Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.
Finding old shipwreck treasure coins on the beach is a different type of hunting. The vast majority of coins are found on a very few special days. Those days are rare. They don't occur every year. They might only occur once every several years. They are special times like during the Thanksgiving storm of 1984 or after hurricanes Francis and Jeanne. Numerous finds are made during especially productive times like that. During those special times people can find more treasure coins in a few days than they might otherwise find during a entire year or more.
I don't remember the last time I issued a 5 rating on my Treasure Coast beach conditions rating scale, but I know it has been quite a while. A 5 rating indicates excellent conditions like those I just described. The dunes are eroded, the beach is heavily eroded and the sand in front of the beach has been moved.
The past couple of years have been very slow for finding old shipwreck treasure coins on the beach, and that is the only thing I'm talking about right now. We had Matthew, and that opened up a few places and resulted in some good treasure coin finds, but not massive amounts. Most finds occurred on just a few beaches, and not nearly in the numbers that were found after Francis and Jeanne. You had to be at the right place at the right time.
I changed my beach conditions rating system not too long ago. The change, in addition to better describing transitional conditions, also better reflects the rarity and huge impact of the very best conditions (5 ratings).
I changed my "2" rating so that it now indicates transitional conditions. That rating indicates that sand has moved and conditions are improving, but finds are not certain. More improvement over level 2 conditions will normally be necessary to predict that treasure coins will definitely be found.
The illustration at the top of this post attempts to show the general shape of the finds curve. As conditions improve so do finds. That is simple enough, but what I really wanted to show is the steep increase in number of finds during the very best conditions. It is a dramatic increase, and the vast majority of finds are made during a very few days while conditions are best.
My illustration is not precise in any manner, but I do think it illustrates one the one thing that I am most trying to illustrate.
Level one conditions are in effect most of the time. Level five conditions are rare. They don't even occur every year, yet they still account for a large percent of the finds because of the large number found when they do occur.
The change of my two rating moves the entire scale weighting to the right and I think that was a good move. My level 3 rating is now like more like my original level 2 rating.
1 and 5 ratings indicate times when detecting skill, while always helpful, is not as important as at other times. During poor conditions, it doesn't matter if you are very skillful or not skillful at all, you are not going to find treasure coins on the beach. There are always exceptions, of course, but those exceptions are extremely rare.
During level five conditions, skill is helpful, but you can find a lot without much skill. During level five conditions people have actually put down their detector and ran around picking up coins laying on the surface like it was an Easter egg hunt. The main thing is to be at one of those massively productive spots at the right time.
One of the difficulties during level five conditions is that beaches and bridges might be closed. The other problem is all of the damage and all of the people that need help, which might be a higher priority. It can be a time when more important things need to be done. You most likely will find a lot if you are out a lot during times like that.
Skill is more important during the intermediate condition ratings. The productive spots are more scattered. Being able to read the beaches can help you find those scattered finds. It is easy to miss a lonely half reale on a big beach.
Skill is also very important when it comes to artifacts. Some people will never find an iron shipwreck spike simply because they discriminate out iron. Maybe that is what they want to do, but I'm sure a lot excellent artifacts are unintentionally missed.
Another type of skill is adjusting when beach conditions are poor. There are other types of hunting and other places to hunt if you do your research and are adaptable. Those other types of hunting normally require a good amount of skill.
There has been a nice stiff breeze all morning. The surf is supposed to be higher today. The wind direction isn't the most favorable. I haven't been able to check the beaches myself yet.