and just heard that yesterday was the 21st Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.  Doesn't seem all that long.  It was interesting.  Most of the mainland beaches in South Florida were not eroded even though the water got very high.  The other day I did mention a couple of the places were finds were made after Andrew.  Andrew also was responsible for getting me into hunting old bottles as some surfaced on a beach where I was hunting old coins.

The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew was an interesting time for watching the beaches and detecting.

A few days ago I presented a map of an area down south and marked some good detecting spots on the map according to my past experience with those sites.  I did that because I wanted to illustrate some things.  This is a continuation of what I started with that.

As I explained, I selected spots that were relatively close to each other (within just a few minutes of each other) and that produced old coins in good numbers when the conditions were right.  These spots did not produce as continually as some other types of sites. 

Beach sites that produce mostly older targets will only produce when conditions are right.  Besides only producing sporadically, the old U.S. coin sites do not generally produce many high value targets.

The three things that all four of those old coins sites had in common were, (1) that they only produced occasionally, (2) were small but well-defined areas, and (3) predominately produced coins from a relatively well defined time period.

I called those sites "secondary" in part because of those three defining factors.   They might be called "tertiary" rather than secondary depending upon how detailed you get in describing the various sites that you detect and your detecting goals, but they are not what I would call primary sites.

As I've said many times in the past, keep good detailed records of your outings.  That will help you get to know your sites better so they can be classified.

As you gain experience you will get to know more and more about different beaches, what went on at those locations in the past, and what they are likely to produce, and under what conditions they will produce. That means that you should be developing a good list of detecting locations, and learning more about what to expect from each of them.

Other things you might include in your site selection includes how far you have to travel to those locations, how close together different sites are and other things that affect the practicality and probable cost/reward ratio of detecting any one of them on a particular day.

Your primary site locations would undoubtedly include your favorites.   They are those spots that produce on a frequent basis a good number of the targets you most desire and provide few obstacles or little cost.

Your secondary sites would include those that on average produce fewer of the most desired targets and produce them less frequently.  I've previously discussed how to weight beaches or other detecting locations on the basis of the value of expected targets and the expected frequency of finds, also taking into account changing beach conditions at different locations.  

 It is not easy to find beach locations that produce older items such as coins these days, but they are out there.  It is much easier to find detecting sites that produce modern items.

The value of gold is still relatively high and it is difficult to find old coins of very much value, particularly on beaches where coins are often in very poor condition due to corrosion.

Nonetheless, do not completely forget about any locations where old coins have been found in numbers in the past and where they will likely be found in the future when conditions are right.  Those sites will also on occasion produce a few surprises in the form of antique gold jewelry or other old valuable items or perhaps a few modern items.

The gold items associated with old coin sites will most often  not be found mixed in with the old coins.  Remember, as I've shown in the past, over time items on a beach will move and settle according to factors such as density and shape of the targets.

Of course coins and gold at some sites will tend to be lost  differently too.  Often concentrations of coins will be found near places where people spend money and get change, whereas the gold will more often be lost in where people are removing items or frolicking in the water.

Good concentrations of gold will be found in high concentrations of coins in certain situations, such as in low dips that have a rocky or hard bottom.

One location that I marked on the map the other day would produce coins in the dunes and at the foot of the eroded dunes, but the gold items, including some gold that was newer than the coins, were more often found in the shallow water between the groins where there were very few coins.

You might categorize your proven and measured sites as follows.

Primary sites:  High average value of targets, high frequency of targets, often productive, no extreme costs or obstacles.

Secondary:  A mix of the above resulting in a overall lower value of finds (however you estimate that - it can be subjective rather than monetary).

Tertiary:  An even lower reward to cost ratio.

Of course you can use more categories than three if you tend to be more detailed.

I'll pick up here and continue in the future to address how to work secondary and/or tertiary sites into your site selection process.

It is important to remember it can take a while to find these secondary sites, but they are out there to be found if you spend some time prospecting.

Here is a story about the old route between St. Augustine and Pensacola.

I'm hoping to soon get out to do my "how fast do different shaped objects sink" experiment.   I haven't forgotten about it.  Just haven't gotten around to it.

