GeekyBeach Metal Detecting

GeekyBeach Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting & Lost Item Recovery

Author: GeekyBeach

Cruise Ships off the coast of Miami

Because my backyard is a beach and a state park, both of them are now closed to me as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents are not able to…

Because my backyard is a beach and a state park, both of them are now closed to me as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents are not able to use the pool, and must remain socially distanced as recommended. There is also a curfew in place in my city from 11 pm to 5 am for the foreseeable future.

Most local, county, and state parks are closed, and I don’t have any friends who have access to large open fields…so I’m effectively unable to get out and detect for a while. It’s not a complaint – I’m certainly taking this pandemic seriously. But it does mean that I’m missing one of my favorite activities right now.

So I have been focusing on my other interests and trying to find new ways to enjoy being at home. Photography, drone video, cleaning and organizing…those are the interests that will get me through the stay at home measures.

I have been watching a growing “herd” of cruise ships drifting off the coast of Miami, east of the port. It’s funny to see them bunched together as they wait. I wonder about the staff who remain onboard. Usually they have guests to entertain and a journey to other places!

Have you ever used a cruise mapping application or website? Looking at Cruisemapper, I can track which ship is out there and usually what their destination would be. It’s pretty interesting and fun to see what is around your area.

There are currently several clusters of cruise ships throughout the Caribbean.

Here you can see the names of the ships I am seeing in the “herd”

Obviously right now, the usual trip paths are not happening. The MSC Meraviglia has been there for days and new ships seem to be joining them in this holding pattern.

It will be interesting to see how the cruise industry is ultimately impacted by this pandemic. Even when it first started being a source of infections in February, people were still boarding and taking their planned vacations until recently in March. So it seems that customers are willing to take the risk – perhaps in the long run, they will be okay.

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COVID-19 and Air Traffic Patterns

Sometimes a visual makes all the difference. When you look at the spread of this particular virus and compare it to air traffic patterns and the most common and highly-used…

Sometimes a visual makes all the difference.

When you look at the spread of this particular virus and compare it to air traffic patterns and the most common and highly-used routes, it shouldn’t be surprising where infection starts. That’s why avoiding travel makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it.

That’s why no government should have been surprised by the first countries and cities to have reported cases.

Using data from:
https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com
and
https://gis.icao.int/gallery/

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Beach Closed

Last night I went on the beach by myself to get exercise and end of day detecting as I normally do. The rules up to that point were groups no…

Last night I went on the beach by myself to get exercise and end of day detecting as I normally do. The rules up to that point were groups no less than 10, and I’m always by myself at a large distance from others. But it wasn’t long before the police cart came by to tell me the beach is simply closed. Walking, running, any individual activity is just off limits.

It really hit me hard. I have taken this situation seriously and haven’t been traveling or around other people since Saturday, March 15. Prior to that, I avoided people and remained at the safe distance. But I have been able to leave my small condo building without seeing other people and detect until that moment.

I won’t be one of the people who ignore orders. I won’t represent the metal detecting community in a negative way. Much like the many runners and bike riders who are now missing the long beach path and park biking path, I’m now doing absolutely everything I can to stay away from others.

Today, borders are closing, some states like California have taken extreme measures to keep everyone inside. I hope we are able to curb the spread so that these efforts weren’t too little too late. I see other social networks where there are conspiracy theories flying around like crazy. People are complaining or saying they don’t think this is necessary.

I guess they need to understand that it’s necessary because we just don’t know.

I definitely feel the stress. It seems the U.S. President is constantly making things a bit worse by continuing to point fingers at the media, while the health experts have to correct him one moment later. It’s not making us normal people feel any better or any more comfortable that they know what to do.

I’m worried that it will get worse because so many people will be more concerned about their personal needs than the needs of all. So I’m staying home. I’ll do more coin research or organize my old finds. I’ll play with my digital microscope and do some of the things I’ve had on my list for years. I can be flexible and find a new way to relieve stress while doing my small part to contribute positively to this situation.

