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Monday, June 30, 2014

Big gold ring return

Every once in a while when beach or shallow water hunting, you get to make a complete stranger very happy by reuniting them with a piece of lost jewelry. 
My recent blogs have been about small gold, but as you can see by taking a look on the "Finds pages" of my websites, I find plenty of big gold.
I found this 1.2 ounce 18K gold ring with a nice center diamond earlier in the year, I tracked down the poor guy who lost the ring and made his vacation in south Florida have a happier ending. 

I received a handsome reward for returning the gold ring,  more money than I would have received if I had chosen to scrap the ring. 
The person I returned the ring too, wishes to remain anonymous and I will respect his wishes. 
As you would expect, this big gold ring made a loud clanking in my scoop when I first recovered it.
It is always great to see a large chunk of gold in your scoop basket, and as I have written in my recent blogs, big gold is easy to find when you have no problem finding small gold. 
My return count for 2014 stands at two gold college rings, three wedding bands, two iphones and a heck of a nice solitaire diamond ladies ring. 
I look at these "Returns" as payback for the all the really nice pieces of jewelry I find that are not possible to return. 
Florida is a top tourist destination, people come from all over the world and leave some amazing pieces of jewelry on the beach and in the water.
I did not have many good experiences in the past when returning stuff to people, but some of my recent experiences of returning lost jewelry to grateful people have more than made up for past returns. 
It can be very rewarding being a beach and water gold prospector, but sometimes it is just as rewarding putting a smile on a strangers face. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

First impressions of the new Minelab SDC 2300

I have just returned home from spending two days at the Minelab SDC 2300 pre launch party at Kellyco metal detectors in Winter Park central Florida. 
It was a good opportunity to handle and test the new Minelab metal detector on a variety of small gold jewelry targets in the sandy test bed at Kellyco. 
My first impressions of the SDC 2300 are how compact the metal detector is and how sensitive it is to small gold targets. 
For someone like me who travels with a metal detector on vacation, the waterproof SDC 2300 is going to be easy to put in my carry on luggage or back pack, we sometimes spend our family vacations on Caribbean cruises and I beach and water hunt in different ports of call.
I was helping at the SDC 2300 launch party with the competition hunts, I figured I needed at least a day before hand to get to grips with the new metal detector.
I figured wrong!  it took me 10 minutes to become comfortable with the SDC 2300, the new pulse induction metal detector is so simple to operate, a real turn on and go gold machine.  
There is nothing complicated about the SDC 2300, unfold it, turn it on, set the sensitivity control to a preset level, noise cancel, set the threshold, ground balance and away you go.
My fellow training partner Alan the president of the local metal detecting club and I, conducted several simple tests to see if the SDC 2300 was going to be a good choice for gold jewelry hunting on the beach. 
Alan placed a thin gold chain ( no pendant) stretched out in a straight line on the sand, the SDC 2300 rang out loud and clear on the gold chain, good sign number one!! 
I placed a tiny gold ear ring back and gold post ear ring on the sand, again the SDC 2300 easily detected the small pieces of gold jewelry. 
We also detected a quarter coin on top of the sand with the eight inch mono coil 18 inches above the quarter, a very impressive air test. 
After an hour spent folding, unfolding and using the new metal detector we both had enough training on the SDC 2300 to confidently assist people testing and taking part in the competition hunts the following day. 
During one of the competition hunts yesterday, a guy approached us with some tiny gold flakes in a small glass bottle. 
The test was to see if the SDC 2300 could detect the tiny gold flakes in the bottle, in front of several witness's the SDC 2300 detected the very small gold flakes. 
From my limited time using the new SDC 2300, I can see this waterproof metal detector being an asset to gold jewelry hunters on the beach. 
I ordered an SDC 2300 and look forward to having another treasure hunting tool to help me recover those difficult targets to detect on the beach, diamond stud ear rings and gold chains. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More on small targets on the beach.

These small metal detecting finds demonstrate the patience needed to locate and recover small targets on the beach.  