This morning was cloudy and rainy.  The surf on the Treasure Coast was a touch rougher but still only 2 - 3 feet.  That won't change much soon.

Low tide this afternoon will be just before 6 PM.

There is one low pressure area down by the Yucatan but I don't expect it to do anything for us, at least no soon.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8/24/13 - Finding Secondary Beach Locations for Detecting Silver Coins & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Typical Finds From the White Sand Dune Area Shown Yesterday
Yesterday I showed you some spots where old coins were often dug in the past.  It isn't very often that somebody will give you  good specific detecting spots and tell you what has been found there.

I didn't show those spots so you could run out there and detect them.  That wasn't the point at all.  I had a bigger purpose.

At least one of those spots has been almost totally obliterated by construction in recent years.  At least a couple of the others will still be productive from time to time when the conditions are right.  But the reason I showed these spots is because I wanted to give you some tips.

First, let me say it helps to know the history of an area.  The spots that I selected to show yesterday (all but no. 1) are areas that produced good quantities of older coins.  That is what I was focusing on. 

There were and still are other areas on those two little islands that are good spots to metal detect, in fact better spots than those that I showed in that they produce on a more continual basis - but mostly modern jewelry.

Here is one very important point that I want to make clear.  Get to know your beaches very well - what can be found at different areas and when.   And not just the places where every body else hunts all the time or the spots that produce on a more regular basis.  Get to know your beaches well enough so that you know what types and ages of items different spots produce and when they produce them.

Some of the spots near the area that I showed are hunted much more heavily than the small spots that I selected to show.  When I was hunting down that way on a regular basis, I would always see other detectorist at a few other locations near there but never once saw another detectorist at four of the five spots I pointed out yesterday.

There are those places that most detectorists hunt all the time, but there are also spots where few others ever hunt.  I've talked about that before.  That to me is a very important point.  There are places out there that you can have pretty much to yourself, even in these days when people complain about the amount of competition.  It does require knowing the area though.  It also requires knowing something about changing conditions.

Many people won't explore enough to find these secondary detecting areas and if they do look around an area and happen to hit the area when it isn't producing the first few times, they'll forget about it.  It might take a while to identify one of these good spots that produce old coins.  They don't produce all the time.

Taking beach conditions into account is important.  Realize that some spots will produce only when conditions are right.  That is particularly true of areas that produce older items and are not continually replenished with new items.

Once you know about those types of secondary areas, it is easy to take a quick look when you are close by to see if it might be producing at the time or not.   If it is, stick around and detect, otherwise quickly move on.

If you know the area good enough, you'll pretty much know when those areas are likely to be producing from the direction of the wind and waves.  Notice that the areas I showed yesterday face different directions and therefore will erode at different times.  That is a good thing that you can take advantage of.  When some are not producing, one or two of the others very well might be. 

That is something I like about hunting islands as opposed to straight coastlines.  The beaches face different directions and will erode at different times.

In order to find these good secondary areas you will have to explore a little.  It can take some time to find them because they won't be producing every time you are there.  You'll only learn the secrets of those places if you spend enough time with them.  A visitor or stranger to those areas would have a small chance of being there at the right time.  They might walk right through one of those areas and conclude there is nothing of interest there. 

Here are some of my main points today summarized.   There are still a lot of good detecting spots that are not widely known and heavily hunted.   It can take some time to find those good spots because they will not necessarily produce continually, but you can find them if you invest some time in exploration.  Knowing how to read beaches will definitely help when you do explore for those new areas.

In the near future, maybe tomorrow, I'll give some more tips on how to handle these types of secondary locations after you have identified them.

Maybe you saw this video on TV.  Really amazing.   It shows trees being swallowed by a sink hole.


There isn't much storm activity out there now, just two low pressure areas in the Gulf.  I don't think they'll do much.

On the Treasure Coast things remain pretty much the same.  Expect a 1 - 2 surf today and tomorrow.  The low tide might be a touch less low today and tomorrow than it has been recently.

