Thursday, August 8, 2013

8/8/13 Report - Secrets of Foot Fanning, Metal Detecting Club News & Treasure Auction News

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

12 Year-Old Snorkler
With Found Ring

AP Photo.
I posted a link to this story a couple of days ago.  A lady lost a $4000 ring at the bottom of a waterfall.  This twelve year old boy decided to snorkle to look for the ring and found it by a rock.

If you read that story and think about it, there are some good clues to be found.  Notice where the ring was lost, how it was lost, and how and where it was found.

The ring was found laying by a rock.   He didn't use a metal detector.  Ask yourself why a detector was not needed?   Think about the likely bottom conditions etc.  Remember that when you read the tips I posted below.

First, some news.

The St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club will hold its next meeting Oct. 13, 3 - 6 pm at Bernie's house.  A club hunt is being planned for Sept.

The deadline ( Aug. 17 ) for consigning to the next Sedwick auction to be held Oct. 30 is about here.  Time is running out.  This auction will be live from a resort just outside Downtown Disney.

I talked a little yesterday about the misconceptions that persist about detectorists and digging.  It seems that government officials and archaeologists and others who are not detectorists believe detectorists go around digging big holes like archaeologists or kids playing on the beach.   What they must not realize is that depth in metal detecting is measured in inches, not feet, and much of what those who detect actually do, as I explained yesterday, only requires a little sifting or fanning rather than digging.

In the water, even though a long handled scoop can be a very handy piece of equipment for sifting sand, it is also useful for other functions such as helping you navigate and staying connected to a spot on the bottom while you are bobbing in rough water.

One function of the long-handled scoop that is very important to me is to be a third leg.  That can be very useful in rough water, especially if you are going to fan with your foot.   Some extra support is helpful, especially when one foot is busy fanning sand.

When walking on a rocky bottom with limited visibility, it is also easy to step on a rock and sprain an ankle.  That has happened to me.  Again, the long handled scoop provides some extra balance and support.

Foot fanning can be used almost anywhere when you are in the water.  I've used it in the lakes in Minnesota where the lake bottom was covered with egg sized pebbles and where it would be very difficult to use a scoop, to the bays of St. Lucia in the sunny Carribbean.

Foot fanning can move a lot of sand quickly, probably a lot more than you would ever imagine if you haven't used the technique.   It can be much faster than hand fanning.

Everyone knows that sand is moved by the currents, and try as hard as you might, it is difficult to dig a deep hole in moving water.   As I explained yesterday, that is not what I am out there to do.   In fact, I prefer to be in areas with packed rock bottoms where it is near impossible to make a dent using a scoop.

When you are dealing with one of those highly productive dips with a packed rock bottom, foot-fanning is the technique I would choose.  If you are wading, it is by far my preferred technique.  Your hands will probably be full anyhow.

You can bend  a stainless steel scoop by trying to dig a packed rock bottom.  That is something you don't want to do because the expensive scoop will never be as good again once it gets bent.

Instead of trying to dig, stand over the pin-pointed spot, firmly grasp the long handle of the scoop, and lean on it, using it, as I said, as a third leg.   Position yourself over the pin-pointed spot, and start fanning with your foot.  If the target is shallow, as will often be the case when you have a bottom packed with rocks, the target might be exposed after the first few strokes. 

At first fan using a few short  vigorous strokes with your foot directly over the spot and close to the surface.  That will concentrate the force on a small area and will help mark the spot and help determine if the target is real near the surface or not.

Foot fanning, as contrasted with hand fanning, is done front to back instead of sideways. 

After the first burst of strokes with your foot, observe the results.   If there is any sand on top of the rocks, you will most likely see a depression in the sand.  If the bottom is packed with rocks, the sand between the rocks will be lifted out of the cracks between the rocks when you fan.  That makes it much easier to move the rocks out of the depression.

Pin point once again.  The object might have moved.  If not, then try to determine how deep the object is.  Then proceed to foot fan more vigorously, taking longer strokes, so that not only the sand is moved, but smaller rocks will also be moved out of the hole.   

You can foot fan very vigorously with the free foot while leaning on the long handled scoop for support.  You can learn to focus the force on a small area or a larger area.  Both the length of the stroke and nearness to the surface are important.   As you learn how to do this, you'll see that you can move a lot of material quickly.   The force can be concentrated on a small area or spread over a larger area.

It is best to wear foot wear when foot fanning for a couple of reasons.   One is that stones will pop up and hit your bony foot on the ankle or toe or where ever it hurts the most.   Things like fishing lures will also occasionally pop up and can stick in your foot.   That has also happened to me.  Fortunately not too deeply.  
Like I said, you might be surprised by the amount of force you can generate by foot fanning.   And also like I said, there is no need for digging.

One technique that can be used to make foot fanning even more effective, is to take an old scuba flipper (you've probably found one or more if you've hunted much in the water) and cut it back.  Remove most, but not all of the flipper.  If you plan on foot fanning, using the modified flipper on the foot you use for fanning, and it will increase the amount of material you can quickly move.  Don't leave too much of the flipper though, or it will slow down your fanning.

One thing about fanning sand in the water is that the water will quickly move the sand back to where it originally was.  Nature will do that for you very quickly in most cases.  In some cases too quickly.

However, if you have moved a good bit of sand and it isn't refilling too quickly, and you are working in an area dense with targets, as these rocky areas tend to be, take the opportunity to scan the entire area where sand was moved again with your detector.   Scan the depression and any slopes.  You will often find more targets in the area where the sand was moved.  Keep detecting and moving sand as the area grows.  It is a lot easier to move more sand where you already have moved some sand.  You an spend a lot of time and recover a lot of targets from a small area like this.

Like I was saying yesterday, I focus a lot on finding the types of places that I want to spend my time detecting.   And when I find a good one, detecting depth is not the most important thing.

Here is a good link to a story about what all they are digging up during construction of a railway in London.   Thanks to Marsha R. for the link.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is from the southeast today.  The surf is a little rougher, somewhere around two or three feet.  It kicks up a little more from time to time.

Overall beach detecting conditions have not changed much yet.

Happy hunting,