Thursday, December 22, 2016

12/22/16 Report - Beach Conditions Today. Treasure Hunting On The Treasure Coast Over the Decades. What Has Changed.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Douglas Beach Thursday Morning Just After Low Tide

Different View of Douglas Beach This Morning.

I took a look at the beach this morning.  As you can see from the photo above, there was very little in the way of cuts.  At some spots there was a little cut less than a foot high.  In front of that was a sloped front beach, which was mushy towards the top and a little firmer at the bottom.  It didn't look very promising.


In yesterday's post I said I might start a new series of posts about treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast over the last few decades.   I'll get that started today.

Some people think that most of the treasure has been found and that is why there are decreasing finds being made. Some would be a little more specific and say that the "easy" finds have been made.  If you think about how many big finds were made both in the water and on the beach in the early days - many without the use of a metal detector - it would be easy to conclude that the easy finds have been made.

You might have read at one time or another how beachcombers used to find flat black items on the beach and skipped them back into the ocean.  That was decades ago.  It is very rare for reales, especially the larger ones, to be found by sight these days.  In fact they aren't found real often even with a metal detector, and when it does happen it is probably one of those special days when conditions are just right.  That doesn't happen very often.

In 1940 the local newspapers reported that gold coins, cannon, cannon balls and other shipwreck items were found on the beach along with the remains of what were believed to be the bones of Spanish shipwrecks.  Those things were reportedly found on both the beach and in the shallow water.

I suppose those reports were accurate.  Of course I can't prove it one way or the other, and I'll entertain the possibility that they could be wrong to one extent or another, but I suspect that they are basically true.

I've also read that the mid-century salvage crews made a lot of big finds without metal detectors, sometimes in very shallow water.  And some of them successfully worked without blowers - again making some impressive finds.  I don't think that happens very often today either.

Comparing the reports of finds made forty, fifty or sixty years ago with those of more recent days, it certainly appears that it was easier to find treasure on the Treasure Coast back in the earlier decades.

If you've been waiting to make some nice beach finds, you probably know that there haven't been a lot lately.  There are some finds from time to time, but not the kind of days when you walk out and quickly fill your pockets with silver or gold.

If it is harder to make big finds these days, the question remains as to why.  Why would so many more finds be made by sight back in the early 1900s?  There are many believe that it is simply a matter of all the past finds reducing the amount of treasure that remains to be found.  That could be.

It could also be that back in the forties and up to just a few decades ago, beach and water conditions were better for treasure hunting.  It could be that there was a period of continued erosion.  I'll check on that as soon as I get a chance.   I think I've seen studies on the amount of erosion that occurred along the Treasure Coast over the years and decades.

The beach and inlets have opened and closed over the centuries as the result of both nature and man.

In 1924, the Sebastian Inlet was opened at its current location and small jetties were completed.

In 1939, Approximately 72,000 cubic yards of sediment are removed from the inlet at a cost of $6,000.

In 1941 the Inlet closed due to a northeaster. For safety reasons, it was left closed during World War II, then permanently blasted open in 1947 and has remained open since.

Here is the source for that information and more on the Sebastian Inlet.

Shallow water visibility also changes along with the opening and closing of inlets.

Areas to the north of the inlets fill with sand while the areas immediately south of the inlets cloud up to some extent when the inlets are open.  Bigger and bigger jetties are required, and that means more sand piling up to the north of the inlets and more and more frequent replenishment projects to the south of the inlets.

Besides natural trends, man has had an effect on beach conditions too.  We all know how often the beaches of the Treasure Coast have been replenished in the last decade.  It seems that every year replenishment sand is being dumped somewhere along the Treasure Coast.  Even when the beaches erode again, the sand moves southward along the beach and covers the shallow water areas.  If it wasn't for the renourishment sand, I think we would have had more finds in the past couple of months.

Well, I haven't answered the question yet, and this post is getting long.  I'll finish this post tomorrow or some other time before long.

To be continued...


Happy hunting,