Low tide today will be close to 5 PM.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 23, 2013

8/23/13 Old Silver Coin Spots From the Past, Hurricane Season Said To Be Far From Over, and Big Tidal Wave

Written by the treasureGuide for the exclusive use of

You can find a lot of places that will produce old U. S. coins.  Today I'll show you a few small areas that at one time produced good concentrations of old coins.  All of these spots are within a short distance of each other. 

To the left is a Mapquest image of an area that I used to enjoy.  This area has changed a good bit since then, but I thought I'd show a few old coin holes.

By the way, I never ran into another detectorist at any of these spots back when I was hunting this area.

First, a trivia question:  What U. S. President had a home that you can almost see on this map?  I'll give the answer below.

I put numbers by some of the spots that I particularly enjoyed hunting for one reason or another. All five of these spots were small areas that could be quickly checked when I was in the area or passing by.  If conditions were right, I would mine them, otherwise quickly move on.

Virginia Key has been renovated in recent years.  When I was down that way, it was pretty much dilapidated and abandoned.  There were a few people that used the parking lot up by spot 1 on the map but not many.

I'll start there.  In the shallow water to the left of the "1" was one deep dip next to a rock groin that produced a good bit of modern gold jewelry. Surrounding the dip was a more shallow area that produced a few rings, but the dip was where the good hunting was.

On the beach by the "2" were some old white sand dunes that produced a lot of modern US silver coins.  That area was one of the heavily used  "colored beaches" back in the days of segregation.  Anytime the dunes eroded you could find silver coins along with a few other surprises.  The silver coins were mostly from the fifties and forties.  Note the groins there.

By the "3" there was an unattractive junky beach where you could also find some older US coins.  The coins there were not in good condition like those from the sand dunes at point two.  They were often corroded very thin by the acid mangrove muck.

Old bottles also washed up there after Hurricane Andrew.

Near point 4 was a coral outcropping that was carpeted by old silver coins after hurricane Andrew.  Most of the time the outcropping was covered entirely or partly by sand.

Near point five there was the remains of what appeared to be a gate.  I doubt if there is any sign of the gate remaining now.  Old US coins could be found there, including earlier coins such as barber dimes and shield nickels when the beach was eroding.  These coins were generally older than those coming from the dunes at point 2.

There was a hard packed area near point 5, which I think was what remained of an old road or parking area right next to the beach, and I think the gate might have been where people paid an entrance fee.  The hard packed area was eroding.  I don't know that a fee was collected there for sure, but there were a lot of coins concentrated in that area

There are other spots on those two islands that I won't comment on much now.  Some are still good areas for detecting modern jewelry and are rather well know and heavily hunted.

You might also know that genuine treasure chests were found on these keys.  And you might know about the skirmish at the lighthouse, the military operations on the key and the coconut plantation, etc.   Over by the lighthouse can be found traces of an old well that was a source of fresh water used by some of the very earliest explorers to pass by that area.

The answer to the trivia question: President Nixon had a summer home on the Key Biscayne.

It is easy enough to find good research material on these keys.

Satellite images like these can be very useful.

Climate Central says that 95% of major hurricanes occur in August, September or October.  That means that it isn't over yet.  There is still a lot of time left.

Here is the link to read more on that.

The largest tidal bore of the decade in China destroyed part of a sea wall and injured onlookers.


If you remember back in 2004, I think it was, when we had multiple hurricanes hit us in the same year, after those hurricanes the West bank of the Indian River was covered with tons of bottles, many of which were old.  In the years after that the bottles were destroyed by erosion control projects or covered again by nature and most of the bottles disappeared.  A few have been showing up again recently.   They are few for sure in comparison, but it just goes to show that there are still a lot of them out there ready to appear again when conditions are right..  It would be easy to believe that they are gone forever, but I don't believe that.

If you were wondering, I found out that Michael E. received no reward or even offer of reward.  Michael didn't return the ring expecting a reward anyhow and was glad to do the right thing.   As I said, most of the time you probably won't get a reward, and sometimes not even a thank you, which I really have a hard time understanding, but that is the way it is.