I’d like to host a “Show and Tell” webinar with other detectorists out there to share what we’ve found! Would you attend?! Send me an email and let me know if this is something you’d like to do while we’re unable to get out like normal.

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Covid-19 and Metal Detecting in Miami

I have seen a lot of posts on social networks about how metal detecting is a socially-isolating activity – and that’s certainly true! Unless you make a point to hunt…

I have seen a lot of posts on social networks about how metal detecting is a socially-isolating activity – and that’s certainly true! Unless you make a point to hunt with friends, it’s something you can go do all on your own.

I detect by myself unless I’m giving lessons or have some friends who want to come with me. I go out almost every day unless the weather is too crazy or I need a break. It’s great exercise, and stress relief from work.

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organization) on March 11, 2020, some things in Miami have changed dramatically and others have seemed to remain kinda normal. As you may have recently seen on the news, there are some Spring Breakers who have been ignoring the advice to distance themselves socially.

Here’s a video posted by a cool account @Wavy_Boats that posts videos of boats making their way through the Haulover Inlet. They noticed how these particular people were clearly not keeping their distance either.

 

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This is a photo from Sunday, March 15 of a public beach in Miami and it looks like a normal Sunday – maybe even a little more than a normal Sunday. Not much evidence of social distancing there!

I decided to track the beach attendance throughout this week and have seen a steady decline and a little more evidence of distancing.

3/17/2020 – Fewer people, but still a large group of regulars.

3/18/2020 – More space again, but still looking like a weekday.

And then today…March 19, 2020…Miami-Dade has shut down beaches and parks. Story from the Miami Herald

I saw the Miami-Dade trucks and employees waving at runners on the beach path to turn around. More trucks have arrived and they are watching the entrances. The beach is empty today.

You should also look at each photo again and notice there are always one or two cruise ships in the background. That’s not a coincidence…those ships have been hanging out there for days just moving slightly. I don’t have much information about them yet, but I know one of them is the MSC Meraviglia which may be empty now after some controversial decisions to let passengers leave without screenings. (Story from Miami Herald)

As we go through the next hours, days, weeks and…months? I will continue to share my thoughts and stories from Miami and hope that the measures we are taking will help prevent additional deaths. I also see this as a moment where some important things will change for the world when it comes to health care, cleanliness practices, and supporting the people who are currently working hard to care for others.

Update: 3/19/2020
All beaches including public and private under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade county are closed. This now includes my “backyard” and means I’m not sure if I can go out for a walk on the private portion of the beach. I will have to learn more as information is provided by my local government.

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Mens Wedding Ring Recovered

I was on my way to the grocery store when I received a call from Jerrica – her husband had just lost his gold wedding band in the Atlantic Ocean…

I was on my way to the grocery store when I received a call from Jerrica – her husband had just lost his gold wedding band in the Atlantic Ocean off of Sunny Isles Beach, FL. I did a quick U-turn for home, changed into my water detecting outfit and grabbed my CTX 3030.

They made a smart move by finding the RingFinders website and calling me so quickly. Because they remained in the location where it was lost and were patient, they were able to accurately point me toward the water right where they believed the ring came off. They were able to describe it and he remembered feeling it come loose in the water.

I expected a long hunt because it is a very popular stretch of beach – lots of tourists and a fair amount of aluminum trash too. But to my surprise (and theirs), the ring was my first target!

I loved seeing the excitement from them and their friends who were shocked at how quickly it was found. All because they had the patience and quick thinking to call right away!

Losing engagement and wedding rings is very common in the water. Even though it feels tight normally, when you enter cooler water your hands will shrink up a bit in response to the cooler temperatures. That makes it very easy to come flying off when you are fighting waves! There are products like ring guards which will help keep them on your hand if you aren’t comfortable leaving them in the hotel room.  Some people use things like this ring protector that can be worn to help prevent loss. It might look a little goofy, but the feeling of losing it is worse!