I remember being happy, and maybe a little frustrated to see these small targets coming off a beach with a little history. 
It is a beach used during the times of the Florida Seminole indian wars back in the early 1830s. 
I was excited to recover these small tacks and rivets, that probably had something to do with uniforms or boots.
All the finds in the photo were recovered using my Minelab CTX 3030 with the 6-inch search coil. 
I am quite sure other people had metal detected the eroded stretch of beach before, and only my small search coil and slow style of beach hunting allowed me to recover such small finds. 
I had recovered an 1836 gold coin in the area a few weeks earlier, which was the main reason I was trying my luck again at the same beach. 
If you do not think you would have been able to recover these small targets, it is time to experiment with test targets at the beach. 
When metal detecting times are slow, try testing a few tiny targets at the beach and put the tiny test targets in small plastic baggies so you do not lose them. 
Try different sensitivity or discrimination settings and see if you can still detect the test targets. 
It is surprising how many beach or water hunters never bother to test targets, you have to see what your metal detector is capable of finding on the beach.
If your metal detector is not able to detect the targets you are searching for, maybe it is time to try a different size search coil or even a new metal detector.
I like trying new metal detectors and search coils, just in case there is something new that is better than the equipment I use. 
Being a Spanish treasure hunter and modern jewelry hunter, I like to make sure I am using metal detectors and search coils that are hot on small gold and silver. 
Recovering small targets on the beach and in the water, gives me the peace of mind to know larger targets are easier to find.
Dont sweat the big stuff, concentrate on the small stuff and the big stuff will find its way into your scoop basket.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to find small gold on tourist beaches

When you can find small gold on the beach or in the water with your metal detector, you will never have a problem finding large gold on the beach or in the water. 
Small pieces of gold jewelry add up fast, if you can detect them?

In my opinion, far too many beach and shallow water hunters look for big gold targets and miss easier to find small gold targets. 
Being consumed with metal detector depth is one of the ways you can easily miss small gold targets. 
Beach and water hunters obsessed with metal detector depth, often use extra large search coils and believe the reason they do not find gold is because gold has to be buried deeper. 
In reality, on tourist beaches they have a better chance of increasing the amount of gold they find by using a smaller search coil, I now consider my 10 and 11-inch search coils as large search coils. 
I love small search coils, and through experience I discovered the connection between small search coils and increased numbers of thin or small gold jewelry targets recovered. 
Iron or target masking is the number one reason many beach or shallow water hunters on my heavily hunted local beaches leave behind the gold jewelry I manage to recover. 
I search at a much slower pace than many other beach hunters, I sweep slower and try to cover the ground in front of me, NOT the whole beach. 
Almost all the really nice pieces of gold and platinum jewelry I have recovered, were found within the first few inches of the sand on tourist beaches.
Going small (search coil size) and finding big, really does work when you set your metal detector controls to pick up small gold.
Decreasing your metal detector Sensitivity, or Gain control may also be a better option on some beaches, the "Low beams in the fog" working better analogy. 
Searching a beach entrance from a different direction may also put a piece of gold jewelry in your pouch. 
Gold that was masked when your search coil passed over the gold target from another direction. 
Which leads perfectly into "Recovery speed", your metal detectors ability to recover after passing over a rejected target. 
This is very important when using any discrimination or iron masking feature, a slow sweep speed will insure your metal detector threshold returns faster. 
I wonder how many beach or water hunters know you are not even metal detecting until their threshold returns? 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Non conventional target signals.

