Tuesday, April 1, 2014

4/1/14 Report. How a Nor'easter Works, What Happened at Riverbend Park & Seminole War Battle Site

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

Why do people always talk about Nor'easters?  How are they different?  And why are they associated with treasure finds?  Those are a couple of questions I'll begin to answer today.

Here is a picture of a Treasure Coast beach that has a cut running for a hundred yards or more.  It is not a picture of the beach today but was taken some time ago.

First notice the two straight black lines.  The straight black lines show the line of wave fronts as they come up onto the beach.  They are hitting at about a 45 degree angle in this case.

I always talk about the angle that the wind and waves hit the beach.  That is very important and has a lot to do with what will happen to the sand on the beach front.

The picture was taken near low tide when the water was not hitting the cuts.  The cuts were made earlier during the previous high tide.

The small arc (C) in the picture shows how the water of one wave would come up onto the beach and go back down again.  It comes up onto the beach at about a 45 degree angle, moves south and then back into the ocean.

The larger arc (B) would be when the tide was higher or the waves were higher.  The water would come up, cut along the face of the cut and remove sand and possibly other objects back down the slope and into the water.

Typically, one wave will hit the face of the cut, and if it hits with force on the face of the cut, it will knock a slab of sand lose, which will get undercut and/or washed away by the next waves.

One very important thing about a northeaster is that the waves maintain much of their speed as they go up onto the beach at an angle and then back down the slope and into the water.

If you stand and watch when the water is hitting the face of the cut, you will see the water taking sand from the face of the cut and washing it down the slope and back towards the water.

Also if there is a lot of water coming up the slope, if you are digging a target and don't get it safely in your scoop, it will be moved with the water.  So if you know the path of the water you'll usually be able to find the lost target again, usually to the south and down the slope a yard of so, depending upon the density and shape of the target.  A piece of foil will wash away quickly and perhaps not be found again.

When the tide is up and the waves are up and hitting the beach at an angle like this, there is a continual flow of waves from North to South along the beach front in front of the cut.  This North to South almost river-like movement of fast water along the beach front is what makes a Nor'easter different.

Some time soon I'll show how things work very differently when the waves are not hitting at much of an angle.

Remember, it takes more than big waves and high tides to create erosion on a natural beach.


It seems that history is never as simple as its made out.  There is always a perspective or bias of some sort.  I don't think that can be entirely avoided.

I once picked up a history book in a thrift store that had been used in a school in the West Indies.  The title is West Indian History.  It starts with Columbus and goes through the early days of colonialization, slavery, the Sea Dogs, buccaneers, etc. etc.  Pretty good reading, but it treats the British kindly, which is not really surprising considering the author and publisher.

One student had written 1955 in the book, which was first printed in 1936, so I guess it was still in use in the fifties.  

Anyhow, yesterday I mentioned that there was slavery and brutality in the New World long before the white men arrived.  As this school book points out, there was also slavery in Africa before Europeans got involved.  And the Spanish colonizers had large numbers of slave imported to the New World before other European groups got involved, other than the Portuguese who often purchased slaves from African tribes who enslaved members of other African tribes, and then exported them to the New World.

It would be easy to get the idea from what you hear today that white plantation owners in the South were responsible for slavery in the New World, but slavery was in both the New World and Africa before the white man became involved, and the Spanish colonial system in the New World made use of both native and imported slaves long before the British had significant settlements in the New World and long before the US was born.

You'll find a good description of some of that in the articles linked to the bibliography that I gave you a few days ago.


Do you know what happened at the site of Riverbend Park just south of Indiantown Road?

On January 24th 1838 Major General Thomas S. Jesup, accompanied by fifteen hundred troops, met three hundred Seminoles on the banks of the Loxahatchee River in the last standing battle of the Second Seminole War. During the battle General Jesup lead a charge to the river and was wounded. The Tennessee Volunteers, lead by Major William Lauderdale, took most of the casualties. The Battle ended when Col. William Harney and his Dragoons crossed the river and outflanked the Seminoles. Outnumbered, the Seminoles fled into the swamps. Seven soldiers were killed and thirty one wounded, including the General.

After the Battle of the Loxahatchee, General Jesup petitioned Washington to allow the Seminoles to remain in the Everglades and end the war. Washington denied Jesup’s request, whereby six hundred Seminoles were captured under a white flag of truce at Fort Jupiter.

Here is the Parks and Recreation web site link telling about that.


That was the site of one very historic battle during the Seminole war.  And despite the pictures we often see, the Seminole forces were not all Native Americans.  A good number were black.

On the Treasure Coast today the high tide will be unusally high and the low tide very low.  The surf will be about two feet.   That means it will be easy to hunt down the slope near the water line at low tide.

Happy hunting,