Friday, July 10, 2015

7/10/15 Report - Water Hunting Compared to Beach Hunting. Mint Versus Well Worn Finds.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Intricate Gold Ear Ring Find.

I hear from all kinds of people.  I hear from a variety of top level experts, and I hear from people that are just thinking about giving metal detecting a try.  That makes it difficult to write for all of those kinds of people.  I mostly write about whatever is on my mind, and that can be far ranging, but sometimes I want to take time to develop a topic before writing.

Today I was thinking about the differences between water hunting and hunting the beach or dry land.  The differences are considerable.  I started detecting when I lived in South Florida.  The transition from hunting dry land to hunting shallow water was easy.  Then I spent a lot of time in the water - more than on land.

10K Mark.
That wasn't easy to see without magnification.

On the Treasure Coast a lot of the shallow water is off limits to metal detecting because of the salvage and exploration leases.  And the swimming beaches are not as busy as down south.  Down south you also have more big shallow water swimming areas where the water is pretty calm much of the year.  You also have all the big resorts and hotels.  Furthermore, the culture is very different, which is no small thing.

But comparing water hunting to dry land, water hunting is more difficult.  Of course you need water proof equipment, which is more expensive.  You have to deal with swells and waves.  Sometimes the water is so rough that it is simply impossible to hunt in shallow water - not only for safety but also to protect your equipment.

Digging a target can be difficult in shallow water, especially in rough water and when there are currents.  The holes can refill as quickly than you can dig them, and the currents can wash sand and items out of your scoop as you lift the scoop.  Visibility can be zero.

There are those annoying waves that slap you at the most annoying times almost like they know when that is.  Just staying put over the hole can be a challenge.

I enjoy rough water hunting, but it takes more skill and better rigged equipment.  With a little experience you can learn to comfortably hunt in very rough water.  In the past I've talked about some of my favorite techniques for doing that.

One thing that is very different is running a search pattern in rough water.  You can not control your coil as easily.  It can be difficult to execute a tight grid pattern with waves pushing you and your coil one way and then the other.  You can, however, learn to use the currents move your coil for you.

In the water your sweep speed will be slower.  On land you can whip a detector as fast as you want to.  In the water, you have the water resistance.  Compared to hunting on land it can feel like you are doing resistance training as you push a detector through water.

I've talked about finding the optimal sweep speed for your detector.  Your sweep speed will naturally be slower in water.  You might want to switch from a motion mode to a non-motion or pinpoint mode id your sweep speed is slowed too much.  You have to know how sweep speed affects your detector in order to know when it might be a good idea to make the switch.  

Those are some of the differences.  There are many more, but those are the ones I was thinking about today.


Another topic.

The most valuable coins are usually those in the best condition.  And those in the best condition are those that have never been used.  They are in "mint" condition.

For me no coin is prettier than an old coin that has been well handled, smoothed by fingers over the years as it passed from one person to another and with a touch of patina in the depressions.

Coins in mint condition just don't have it.  All you see is metal on metal - sharp angles, and the same monotonous overall shiny surface.

I've noticed that my personal preferences and standards are less and less defined by others and less defined by estimates of value.  I like what I like, and sometimes what I like isn't worth much to the rest of the world.  

I would be surprised to find a mint or near mint condition coin.  The rarity of that would make it a little exciting, and the value might add some excitement, but it would not have the touch that I really like.  It wouldn't show the wear of daily use by men, women or children in their daily lives.

Beach finds don't show a lot of that most of the time.  The sand blasting and salt corrosion does away with a lot of that, but on rare occasions you can find something, maybe a religious medallion or gold crucifix, that shows how soft flesh with time and devotion wore down hard metal.  That is the type of thing I really like to see.  It is almost like shaking hands with those from another time.  Their touch was recorded.  And so is yours.


On the Treasure Coast we have another day with a one to two foot surf.  If you have a place where you can work the shallow water, you might find slightly deeper water a little easier than working inside the breaking waves where you have a lot of bottom current.

The challenge of deeper water will be staying in place when the swells roll by.  That isn't all that difficult though, especially with the small swells and waves we've been having recently.  Learn to ride the swells rather than fighting them.  I've talked about how to do that in the past.

Happy hunting,