Nothing new in the Atlantic and not much new on the Treasure Coast that I'll bother to report today.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

8/22/13 Report - The Easy Way, 1899 Torpedo Identified, & Treasure Diving Otters?

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One New Weather Area to Watch.

Not much to watch in the Atlantic, just this one low pressure area in the Gulf, which doesn't look like it will do us any good.

In a recent email to investors to the Mel Fisher organization, Kim Fisher, talking about the wreck of the Lost Merchant, said the following,  I was disappointed because I truly believed I was going to be able to tell you that we found her. It reminded me of what my dad used to say, “If it was easy everybody would be doing it.”   

That is an important statement.  Most people take the "easier" way. 

Not too long ago I was talking about the factors involved in metal detecting success and I talked about a factor that I called Extreme Effort.  I was talking about the ability and willingness to go a little farther than others - the ability and willingness to walk miles to a site or hunt in rough water or extreme weather or conditions.  The ability and willingness to do the more difficult thing and work the more difficult sites under difficult conditions and make the difficult find is something that can separate you from the others.

When you see lots of other people working the same site, some, if not most, are probably taking the easy way.  Instead of doing the research or finding their own site, they are following the crowd.  They might also be putting in long hours or working harder in some other ways, but in at least that one way they are taking the easier path.

I mentioned yesterday a few things I found through genealogy research.  I mentioned how some regular pioneers in the 18th Century were captured and killed.  Life for them wasn't easy.  Somebody is always paving the way for those that follow.

We all choose at times to take the easy way.  Michael E. didn't take the easy way when he returned the $4000 ring that he found.  For those with a deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong it might be the easy way, but for others that could be very difficult.

Was Michael rewarded?  I don't know.   What I do know is the reward wasn't what motivated him, and I don't see mention that it ever happened.  It could have, but it might not.

From my experience, most people do not give a reward to detectorists that return cherished items.   Some do, but not many.  It is easier, I guess, to not recognize another person's efforts and moral decisions than it is to compensate others for their good and productive efforts. 

It can be difficult to determine what is easy or difficult for someone else.  It partly depends upon who they are and what values they hold most deeply. 

You might remember the story of an early (1899) torpedo that was found by Navy dolphins off the coast of San Diego last March.  One of only three known to exist, the torpedo which was marked, "U.S.N. No. 24," has been identified.

Research revealed that only eight ships had been outfitted with Howell Torpedoes. Of those, only the USS Marblehead and the USS Iowa were in the Pacific where the torpedo was found.   Deck logs found in the National Archives revealed that in December of 1899, the Iowa lost the Howell No. 24."


I've entertained the idea of training an otter to go pick up coins or shiny objects on the ocean floor.  Let some of those little fellows browse around and I bet they would eventually pick up something interesting if you could convince them to keep focused.  A tasty fish or shellfish reward might do the job.  I think that might work better than an ROV.    By the way Dolores is giving the Lost Merchant guys some trouble.  I personally don't like to get any more technical than absolutely necessary.  I hate equipment problems.

I've been using this hot summer weather to try to get my foot injury healed up and haven't been to the beach much lately.  When I would go, it would set the injury back again, so I've been giving it a break.  I have been very busy lately anyhow.

I hope you take the advice about looking into genealogy as a research tool.  You might come up with some good information that you can't get anywhere else.  I found the name of a couple of ships that my ancestors came across the ocean on in 1733.   I found the name of the ships too.  That was a bad year for some treasure galleons, as you probably know.

The tides on the Treasure Coast will be about the same as yesterday - maybe the low tide won't be quite as low.

Still a lot of sand out there.  I think most people are after modern jewelry now unless you have permits and blowers.

The surf today is still running around 2 - 3 feet, and the wind mostly from the East.  I don't see any real change coming for at least a few more days.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8/21/13 Report - Poison Ring, El Cazador Coins & Good Way to Find New Detecting Sites

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Earliest Poison Ring?
Photo from The Sophia Globe.
See link.

To the left is a enlarged photo of a medieval ring.

The compartment on top of the ring is hollow and thought to be meant to hold poison.  The hole would be covered by the next finger and used to release the poison.

