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Monday, January 21, 2019

Shifting sands

While showing a friend a nice diamond ring recently I was reminded how coin and jewelry hunting at the beach is a game of inches. 
Several years ago I was searching a local tourist beach when a distraught young lady asked me if I could find a really nice diamond ring she had the misfortune to lose in the same area the previous day. 
The lady was laying in the wet sand when an incoming wave washed the ring off her finger, after quickly stepping on the ring to stop it from being dragged down into the water another wave washed over the area and the ring was lost. 
After taking the time of day and the previous tide times into consideration I performed a methodical search of the slope on the lower beach, but to my surprise I could not detect the $5000.00 diamond engagement ring. 
The lady thanked me for trying to recover the ring on the lower beach, an approximately one hour tight pattern search of the wet sand and the shallow water opposite the area.
I was told no worries as the ring was bought the previous day on a credit card and her fiancé had already filed an insurance claim before returning to Europe later that day.
I was given a detailed description of the ring and I was gutted they had to fly back to Europe without their engagement ring, but at least they were going to get their money back.
The only explanations I could think of for not being able to recover the ring was perhaps another beach hunter had detected the ring or really high surf from the previous high tide has washed the ring into deeper water.
Three weeks later after getting a sweet signal I pulled the diamond engagement ring out of the sand in the exact spot where I had first tried to detect the bobby dazzler.
I now believe the lady pushed the ring deeper into the wet sand when the ring was stepped  on to prevent the next wave from washing it away, more sand was probably pushed over the area with the rough surf from the following high tide.
Add foot traffic from the many tourists walking along the wet sand at this popular beach and it is easy to understand how quickly a lost ring can disappear.
You may have to wait several tide cycles like I did for lost jewelry to come into detection range.
I have had similar experiences at shipwreck beaches searching for Spanish treasure coins and artifacts, nothing one day but the next day in the very same area I recover treasure.
All it takes is one or two inches of sand to be washed away from an area for the beach bank to be open for business.
Get in the habit of using permanent objects at the beach as sand level markers, especially objects on the lower beach such as pilings or large rocks.
You can gauge how much sand is on the lower beach and how much has to be taken away to improve your chances of recovering coins, jewelry or artifacts lost in the area.
The first thing I look for when checking out a beach I haven't searched in a while is my sand level markers because they tell me how far away my search coil is from deeper and firmer layers of sand more likely to trap valuable targets in place.
Sand higher up on beach markers normally only contain lost items washed into the area, more sand than good materials.
If you are a beach hunter, when its your time to find something good it is almost always when you are sweeping your search coil over less sand. 

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