GeekyBeach

GeekyBeach

Metal Detecting Lost Item Recovery & Lessons

Category: Stories

Spreading the Metal Detecting Word: Detectorist

Recently, two local newspapers who were fascinated by the hobby of metal detecting and wanted to share stories with their readers contacted me for information. I was happy and humbled…

Recently, two local newspapers who were fascinated by the hobby of metal detecting and wanted to share stories with their readers contacted me for information. I was happy and humbled to share stories from my adventures so far, and perhaps do something additional: introduce others to the word “detectorist!”

Many are unfamiliar with the term, as we have often been referred to as “metal detectors,” but that describes our machine. We detectorists use metal detectors!

So I was happy to see the word appear in the headline for both articles. Those of us familiar with the word already may or may not like it – I’m curious what you think! The BBC show The Detectorists is another way that people outside of the hobby have learned more about what it is. Sure, there are the stereotypes, but those lovable characters were easy to bond with.

Do you use the word metal detectorist to describe yourself? Leave a comment below or message me to share your preference.

The Ark Newspaper story published March 9, 2022

See the Original Stories:
The Ark Newspaper: “Tiburon detectorist works to reunite people with their lost items” by Shayne Jones – March 9, 2022

Marin Independent Journal (requires login): “Tiburon metal detectorist reunites people with lost items” by Colleen Bidwill – February 19, 2022

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Uncovering History at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary

Just north of San Francisco, the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary overlooks 900 acres of open water that is closed from October 1 to March 31 each year to…

Lyford House

A Winchester bullet shell found on the beach property near the Lyford House.

Just north of San Francisco, the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary overlooks 900 acres of open water that is closed from October 1 to March 31 each year to serve as a sanctuary for migrating waterbirds. This beautiful property is maintained by the Center with trails and gardens that are open year round, summer camps, a youth conservation leadership program, and numerous volunteer opportunities.

As a metal detectorist, I’m interested in the history of the property which includes the Lyford House – a home originally located at Strawberry Point, moved by barge in December 1957 when threatened with demolition. Once owned by Benjamin Lyford (1841-1906) and Hilarita née Reed (1839-1908), it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After speaking with the Center Director and obtaining permission to metal detect on Lani’s Beach lining the property, I am now cataloging my finds and learning more about the history of the property and its owners.

Beach metal detecting finds including a spoon, shoe buckle, and metal scraps

A group of finds from Lani’s Beach on the Audubon Center Property

Because this is not a tourist beach in the traditional sense, the items found on this property are more likely to be relics of another time or items washed up from Richardson Bay. Some items discovered so far include Winchester bullet shells dating from 1901-1920, what appears to be a shoe buckle, mystery pieces of metal, vintage lead fishing weights, pieces of a small statue, and more. I’m excited to see what turns up after I spend more time on the beach.

Close up view of a Winchester brand

Close up view of a Winchester brand “Repeater 1901” No. 12 shotshell headstamp. Manufactured between 1901 and 1920.

It would be no surprise that in the early 1900s this would be a good spot for hunting. So far I’ve found four of these shells on one small area of the beach along with some other smaller caliber shells as well.

Detail view of what may be a metal shoe buckle

Detail view of what may be a metal shoe buckle

Small bronze loop

Photo after finding a small bronze loop.

I encourage locals to volunteer at the Richardson Bay location, or plan a visit! Let them know that GeekyBeach sent you.

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Metal Detecting Inspired Artwork

People sometimes ask what I do with items I find when I’m out metal detecting. For a long time, I have been hanging on to everything I find, unless it’s…

People sometimes ask what I do with items I find when I’m out metal detecting. For a long time, I have been hanging on to everything I find, unless it’s particularly dangerous like leaking batteries. That means I have ended up with a large collection of metal bits, coins destroyed beyond recognition, toy cars, pop tabs…you name it!

So when my childhood friend from Japan requested a special piece of artwork from me, I knew that it was a great opportunity to showcase the discarded items found on the beach with my metal detector. She requested a particular color scheme in a triptych (group of three).

The piece is titled Supernova – inspired by beautiful and powerful stellar events. I centered the piece on vibrant yellow and bright white. The materials include beach sand, nails, aluminum scraps, bottle caps, and other objects I found while metal detecting. Because these items were the result of many hours of work, it was my way of sharing a piece of my life with her.

“Supernova” was requested to display in three pieces in colors of yellow, blue, and gray.

 

What comes to mind when you see these items? Our public places like beaches and parks are often very littered. As detectorists, we play a small part in cleaning in addition to the fun.

The deeper meaning of this piece serves as a reminder that every part of our universe – from massive stellar events to grains of sand – is connected. We can all do our part to take care of our small corner of the universe by being more mindful of the small bits of trash we leave behind.