Below is the link to the story of the mdeieval ring.

Among the many other coins, coins from the El Cazador are expected to be on display at the upcoming Wall Street Coin, Currency and Collectibles Show, Oct. 17-19 at the Museum of American Finance at 48 Wall Street in New York City. 
The El Cazador  which sailed in 1784 with 450,000 newly minted coins left Vera Cruz for New Orleans.  The sinking led to Thomas Jefferson being able to acquire the Lousisiana Terriory from Napoleon. 
The wreck of the El Cazador was discovered by Jerry Murphy in 1993.
You can find many coins said to be from this wreck for sale on eBay.

The finest known example of a 1652 Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling realized $76,375 at auction.

Here is the link for more of that story.

Not too long ago I recommend doing some genealogy research.  These days you can find a lot on family histories if you do the research.  You'll enjoy learning about your family or other families that were pioneers in your local area.   If you want some good new sites to detect, give it a try.

In order to give you some idea about the types of things you might discover, here is a little selection of what I have learned about some of my ancestors on my mother's side.

Joseph Brownlee served in Capt. Joseph Erwin's Company during the Revolutionary War. This company was raised in Westmoreland County, PA, and joined the regiment at Marcus Hook. It was subsequently included in the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, then in the Second, and finally discharged at Valley Forge, Jan. 1, 1778, by reason of expiration of term of enlistment. Engagements were Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Quibbletown, Brandywine, and Germantown.   Joseph was commissioned Third Lieutenant on April 15, 1776, Second Lieutenant on Oct 24, 1776, and First Lieutenant on April 18, 1777. He was captured at the Battle of Long Island on July 27, 1776, and exchanged December 9, 1776. He resigned June 22, 1777. Joseph married Elizabeth Guthrie in 1775. They had two children, John and Jane.

.... Joseph was a well known Indian fighter on the Frontier. As one source states, "He did not discriminate between a good and a bad Indian, thinking perhaps that there were none of the former class." In a letter from Col. Brodhead dated Nov. 2, 1780, he named Lieutenant Brownlee as one of several men who attempted to "destroy" a group of Delaware Indians under Brodhead's protection.  On July 13, 1782 Joseph and his family were attending a wedding at Miller's Blockhouse at Hannastown in Westmoreland Co. PA when the Indians attacked. Several of the guests, including the Brownlees, were captured. One of the captured women happened to address Joseph by name. The Indians, upon finding out who he was, killed him with a hatchet blow to the head, and then killed his three-year-old son John who he was carrying on his back. The Indians also killed another woman, identified in one account as Mrs. White, assuming she was Joseph's wife.  Elizabeth and Jane, who was only four months old at the time, were taken to Buffalo and Niagra. There the Indians planned to torture them to death, but a British soldier, whose family was being detained by American soldiers, convinced the Indians to sell them instead.  Elizabeth was sold to British officers for $20 and Jane for $10 and 2 gallons of rum. They were then taken to Montreal where they were exchanged and returned to Hannastown in July 1783.   After her return from captivity, Elizabeth married William Guthrie in Jul 1784 at Hannastown. He was killed by a fall from a wagon 10 Mar 1828. She d. 11 Feb 1842. Jane married James HUGLE and moved to Muskingum Co., Ohio.   The bodies of Joseph and the other slain captives were buried where they were found on what was later the Meckling farm.  Joseph Brownlee owned a 150 acre tract of land in Hempfield Township in Westmoreland Co.

Here is the source of the above selection.

That is a very small but colorful part of what I have been able to learn through genealogy research.  Through this research and more like it, I've learned things such as where skirmishes took place, where  old homesteads were located, and even where block houses were located that I didn't know about previously although I knew the areas rather well.

I'm sure you'll be able to find similar things and be on your way to detecting new and interesting sites.  Maybe you'll be able to dig up some of your families history, or maybe you'll want to research the history of other families from your area.

As I said the other day, is giving a free two week trial period.  There are many other good resources on the internet though.

There are no storms in the Atlantic to be concerned with.