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Understanding Longshore Drift and Metal Detecting

I spent some time in my local metal detecting shop recently and had the opportunity to listen as a customer purchased a brand new Minelab Equinox 600. He was so…

I spent some time in my local metal detecting shop recently and had the opportunity to listen as a customer purchased a brand new Minelab Equinox 600. He was so excited! It was just the three of us in the shop, so it was a friendly discussion of experience.

He asked questions about beach hunting like, “Do I need a pinpointer?” “What kind of scoop should I buy?” “Is low tide the best time to search?” Everyone has a different answer for those questions, and my advice is always that experience is going to be the best guide!

I shared some stories of beachgoers asking me if I could find their lost item. I will absolutely help someone find their item if they can describe it very well, but there are a lot of factors to consider when you set out to find something specific.

That’s when we started talking about how things move in the sand – including the longshore drift. Though we didn’t refer to it as “longshore drift” while talking in the store, that’s the name of the process we were referring to when discussing how lost items move along the coast over time. For this topic I consulted my smart sister Kim – she’s a geologist who helped me understand this process on a deeper level!

What is longshore drift?

The basic definition of longshore (littoral) drift is the movement of sand and sediment along a shoreline over time, with the longshore current. The longshore current refers to the movement of water along a shoreline which is caused by the energy generated by breaking waves.

Let’s start by watching this short video:

The longshore drift is determined by the prevailing wind – that is the direction the wind generally comes from in that area. Most of the time, waves approach coastlines at an angle and push sand and sediment along the beach at that angle. The backwash pulls the sand straight back, where it becomes subject to the waves again.

Because of this, the sand will travel along the coast in the direction of the longshore current. That’s longshore drift in a nutshell!

How do longshore drift and longshore current relate to metal detecting?

The white arrows show the general drift south along these shorelines in Florida. (Not to be confused with the Gulf Stream!

Understanding longshore drift and current will help you learn how a beach changes over time, inform your choice of areas to hunt, and may help when you are searching for a lost item.

Put it to practice: Detect Smarter

Understanding how a beach and its sand and sediment change and move over time can help you find hot spots – areas where you notice patterns for the types of objects you find.

Related to the longshore drift, you can detect smarter by paying attention to where beachgoers spend their time on the beach and in the water, and remembering that over time, the things they lost may end up farther along the coast.

Put it to practice: Find a Lost Object

I’ll start by saying that this is as much art as science, and it’s a lot of science. It’s understanding basic geology and physics, then combining that with practical knowledge of human behavior! In addition to knowing how the weight, size, and shape of an object combined with the coarseness of the sand will impact how deep an object can go, the longshore drift can determine the position along the coastline.

1) Know your beach. You can use data from agencies like NOAA (see this handy PDF) to determine the prevailing wind direction for your area. Personal experience and observation if done in a methodical way can help too.

2) Understand your target. The basic questions you should know the answer to include: Where was the item lost initially? How long ago was it lost? What are the weight, shape, and metal type of the object? What weather or other factors have occurred in this location during the time since it was lost?

3) Remember you’re dealing with humans! People have inaccurate memories when it comes to their position in the water or on the beach. They may give you a spot on a building they remember seeing, or a general area between two lifeguard towers.

They also may not know their lost object as well as they think. When someone says “gold ring” or “silver bracelet,” they may be incorrect. Is the object simply silver in color? Is it actually stainless steel, pewter, silver plated?

Example

If someone lost a lightweight silver ring with a stone setting in the water at the shoreline two months ago, where should you begin your search for it?

Most people use a grid method to methodically search an area – that’s great once you know where the likely area should be! First, you need to know in what direction the item may have moved over time. Did any strong storms impact the area in the time between losing the item and now? What has been the prevailing wind direction in the past two months?

The better you know the area, the easier it will be for you to know the factors impacting that beach. In this example, you might start by creating a grid in the general area where the person said they lost the ring, and track first in the direction of the longshore current that has been in place for the time since the item was lost.

