Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1/21/15 Report - Wreck of The Griffin. Low Profile Metal Detecting. Image and Shovels and Holes.

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Since the weather has improved in the keys, the Magruder and Dare are returning to the wreck site of the Margarita.


In the past I posted some articles about the wreck of the Griffin, which sunk in the 17th Century.

I found an exceptionally good article about that wreck.

The image to the left is a woodcut image from that article.

Below is the link.

About thirty years ago I was doing contract work at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.  I did a lot of work there and when I traveled to the area I took my metal detector and used it for leisure after work rather than sitting in a hotel.

I did a lot of work with some of the people there and they knew about my hobby.  One day one of the civilian employees at the Air Rework Facility told me about a site where an old hotel from the thirties and forties had burned down and been removed.  They asked if I wanted to detect the site, which was close to their home.  He told me where the site was and I agreed to go out to the site and meet him there.  When I arrived I looked around at what looked like a WW II battlefield.   Huge holes and piles of dirt were everywhere.  It was obvious that someone had already detected there.  The only other option was that someone dug about a hundred fox holes.

The fellow later told me what I had guessed- that he had detected the site but didn't find anything of value.  He wanted to see how I would detect the site.

I quickly found some old coins and tax tokens, a sterling silver plate, a vintage gold plated lapel pin, etc., etc.  You couldn't tell that I had been there.  I didn't use a shovel.  I didn't even use a scoop.  As I often do, I used a screwdriver, which when properly used can pop a coin out of the ground without damaging the coin or leaving an obvious scar on the ground.

A few days ago I talked about being a minimalist.  I don't take more equipment than I need and I don't take bigger equipment than I need.  I don't like fooling with a lot of extra equipment, but more importantly, I like to maintain a low profile.

Military Metal Detecting.

Take a look at this picture.  What would you think if those two fine fellows showed up on your front yard?  You might be concerned.  You might think of possible dangers.

The fact is that people draw conclusions from what they see.  If you show up at a front door with a bunch of drunk buddies carrying Rambo knives, picks, axes and shovels, you might not get permission to hunt a manicured lawn.

Last year the St. Lucie County Parks declared that they had nothing against metal detecting but that digging, plugging or probing was not permitted.

Many parks, as well as many private land owners, do not want people digging holes.  Carrying a shovel suggests (not unreasonably) that you are going to dig.  It is as simple as that.

One reason I do not like to carry a lot of extra equipment, especially equipment that might be obvious or might concern someone, is that it attracts the wrong kind of attention.

There are times when you might need a shovel.  There might be times when you need an excavator, but they are few and far between.  And if you use a shovel on park lands, county, state or federal, don't be surprised if you find trouble.

Image is important, probably too important, but that is the way it is.

I'm not one to judge a person by appearances.  Real scoundrels are usually smart enough to present a good appearance.  Some of the biggest bums dress in fine suits, however, right or wrong, people will draw conclusions based upon what they see.  If they see a big Rambo knife, they'll react.  If they see a big shovel, they might think you are going to dig big holes.

I'm not saying that you should not use a shovel.  I'm only saying that it will often draw the wrong kind of attention, as will a number of other things.  I'm not just talking about shovels here. 

My general advice is to use the most unobtrusive methods and tools that will do the job.  Do not be like the optometrist who fell into the lens grinder and made a spectacle of himself.

The fact is that the vast majority of good targets can be retrieved without making big holes and with very little equipment.  You can always make plans to return better equipped at a better time.


The surf on the Treasure Coast is around two or three feet.  That will stay the same or even decrease in the next few days.

We do have a negative tide.  That is one good thing.

Happy hunting,