We'll be having a full moon and greater tidal variation.  Looks like the low tides should be good and low.

The surf on the Treasure Coast will be running around 2 - 3 feet for a couple of days.

Happy hunting,


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8/20/13 Report - Erin, 17th Century Shipwreck, Erosion, Gold & More on Beach Site Selection.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

It looks like Erin disappeared.  There are now no tropical storms or weather systems to watch.

The surf on the Treasure Coast has increased up to around three or four feet for a day or so.  That might help refresh some of the beach fronts a little.  Otherwise no significant change in beach detecting conditions.

Flooding is causing erosion along the Missouri River and exposing artifacts from ancient Native American artifacts to 19th Century pewter toys.

As I always say, be alert to erosion where ever it is.  Erosion can provide a nice window into the past.

Secondly, as the article points out, the same places drew people over the centuries.  People find the same things attractive now as they did in the past.  Whenever you see a particularly nice location, even if it doesn't show any signs of being used in years past, there is a good chance that it was.

An unidentified 17th Century Dutch trading ship is being excavated.

Here is the link to that story.

And here is a great story on changing gold prices, its impact on individuals to international banks and indifidual miners to investment companies.

A few days ago I talked about how different beaches vary in the quality of finds they produce.  Some beaches produce a higher average value find.  And of course some beaches produce more good targets than others.  My previous illustration proposed a hypothetical beach that produced finds averaging $500 and another lower quality beach that produced finds that average $50.

I discussed how you would have to dig ten times as many good targets at the lower quality beach to equal the value of finds that you might expect from the high quality beach.  Looking at it the other way around, you only have to find one tenth the number of finds at the high quality beach to equal the value of finds that you might expect from the lower quality beach.  One additional consideration is the changing beach conditions that I want to talk about now.

For illustration purposes, let's say it normally takes ten  hours to make a  find at the beach that produces high quality finds.    Maybe there are fewer people that visit that beach and they might be more careful with their jewelry.  And if you average one find per hour of hunting at the lower quality beach, that means that the two beaches are equal in expected value.   10 finds of $50 average value = $500 total at the low quality beach, as compared to 1 find of $500 at the high quality beach.

Those numbers might not be realistic for the particular beaches you work, but they are easy numbers for illustration purposes.

You also need to take changing beach conditions into account and adjust your expected value of finds for each beach. If beach conditions really improve at the high quality beach so that you estimate that your chance of making a find at the quality beach doubles, that makes your expected value of finds for the high quality beach twice as great as for the low quality beach ($1000 compared to $500).

I know that it is difficult to precisely estimate the change in probability of finds as a result of changing beach conditions, and you don't really need to be that precise, but by looking at it in this way think you will be more clear about your decision making processes and make better decisions concerning site selection.

It also takes a good amount of time to get good records so that you can get a good average of the value of finds for different beaches.  That brings me to another consideration.   Here it is.  High quality beaches are much more likely to produce individual finds that can dramatically change your average value of finds.  One Rolex watch or one $50,000 diamond ring might not be found very often, but when it does happen, it will dramatically change your average expected value for that beach.  That is something that is difficult to factor into your decision making precisely.   If an extremely good find like that occurs at a high quality beach it might correctly affect your expectations because there is some chance it will happen from time to time, though rarely.

If on the other hand, something like that pops up on a lower quality beach, you never expect it to happen there again.  That means that you might factor it in to your decision making differently.

I won't make it any more complex.  I do recommend keeping very good and detailed records so you know the average value of finds at a beach.  When making decisions you don't have to use a formula and do the calculations.   Thinking of it in terms of a formula will help to make your decision making more clear though and help you to consider the relevant factors and how they enter into site selection.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

8/18/13 Report - Media Story on Treasure Coast Diamond Ring Returned & Tips for Working Hunted Areas

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

WPTV did a piece on Michael E. finding and returning a $4000 diamond ring that was lost and found on the Treasure Coast.  I mentioned that story a few days ago.  Here is the link to the news story.

The video comes on after the advertisement.

When I originally gave the story I said I hoped the media followed up on it.