The prevailing wind direction can vary by season, or by the environment you’re in. Using Miami as an example, the prevailing wind direction in the summer months is from the East/Southeast. However, the longshore drift is generally south over a long period of time!

So most Florida detectorists might say, “lost items on Florida beaches move south.” That can be generally true, given enough time for the object to become subject to longshore drift, but for objects lost more recently, the direction may be north!

I hope this has helped you to understand longshore drift and current. Does your local beach have a clear direction? Many beaches have problems with erosion for this reason and go through renourishment projects.

What is your beach like? Leave me a comment below!

Resources

Beaches
Learn more about Waves, Beaches, and Coastal Erosion reprinted from “Natural Hazards and Disasters” by Donald Hyndman and David Hyndman.

Wind
A great tool for wind data and forecasts from Windfinder.

Renourishment Projects
As an example, read Miami-Dade County’s Beach Erosion Control Master Plan

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Metal Detecting T-Shirt!

When someone comes up to you and asks if you can help them find their lost item…you might be thinking, “I can dig it!” Here’s a new shirt that I’ve…

When someone comes up to you and asks if you can help them find their lost item…you might be thinking, “I can dig it!”

Here’s a new shirt that I’ve just created that lets you wear your passion for metal detecting! It’s produced by Cotton Bureau and they are very comfortable shirts. You’ll be able to wear them to detect or out for fun. There are several beautiful colors and sizes up to 5X!

Get out and dig it!

Click here to purchase.

Click here to purchase.

 

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Metal Detecting in the News

There are some hobbies and interests that others find perplexing. “What a weird waste of time!” they might even say to themselves. I know sometimes I see videos online where…

There are some hobbies and interests that others find perplexing. “What a weird waste of time!” they might even say to themselves. I know sometimes I see videos online where a person spends hours or DAYS on culinary creations like cakes and cookies and I think…”Wow…all that work just to eat it!”

But as we all know, it’s not always about the end result or product. And everyone has a preference for how they spend their time. There are some of us crazy creatures who just enjoy the process. We find comfort, entertainment, joy…just in the activity itself.

We also tend to appreciate the professionals and masters among us. Some people start out as hobbyists and end up at the top of the field – like they were born for it! Others prefer to keep their interests from becoming careers. Whichever way you consider it, metal detecting is one of those interests which draws curiosity, but is still considered an “odd” hobby.

So I’m starting a collection here of all the news stories I can find about metal detecting. Share your thoughts below or send me a story if you find one!

News Stories About Metal Detecting

California

SFGATE: Surfer’s ring, lost on Bolinas beach, returned after 35 years | NPR: 35 Years Later, Guy With Metal Detector Finds Lost Class Ring Featuring detectorist Larry Feurzeig

Indiana

Forty years of metal detecting hunts Featuring detectorist Rich Creason

Kansas

Museum Receives Interesting Metal Detector Find

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Help! I lost something!

Did you lose something important, priceless, expensive, or sentimental? If you’re in Florida, I can probably help you pretty quickly. Even if you’re somewhere else, reach out and let me…

Did you lose something important, priceless, expensive, or sentimental? If you’re in Florida, I can probably help you pretty quickly. Even if you’re somewhere else, reach out and let me know where you lost it and I’ll see if I can come help you!

Contact me!

There was a great story in the New York Times where a used metal detector came in handy. Read the story.

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Keep it Clean

It’s a new year and maybe you have resolutions, or maybe you have resolved to keep it the same! Either way, we can all do better when it comes to…

It’s a new year and maybe you have resolutions, or maybe you have resolved to keep it the same! Either way, we can all do better when it comes to cleaning up trash. I have found some interesting objects on the beach including a VERY sharp knife and some really long rusty nails.

In those cases, I keep my junk & trash bag handy. Sometimes the trash is surprising. Like this lightbulb! Because of its construction, it is still perfectly useful. So when I’m out, I’m sure to pick up things that are out of place. None of us want to step on these things or let them become a hazard for sea life and beach critters.

If you’ve never been a trash keeper, I challenge you to do your best and keep it clean!

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