GeekyBeach

GeekyBeach

Metal Detecting Lost Item Recovery & Lessons

Category: Community

The San Francisco Bay Area Metal Detecting Club

Across the country, there are numerous metal detecting clubs. Each one has similar missions to share information about the interest, provide help in their communities, and gather to enjoy the…

Across the country, there are numerous metal detecting clubs. Each one has similar missions to share information about the interest, provide help in their communities, and gather to enjoy the hobby together. Members range in age from young to old, but I’ve found that not many younger people know about these organizations, or know how to find them.

Websites can be tough to find, and many have presence on social networks. Because I would like to gather with other metal detectorists and those interested in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have started a new club and I’m looking for members and supporters!

Learn more about the new SF Bay Area Metal Detectorists.

I’m still new to the San Francisco Bay Area, and I have been busy exploring all the amazing beaches out here on this new coast. It’s quite different from South Florida – for one, the water is ROUGH and COLD! I bought my first cold water wetsuit-looking neoprene water shoes this past week.

I have also spent a lot of time discovering beaches that are okay to detect, and those that are for park enjoyment only. I’ve updated my listing on RingFinders to my nearby beach and will see how the calls differ, and hope that people aren’t losing their items in the cold water too often!

I have heard of a few clubs like “Mount Diablo Metal Detecting Club” and the “Sacramento Valley Detecting Buffs of Sacramento,” but I haven’t found one centered in San Francisco or the surrounding area yet. Certainly after it’s safer to meet in person, it would be nice to gather and discuss permissions and share some of our finds. If you’re in the area, please reach out – I would love to organize, host, and plan a gathering. Express interest even if you’re new to the hobby or are just interested to learn more!

Learn more about the new SF Bay Area Metal Detectorists.

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RingFinders in San Francisco

A story posted by SFGATE, the digital home of the San Francisco Chronicle, features metal detectorists in the city who have helped locals find their lost items through the website…

A story posted by SFGATE, the digital home of the San Francisco Chronicle, features metal detectorists in the city who have helped locals find their lost items through the website RingFinders.

Just like the detectorists listed in the story, Marshall Smith and James Badgett, I am also listed on the RingFinders website. I have been listed there for several years now, originally in the Miami, Florida area. You can see some of my stories on geekybeach.com, like an amazing ring recovered for a Florida tourist!

Now that I have relocated to San Francisco bay area, I am listed for Stinson Beach, which is a common tourist beach location in Marin County.

Be sure to view the story, because there are some really great photos and stories from the detectorists featured!

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Who is traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Not only do I spend a lot of time looking down in the sand or dirt. I also spend a good bit of time looking up. Maybe I can just…

Not only do I spend a lot of time looking down in the sand or dirt. I also spend a good bit of time looking up. Maybe I can just say… I pay attention to my surroundings!

In addition to the cruise ships spending more time at Miami Anchor, there are far fewer airplanes going by. Generally on a day when winds are from the east, I will see flights from Miami International Airport make a big turn north. I watch them from my desk window and wonder where they’re headed. So far this morning, I have seen only a few.

We know air travel is greatly reduced, but who are the people traveling right now?

I went to the United website and searched for some common flights – Miami to Newark, Miami to Chicago, etc. The following flight to Newark from Miami scheduled for March 27 is nearly full:

Miami to Newark United Airlines flight seat assignments March 27, 2020

And this March 28 flight to Chicago is mostly available and notably reduced in price. This flight to Chicago from Miami is available for as low as $29 USD or a first class ticket for $297 USD – normally close to $600 or more for last minute.

Miami to Chicago United Airlines flight seat assignments March 28, 2020

One article from Politico points to New York snowbirds and the super rich as potential issues for the state of Florida. The article suggests that nearly all flight traffic from New York area is halted, but that’s not exactly true.

Here is a look at the Flightaware Airport Activity for March 27 at 10:30 am Eastern:

Flightaware Airport Traffic Map

And here is a flight you can buy today from Newark to Miami for $65 (economy) or $296 (first class). It’s definitely not empty, so who are the people flying?

Newark to Miami United Airlines flight seat assignments March 27, 2020

One thing that seems clear to me, the people not traveling right now are spring-breakers and cruise-goers. The beaches are closed, by now most hotels are closed and have kicked out or cancelled reservations. Florida tourists have gone home.

So the people left are…the snowbirds.

This is the time of year when I normally secretly celebrate the departure of snowbirds. My prediction is usually that after Easter, the roads are clearer, the beaches less crowded…all because New Yorkers, Canadians, Michiganders have all returned home. Summer in Florida is for locals and I’ve been able to call myself a local for a few years now.

But this year is going to be very different. I would be curious to know how snowbirds are making their decisions? Are they planning to leave Florida early to perhaps escape to a hometown with fewer cases of COVID-19? Are they disappointed by the closed beaches and would prefer early spring in their northern environment?

Until I hear more from my snowbird neighbors, I’ll watch the pelicans. Their plans to migrate north are unchanged.

Pelicans migrating north

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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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wavy Boats (@wavy_boats) on

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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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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Storm Delay

There are some times when an on-and-off rainy day is the perfect time to metal detect on the beach. No crowds to deal with means you can spend as much…

There are some times when an on-and-off rainy day is the perfect time to metal detect on the beach. No crowds to deal with means you can spend as much time as you want and check areas usually occupied during day time instead of being limited to the few early morning hours when no one has arrived. But what about when there is a tropical storm around?

I’ve slowly gotten over my reluctance to be seen by anyone on the beach, but that has a price as well. I’ve been a subject in what they think are surreptitious photos, they stop and ask me really strange questions, and in general there’s just an uncomfortable feeling knowing that I’m a subject of either interest or annoyance.

But a rainy day? That’s when I can be out with only the other crazy people. I’m talking of course about kiteboarders, and hardcore beachgoers.

The kiteboarders give me a knowing nod when I pass by. I’m sure they find my hobby boring and I find theirs terrifying! But we both enjoy windy days which are often those overcast, rainy ones I’m taking about.

But what about a tropical storm? I don’t take chances being out when lightning is high risk factor, but when a tropical storm is on the way in or out, there are several days of overcast, windy, and rainy days that keep the beach crowds away.

I still get nervous making the decision to detect on these days. First, the ocean is typically rough, so it’s sand only. But the waves bring in fresh batches of new goodies that have been sitting off shore, so it’s a perfect time to check the tide line. It can also scrape away a top layer of sand and reveal a new level now in range of my detector.

It’s also just a lot of fun to be out on the beach when conditions are a little rough. It’s maybe not for everyone, and it shouldn’t be scary, but it can give you a head start if you do have competition with other detectorists, and it can make an otherwise potentially boring day way more fun. Have you ever detected on an unusual day?

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