Thanks to Bernie C. for submitting the link and Michael E. for the good find and his good act.

The video and article did not mention the St. Lucie Metal Detecting club and some other things.  That is not unusual for the media.  They have their own ideas of what should be included in a story.

Detectorists sometimes get discouraged by competition.  They show up at the beach and see two or three other people coming off the beach and think they might as well turn around and go somewhere else.  That isn't necessarily the case.

First, nobody can cover an entire beach.  There is just too much area.  But I wouldn't cover the entire beach even if I had the time.  Some spots are better than others, and I'm all about trying to identify and hit the best spots.

I'm don't worry much about the competition.  I've never felt it was much of a concern.  As I said the other day, I tend to specialize in finding those spots that are neglected by most others.

I've mentioned many times about the beach being a dynamic system.  That means it constantly changes.  As a result, hunting the same spot after it has been hunted can be like hunting an entirely new area.  It is the same area, but, like I said, things can be changing. 

I thought I'd give you some tips on how to deal with competition today.

First, is timing.  Take advantage of the fact that most detectorists are creatures of habit.  Many will show up at the same beach at the same day of the week and the same time of day.  If you are dealing with competiton, get to know the competition.  I don't mean what you might think I mean by that.  I don't mean to talk to them and get to know their name and things like that.  I mean get to know their detecting habits.  It isn't usually all that difficult, even if you never see them.  You can get to know them by their footprints, drag marks, etc.  Get to know when they detect and make consider your timing.

You can tell a lot about who was there before you even if you never see them.  How many targets did they leave?  What types of targets did they leave?  Is there a disproportionate number of nickels, for example?   Do they grid a small area or cover a large area loosely?  Do they work the dry sand, wet sand, or water?   Do they miss pull tabs, iron, big objects, deeper targets, or whatever?  All of that tells you something that will help you make adjustments and take advantage of the situation.

What areas did they detect and what areas did they miss?  You can sometimes tell that from tracks, uncoverd or refilled holes, or from remaining targets.

If you get to the beach early in the morning or after a rain or strong wind, it wipes the slate clean and makes it easier to tell what happened after that.

After gathering information, make adjustments.  If the others miss a lot of deeper signals, you might decide to select another detector, adjust your settings, or just focus on hearing those faint signals and deep targets.

I don't mind if someone leaves a lot of trash, which tells me they probably also missed some targets, and I don't mind if they left a clean beach, which makes it easier to focus on deep targets.  Either way there is an adjustment that you can make to take advantage of the situation.

Of course, all of that assumes that you decide to stay at that beach and hunt it rather than moving on.  Moving on to another beach can be a good option if you decide that detecting conditions might be better somewhere else.  I often take a look at a beach and move on without ever taking my detector out.  I'm not set on detecting beach X or Y, but make adjustments according to what I see as I go.

One good technique for dealing with competition at top beaches that I often like is to detect the perimeter.  Even if an area is very heavily detected, those that detect it often end up spending their time in a well defined area.  One technique I've used with remarkable success is to define the cleaned out area, and thoroughly detect around the perimeter of the cleaned out area.

In the past I told about one beach that I stopped at when I was traveling up by Pensacola.  There was a picnic area by the causeway to the beach.  I stopped there and started to detect in the water.  I could quickly tell that the area was pretty well cleaned out.  I noticed that there were two pilings in the water and found that the cleaned out area was a rectangular area with the two pilings being two corners of the area.  Inside the rectangle was clean, but just outside that area there was junk.  I decided to detect right around the borders of the rectangular area and in a few minutes came up with three gold rings.  All three were within a couple of feet outside the area that somebody obvoiusly detected on a regular basis.   I never saw them there, but I could tell what they had done, and adjusted accordingly.  They actually helped me out by helping me narrow down the area where remaining targets were likely to be found.  That is an illustration of what I am talking about. 

One of the areas that is most overlooked by other detectorists is where the water gets deeper than chest high.  Some guys do very well by specializing in deep water where many other detectorist do not detect.

Another of my favorite techniques is to hunt an area that is in the process of changing.  It doesn't matter if someone detected the area a half hour ago if another six inches of sand has been removed, or if new targets have washed up in that last half hour.

