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Monday, December 29, 2014

Tractors on the lower beach

My first diamond ring of 2014 came out of the water last February, with a little help from the local beach tractor driver. 
Tourist beaches with tractors that rake the beach can be a pain, especially when you are getting plenty of signals on the lower beach before dawn. 
A week before I found this 18K white gold ring with a 3/4 carat diamond, I watched a tractor demolish a nice cut and push the sand from the cut down towards the water. 

I could not return until the next weekend to this beach,  walking onto the beach I saw no visible signs to what had taken place the previous weekend. 
The lower beach was sanded in, but just inside the water I quickly became busy scooping lots of coins and a few pieces of silver jewelry. 
I am pretty sure everything I was recovering in the water had been pushed in off the beach at that location. 
I liken the lower beach to a sandy conveyor belt, coins and jewelry move onto and off the beach by way of the tides, or in this case with a little help from the beach tractor driver. 
If you see a tractor or bulldozer moving sand around on the lower beach, always check out the area on the beach. 
Dont forget to also check out the water opposite, just in case anything of value has been pulled off the sandy conveyor belt and is waiting for you to detect and scoop up. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Metal detecting over rocky areas

I ran across a few rocky areas on the interior of Oak Island Nova Scotia, but I still used a large search coil instead of a small search coil.  
Normally a small search coil would be a better choice for metal detecting in and around rocky areas. 
The large 17 inch search coil on my CTX 3030 performed really well, on both large and small size targets. 
Sweeping my 17 inch search coil just above the top of the rocks, I recovered two Indian head pennies in a craggy inland area.
I figured just above the rocks, my 17 inch search coil was 7 or 8 inches above the surface of the ground and I would still detect targets a good 9 or 10 inches below the surface. 
These two Indian head cents are dated 1905 and 1908, they both came out of the same hole between two rocks. 

When you are metal detecting over rocks, it is wise to consider the depth advantage of a really big search coil.
A 6 inch search coil on my CTX 3030 would have been easier to move around the craggy rocks, but I actually got better target depth sweeping the large 17 inch search coil over the tops of the rocks. 
I also covered the craggy ground a little faster, not having to go around every nook and cranny in the rocks. 
The size of the rocks in a rocky area will dictate what size search coil is best to use.
A couple of years ago I reverted back to using a hand held pin pointer to help me recover targets in rocky areas. 
I know from my beach hunting experience that the harder it is to recover a target in a rocky area, the less hunted that area will be. 
Large search coils, pin pointers and screened metal detectors, can all help you to have success in difficult to detect rocky areas. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Searching old landing areas

Many islands have old landing areas, places where people would have landed by boat and walked onshore.
I found several old landing areas on Oak Island Nova Scotia this summer, the area in this photo was known as the wharf. 

It was the site of an old wharf in the late 1700s and an obvious place for a beach treasure hunter to metal detect. 
There was no signs indicating an old wharf,  just clues to the general location in references to the history of Oak Island. 
The dated 1770 English copper coin and musket ball were recovered from the rocky shoreline at low tide. 
No doubt, typical pocket spills from people landing ashore around this area in the late 1700s.
I used a two pronged approach to searching the area at low tide, one that I would typically use on the Treasure Coast of Florida searching for old treasure coins and artifacts. 
I used my 11 inch search coil first to help me locate shallow targets, then switched to the large 17 inch search coil to help recover any deeper targets. 
There was quite a bit of iron on this rocky beach,  and I had more success using the smaller search coil than the larger search coil. 
Over several low tides I searched the lower rocky beach from different angles and recovered a pocket full of musket balls, several US and English navy buttons and an early 1600s coin. 
It made a change not having to worry about sand washing in and covering the area, like it would on beaches back in Florida. 
If you live near a river or an island, with a little detective work you may discover sites used as landing areas. 
I lived near a tidal river in England, the river banks opposite old landing areas were my favorite bottle hunting sites. 
Coins and artifacts lost centuries earlier, are often still trapped within reach on rocky shorelines close to landing areas. 
You may have to wait a while on sandy beaches, but at least you can be prepared for when the sandy beach is eroded. 
In a way I was well prepared for searching this landing area on Oak Island, beach and water hunting for modern jewelry is all about searching sites where people get in and out of the water. 


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is it all in the water?