Many beach and shallow water hunters do not realize they are missing clear signals and walking over potentially valuable targets. 
I am talking about signals within your metal detector threshold (background noise), this is especially important when targets are very few and far between. 
A slight raise or lowering of the threshold could be a deep target out of normal discrimination range, so too could a short break or null in the threshold. 
Time spent using your metal detector will help you to tell the difference between a threshold nulling over a ferrous object, and a threshold that has been interrupted or changed by a deep non ferrous target.
On beaches known for old shipwreck artifacts, or out searching in deeper water away from shore on tourist beaches, I rely on my threshold more than anything else.
I have found many large pieces of platinum and gold jewelry which were detected and successfully recovered after I stopped to investigate a slight raise or lowering in my metal detector threshold.  
I am quite sure many beach and shallow water hunters only stop to dig two way repeatable signals, even in areas where targets are scarce. 
It goes without saying, if you are running with a silent threshold, you are not going to hear any deep targets on the edge of your metal detectors normal metal detection range. 
If you search using an all metal mode, the easiest signals to identify are double blips from hairpins or thin sparkler wire type ferrous targets, and solid two way repeatable signals from jewelry, coins, etc.
The hardest signals to identify often turn out to be the best finds, they tend to be deep targets found by listening to slight changes in the threshold.    
This iron canister shot was found using this same technique at an inland site, only a slight  lowering of my metal detector threshold alerted me to the very deep target. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

No way finds.

If you are not stuck "Box hunting" and doing the same things all the time, you get to say "No way!" more than the competition.
I am a big fan of searching different areas of the beach and water, and using different search techniques.
This 18K gold rope chain with diamond cross pendant was found in about a foot of water close to shore. 

I could have easily passed the site by, but there was just something about this wide shallow area between the deeper water and lower beach telling me to try my luck. 
The area is close to where I recovered several pieces of jewelry this past weekend.
I believe many beach and water hunters overlook this kind of shallow area in there eagerness to search waist to chest deep water, or walk along the wet sand from point A to point B. 
Jewelry and coins are lost, or get moved to many different areas on the beach or water. 
Contrary to what most beach or water hunters think, jewelry is not lost in the same depth of water or mysteriously waiting for them in that straight line in the wet sand. 
Just because the water is only a foot deep, it does not mean there are no pieces of lost jewelry waiting to be scooped up. 
No freaking way!  was my initial reaction to this gold chain draped over my scoop, especially on such a heavily hunted south Florida beach. 
It was not even a "Fresh drop" , as I recovered several green encrusted quarters in the same area, a few days of rough surf had rearranged the lower beach and at first glance the beach and shallow water looked sanded in. 
Walking further and further away from the main beach entrance, the sand close to shore turned from mush to firm and obviously this area was past many local water hunters turn around points. 
I made a point of walking to this area last weekend, I suspect there was an old beach access point or parking lot close to where the gold chain came from. 
If you want to recover more "No way!" finds, you have to think outside and look outside the box.
One of my favorite things to do is day dream between the quiet times when beach or water hunting, and that helps to keep me motivated. 
Will my next signal be an expensive piece of jewelry? A nice find someone lost away from the where other beach and water hunters assume they used the beach. 
I try to put myself in places that I know many other beach or water hunters have ignored, because I know my search coil is probably the first one covering that patch of sand. 
No way someone lost that there, they probably did but you will never know unless you look there. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lower your search coil

I saw five other beach hunters already metal detecting on Sunday morning at a local beach, and I still managed to find some large easy to find shallow targets.
It was quite obvious the beach had been "detected" before I arrived, but luckily for me the other beach hunters were not in the habit of keeping their search coils close to the sand.
I am not bragging or making fun of the beach hunters in this blog entry, just pointing out the obvious to readers of the blog that the closer you have your search coil to the sand, the more jewelry you will find.
Every inch you sweep your search coil over the sand is an inch less depth in the sand, maybe the difference between going home with gold or going home empty handed.
When using a 10-inch search coil and sweeping your search coil six inches above the sand, you are probably only detecting down to a depth of four inches.  Most of my best jewelry finds on tourist beaches have come from a depth of about six inches, two inches below the range of a person sweeping their search coil six inches above the ground.
Many of my best Spanish treasure finds have come from deeper layers of sand, if I did not scuff my search coil across the sand, they would never have been recovered. 
Finds like these Spanish military buckles from the 1780s, recovered using no discrimination on the same Treasure Coast beach. 

Get into the habit of lightly scuffing your search coil across the surface of the sand, giving you a chance to detect both shallow and deep targets. 
If you ever follow me onto a beach, I will not be hard to track down because you can see where I have searched. I leave clearly visible search coil sweep lines on the surface of the sand, lines made by the bottom of my search coil.