Others will also miss targets if they are moving too fast, discriminating, or just not scanning thoroughly.  All of those are things you can take advantage of. 

I have no problem following right behind people that do those things.  And I'm not insulting anyone here.  I'll follow myself too.   By that I mean, I'll go back over the same ground time and time again if it seems warranted, especially when I wanted to move fast the first time for some reason, maybe to do some sampling, or if the target density was high and I moved a good number of surface targets on the first pass.  Also, I'll go back and cover the same ground again if it was a high density target area and if the sand is moving as I detect.

Being worried by the competition is more of a psychological thing.  Yes, they might get some targets.  That's OK.  No problem.   Just analyze what is going on, make the necessary adjustments, and take advantage of the situation rather than getting discouraged.

Not much has changed on the Treasure Coast lately.   Erin is now a depression and moving west, but is still a long way away.

Another disturbed area that might form just came off of Africa.

That is it for now.

Happy hunting,

WPTV did a piece on Michael E. finding and returning a $4000 diamond ring.  I mentioned that story a few days ago.  Here is the link.

The video comes on after the advertisement.

Thanks for Bernie C. for submitting the link. 

The video and article did not mention the St. Lucie Metal Detecting club and some other things.  That is not unusual for the media.  They have their own ideas of what should be included in a story.

Jim M. sold the detector I mentioned was for sale two days ago and has a stainless steel scoop for sell on eBay.  It is item no. 141040416069.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

8/17/13 Report - Erin, Gold Increasing in Price, Robots, Old Gold & Piggy Bank Full of Silver Coins

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

National Hurricane Center Map
Erin is moving West/Northwest at 18 knots.

That is the important thing for me today.

It appears to be weakening.

The weather system down by the Yucatan looks like it will not come our way.

Gold prices hit two month highs Friday at around $1371 per ounce.

Demand for gold is strong in India and China.

Here is the link about gold prices and demand.

When hunting modern gold jewelry, I'd rather find a piece of old gold than an item that was recently dropped.  Why?  Because if it has been lost for a number of years that might mean that the conditions are changing to expose older accumulations.  Sand is being moved and old items are being uncovered.   Even if a new item is dropped where old items are being uncovered, it will probably be easily found instead of quickly sinking or disappearing, like it might if conditions were not as good at that spot.

Although gold does not corrode much (remember it does corrode some because it isn't pure), it does corrode some.  Often old gold will show some sign of being lost for a long time, even if it is only a surface patina.  Sometimes you can tell by the wear and tear on the item.  Sometimes you might get an idea of its age by the design or type of the item.  Take a look at how gems are cut or set.   In any case, inspect modern jewelry finds to try to tell if it might have been out there a long time or if it was just recently dropped.  That can be good information that you can use.

A convention for unmanned vehicles was held this week.  They are for land, sea and air.  There is quite a variety of remotely controlled submersibles with video cameras available.  You probably know how those are used to explore shipwrecks.  There are some small inexpensive versions.

I've often wished I had a small drone to fly down the beach so I could see the beach conditions.  It actually wouldn't be too hard or real expensive.  One problem is the sea breezes that might be a problem for very small and light drones.

You may have seen the remotely controlled vehicles used by the bomb guys in Afghanistan.  I don't think it would be too hard to make a metal detecting robot.   I've thought about how I would design one.

Here is a link to an article about the unmanned vehicles convention.

Here is a nice story.  I post it partly because not too long ago I mentioned about detecting around trees.  That was after one of this blog's readers found a nice cache including silver dollars under a tree. 

This video and article is about a young detectorist that dug a lead piggy bank under a tree.  He found the bank was full of silver coins.

Here is the link.

Some day soon I'll do my experiment to illustrate how the shape of an item, in addition to the item's density, affects how it will sink in the sand.

On the Treasure Coast the conditions are still the same.   The surf today is only about one foot.  The low tide will be around 11:30 AM.

The surf will increase to about 2 - 4 feet for Monday and Tuesday.

Happy hunting,