In my opinion, it is not all in the water but if you know what you are doing you can recover a heck of a lot of jewelry and coins in the water.
I do a lot of water hunting, but I always try to keep my metal detecting time balanced to around 50% beach hunting and 50% water hunting.
That way I get the best of both worlds by not completely ignoring half the beach.
I know many "Experts" on the detecting forums say its all in the water and to only water hunt, but that is very bad advice for beginners.
You should always learn how to use your metal detector on the beach, before venturing into the water.
Imagine how long it would take you to learn how to set your metal detector controls, sweep speed and search coil control in the water.
Unfortunately that is how many people get into water hunting, not taking the detecting skills you can only learn on the beach into the water.
My latest book "Water Hunting" shows the connection between beach and water hunting and how great beach hunters make top notch water hunters.

I took a client out this morning for an Excalibur training session, it was pleasantly surprising to know that he wanted to learn how to use his Excalibur on the lower beach before starting water hunting.
Target recover skill's are an over looked part of water hunting, if you are proficient recovering targets in the wet sand with waves rushing over your search coil, you should have no problem recovering targets inside the water.
I always know when I am following a novice water hunter, by the big wide holes left behind by someone who has not learned to pinpoint targets, I have found plenty of jewelry in and around clumsily dug holes inside the water.
Metal detector control settings are the most important reason to learn how to metal detect on the lower beach before water hunting.
Water hunting is easier when you know how your metal detector handles itself on the lower beach next to the waters edge.
You can make control adjustments and know why you are using those settings, instead of using a bunch of safe settings passed around and used by everyone on an internet forum.
Metal detector control settings for water hunting, usually mirror lower beach settings, but tweaked to suit the surf conditions.
In my opinion, both the beach and water are equally good places to find jewelry and coins.
You just have to use your knowledge of local beaches and site reading skill's to determine where your best chance of finding jewelry or coins is going to be.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In the wrong place at the right time

I like to mix things up when I go beach or shallow water hunting, trying not to be too predictable.
When I post a piece of modern jewelry or an old coin, there is usually a different reason why I was able to recover the object.
Last weeks gold jewelry was recovered because I checked out a beach I had not been to in a while, the old shipwreck finds were recovered the same way.
I prefer to go with the flow, instead of doing the same things all the time and expecting different results like many other beach and water hunters.
The $3200.00 designer Mimi So platinum band in this photo is a good example of going with the flow and seeing what happens.

I recovered this heavy platinum band, a short time after trying to help a tourist from California find her diamond earring.
The lady had me walk several hundred yards to a less used part of the beach to an area she lost the earring.
Unfortunately I could not recover the ear ring because a few tides had passed since she lost it, but the area was interesting and I decided to stay in the water and just see what happened.
The easier and more predictable thing to do would be to return to the busier part of the beach, if I did that the platinum ring would still be waiting to be found.
The Tiffany platinum 1.4 carat diamond ring, was another similar story but one that involved using a different metal detector.
It's no secret that I like to use Minelab metal detectors with discrimination to find jewelry at trashy tourist beaches, but this trophy find was recovered using a Minelab SDC 2300 pulse induction metal detector at a trashy tourist beach.
Using a pulse at a trashy tourist beach would normally not be the best jewelry hunting policy, but after arriving at my intended search site something unexpected happened, the parking lot in the area I had planned to search was closed down for a construction project.
As you can see by the photo, a $10.000.00 Tiffany diamond ring with my name on it was waiting in the water at the next beach down the road.
The nearest alternative site was a beach I normally would not have searched, because I have found so much jewelry at the original beach I had intended to search.
One of the things I really like about metal detecting is the unpredictability of the hobby, the fact that you can find anything almost anywhere. 
What better motivation to try searching new areas, or use a different beach or water hunting technique. 
Sometimes it is good for a beach or shallow water hunter to be in the wrong place at the right time. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

High surf advisory beach hunting

As expected, I received a lot of messages earlier in the week after high surf had pounded the Florida coast line.
The majority of messages were from people asking me where to hunt, during and after the expected beach erosion had taken place earlier in the week.
My advice for the people lucky enough to have time to go treasure hunting, was to look around and pick a spot.
Even though the high surf was pounding the east coast,  the lure of old treasure coins and modern gold "Tourist droppings"was not enough to make me pull a "Ferris Bueller" and go treasure hunting.
I knew from the wind and surf direction that beach erosion would be sporadic and my advise not to go metal detecting would be ignored.
Knowledge of the beaches being effected and the surf and wind direction, told me to wait a few days and scout around for sporadic cuts on the upper beach or attractive areas on the lower beach.
Sometimes, knowing when not to go metal detecting is more important than the old saying of you never know unless you go.
The beauty of knowing your beaches , mean you always probably know before you go.
The seven pieces of gold jewelry I have recovered on my last three beach and water hunts have come from areas effected by unusually high surf.
On my last three hunts, I have metal detected three hours, one hour and two hours.
Three short hunts at sites I knew would probably look good before I arrived to search them.
Beach web cams in the areas close to the sites and prior knowledge of the sites, told me where to concentrate my search.
I walked away from two other sites that were not as good as I expected them to be.
My metal detecting time is fairly limited, relying on knowledge of how high surf effects the beaches I search helps me to increase my chances of finding something good.
During times of high surf or after beach erosion has taken place, is when your knowledge of local beaches pays off. 
The more beaches you visit and search, the more future sites you have when high surf pounds the coastline. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Taking advantage of a full moon low tide

Yesterday afternoon I was actually disappointed that I only returned home with four pieces of gold jewelry, I was expecting to find more.
My beach and water hunting time has been very limited lately, only having 3 hours to water hunt I relied on my knowledge of local beaches and the extra low tides of the full moon.
I waded waaaaaay offshore at low tide, to an area in the water that has a coral ledge.
I have found a lot of gold jewelry in the past at this site when no sand was covering the ledge, I ran across this offshore coral ledge back in 2007 and it has been productive for gold jewelry during sanded in beach conditions. 
Yesterday the coral ledge was covered over by several inches of sand, but it was possible to use a scoop to recover targets.
Standing chest deep on the coral ledge, I recovered targets by "Bobbing and fanning" literally bobbing down in the water and fanning sand off the target area.
All of these coins in the photo were recovered bobbing and fanning, 32 quarters, 32 nickels and 29 dimes, I threw all the corroding pennies in a trash can before leaving the beach.

93 coins for the parking meter and 4 pieces of gold, 1 silver ring and three lead fishing weighs.
This just goes to show just how many targets you can detect if you try different methods of beach hunting, even on quite heavily hunted beaches.
I saw three other people metal detecting closer to shore, doing the usual stuff, walking in straight lines close to shore hoping to get lucky and find a piece of fresh dropped jewelry.
If I was a betting man, I would wager I found more coins and jewelry than all the other three water hunters combined.
By the amount of targets I recovered, I was probably the last person to detect that area a few full moons ago in the summer.
When you learn about the make up of beaches in your area, you will know the best times to hit them to take advantage of certain areas. 
This is just one example of how knowledge of your local beaches can be just as important as knowing how to read the beach and water. 
Local beach knowledge is the reason why a local beach or water hunter, always has an advantage over raiders from out of town.
Full moons, high surf, calm water, all help you to put gold in your pouch when you know where to search and when to search. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hardcore digging

When I take my CTX 3030 and 17 X 13 inch search coil to the beach, I know I am going to be in for some hardcore digging. 
The winter time in Florida is the best time for beach treasure hunting, I spend the majority of my metal detecting time searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts in the winter. 
An all metal search mode and a large search coil are a perfect combination for getting down into deeper layers of sand where many treasure coins and artifacts are found. 
You need the surf and wind to help remove sand from the beach, but when the beaches are eroded you are ready for action when you have an extra large search coil. 
Many beach and water hunters shy away from large search coils, because they are not known for being very sensitive to small targets. 
Two search coils I have been very impressed with are the Coiltek 14 inch "Wot" coil and the 17 X 13 inch smart coil on my CTX 3030. 
Both search coils are capable of finding large targets at depth, and small shallow targets. 
You do not have to sacrifice small targets like silver half reales when searching for large deep targets like silver eight reales. 
A few years ago I found a single link of a 14K figaro gold chain, at quite a good depth using a Wot coil on my Sovereign GT.  
I found small treasure coins and artifacts on Oak Island Nova Scotia at very impressive depths using the 17 X 13 inch coil on my CTX 3030, both inland and on the beach. 
The iron spikes in this photo were found earlier in the year on the lower beach, opposite a Spanish galleon from the early 1600s here in Florida. 

Digging knee deep holes for iron ship spikes is no fun on the lower beach, but you never what other valuable target may be resting close to iron in deeper layers of sand. 
I talk a lot about discrimination and trying to find gold jewelry in amongst the trash on tourist beaches.
In my opinion, discrimination and smaller search coils are the way to go on trashy tourist beaches. 
Searching for old treasure coins and artifacts on shipwreck beaches with little modern trash calls for pure depth, especially when you know the large search you are using is also sensitive to small targets at reasonable depths. 
Nothing beats a good pulse induction metal detector for depth and sensitivity to a wide range of targets. 
The VLF metal detector in all metal with an extra large search coil is a good alternative option for beach or water hunters looking for more than a little extra depth.
No matter what metal detector you use, an extra large search coil is a good investment if you search beaches with a little history. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An example of how small gold jewelry finds, lead to large gold jewelry finds

This summer I went water hunting at one of favorite small beaches, in the hope of finding high end jewelry lost by people using the beach from a private beach club.  
It is quite a hike to the private beach, but it is often worth the extra long walk when you find something good. 
After walking to the destination,  I got straight into the water to cool down and see if I had left enough time between visits to the site. 
Unlike busy public beaches, small private beaches take longer to restock with lost coins and jewelry. 
A small thin 18 gold diamond band was a good sign, a second diamond band followed before things started to quiet down. 

After gridding the water opposite the private beach club with very few signals, I made my way back to the area I recovered the two thin diamond bands. 
Circling and wiggling my search coil between raised sand ripples on the ocean floor, I picked up a faint signal which I assumed was the missing piece of a three diamond band set. 
The heavy platinum band rolling around in the bottom of my scoop was a pleasant surprise,  and a perfect example of why big pieces of gold or platinum are easier to find when you have your metal detector tuned correctly to find small gold. 

This has happened to me too many times for it to be a coincidence, I say again small gold leads to large gold. 
Large gold and platinum bands, are often recovered from deeper layers of sand than small pieces of gold jewelry. 
Although small and large gold may sound the same on your metal detector, if you cannot hear small gold, you will certainly not hear large gold, or platinum in this example. 
I dare say 80% of people reading todays blog have never taken small pieces of gold jewelry to the beach to see if you can actually detect them, take a broken gold band to the beach for a real eye opener. 
Place the small pieces of gold jewelry in plastic baggies, just in case you do have difficulty recovering them. 
Testing your metal detectors response to small gold will tell you how you are going to do with large gold. 
Tweak your metal detector sensitivity control, try difference sweep speeds, see how a different size search coil works, anything that helps you detect small gold. 
Where you find high small gold jewelry, large gold jewelry is often hiding in the same area at a deeper level. 
Do not be surprised to find both small and large gold sounding the same, if you know how to recover the harder to detect small gold.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Think small, find big!

I try to set up and tune my metal detectors towards finding small pieces of gold jewelry. 
If you click on the link to my website, you will see plenty of photographs of ladies rings with precious stones. 
Over the years spent beach and water hunting, I am happy to say my jewelry finds have got smaller and more expensive. 
If you are finding a lot of thin ladies rings, you are probably using sound beach and water hunting techniques and have a metal detector you really like using. 
Thin ladies rings with precious stones are harder to find with a metal detector, than large gold wedding bands and class rings. 
A beach or water hunter who can find small pieces of gold jewelry, will have no problem finding large chunks of gold jewelry. 
Here is a photo of some chunks of jewelry, recovered while searching with a small gold jewelry mentality. 

When I am invited to speak at metal detecting events,  I often wear my Rolex Submariner, 18K gold chain with diamond mariners cross and antique 18K gold jade & diamond ring. 
You cannot beat wearing a few trophy beach and water hunting finds, to get the point across about learning how to read the beach and using good metal detecting techniques. 
Having the skills to recover small pieces of gold jewelry, like thin diamond rings, will lead to big gold jewelry finds. 
Finding small gold is important for a jewelry hunter,  it will help you to recover a large variety of jewelry. 
Not just gold wedding bands, or class rings, which many beach and water hunters have no problem finding, using a wide range of metal detectors.  
Finding a quarter or half ounce of gold is a nice pay day worth hundreds of dollars,  finding a thin ladies ring with a nice diamond can be a pay day worth thousands of dollars. 
Think small gold, find big gold, get the best of both pay days.