***

If you are interested in commissioning a piece, I really enjoy creating custom artwork. Contact me to learn more and share your thoughts about Supernova as well.

 

Detail: The center of Supernova explodes from the center in bright white and yellow.

 

Detail: A train car toy and bottle caps along with a glass bottle neck.

 

Detail: Broken sunglasses and a large pop can tab.

 

Detail: The darker side of discarded items disintegrating into sand.

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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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Diamond Ring Recovered on Haulover Beach, Florida

A beachgoer in Miami Florida contacted me early morning on May 12, 2021 to recover a diamond ring lost the night before. She was a wreck searching for the ring…

A beachgoer in Miami Florida contacted me early morning on May 12, 2021 to recover a diamond ring lost the night before. She was a wreck searching for the ring and couldn’t sleep. Fortunately, she kept track of her position on the beach and we met before sunrise on Haulover Beach in Miami, Florida, USA.

It was a quick search in the dry sand near the tide line and within about 15 minutes, the ring was found and returned to the owner just as the sun broke through the clouds at the horizon.

Beautiful morning and a great way to start the day for this young lady who thought fast, did a web search and found theringfinders.com!

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Sapphire Earring Recovered

Tatiana found my listing on theRingFinders.com and called on the evening of May 5, 2021 for a little help. It’s a special item to her and fortunately she and her…

Sapphire earring recovered successfully!

Tatiana found my listing on theRingFinders.com and called on the evening of May 5, 2021 for a little help. It’s a special item to her and fortunately she and her husband made great notes about where they were and what happened when it was lost. They were able to point me in the right direction!

It’s not always easy to find lost items, especially earrings. This one was rather large, and only recently lost. After a short search, I was so happy to see it in my scoop! Now it’s back where it belongs for more adventures with its matching pair.

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Lost Men’s Wedding Ring Recovered in Hallandale Beach, Florida

It was a lovely spring day in Florida with beaches full again after many months of COVID-19 restrictions. A young woman called me and explained that the prior day, her…

It was a lovely spring day in Florida with beaches full again after many months of COVID-19 restrictions. A young woman called me and explained that the prior day, her husband had lost his wedding ring on Hallandale Beach in Hallandale, Florida.

It was an “oops” moment that they discovered only after they made it back home and they knew it was on the beach because he had stored the ring in the cup holder of the chair and then shook out the sand before going home. Easy to forgive as the couple has a lovely young baby to care for!

I made my way to the beach and recreated their approximate location from photos they had taken while on the beach. We communicated during the process and I found my way right to the correct spot. Two other couples were on the beach relaxing, so I was sure to let them know why I was invading their space!

Just as she described, the ring was just under the surface after about 45 minutes of searching within the area.

I’m glad they used RingFinders and found me. They were smart to remember details about what happened and where they were. It made the search much quicker!

The sentiment shared with me when it was returned was, “Nuestro amor contra viento y marea.” The meaning of the phrase is our love against wind and tide or against all odds. ❤️ I wish them all the best in their future!

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Recovery Story: Heirloom Diamond Ring

I was just beginning my day when I received a call from Mousha – she told me that she lost her precious heirloom diamond ring the previous day on the…

I was just beginning my day when I received a call from Mousha – she told me that she lost her precious heirloom diamond ring the previous day on the beach after getting tumbled by the waves at the shoreline. I dressed in my warm swimming gear and biked to her location at the nearby lifeguard tower.

She had a very good description of where she had been sitting, swimming, and approximately where she was when the waves got a little rough. Her brother helped her estimate about how far away she had been from their sitting location when she was in the water. That description was incredibly helpful for coming up with a search plan.

I started with a W pattern along the high tide line down to the churn of the current tide first. Because the tide was moving out, I planned to move deeper into the water if nothing turned up in the wet sand. When someone shares a story of how they think their ring fell off, it’s important to listen closely and ask a lot of questions.

“I sat and prayed and she went out to begin her mission. I literally had no hope for her to find it but I was flabbergasted by her genuine niceness and her willingness to look.” – Mousha, Ring Owner

About an hour into the wet sand search, my CTX 3030 came back with a very solid signal…

I scooped about 8 inches of sand which contained the target, so I moved up to avoid the waves. As I spread out the sand from the scoop, I was thrilled to see the shape of a ring on its side. I picked it out of the sand, cleaned it off, and sure enough..it was a beautiful ring just as she described. I grabbed my gear, marked the spot in the sand and ran back to join her near the guard tower. She couldn’t miss the huge smile on my face as I had her describe it one more time…then I revealed it to her.

The beautiful family heirloom ring designed by Mousha

That moment – the moment when I see someone’s face light up – is what it’s all about for me. That item had so much meaning to her, it’s not just a valuable ring, it’s a piece of her life and heart. I loved hearing her describe the meaning. She had designed the ring herself using scrap pieces of gold and diamonds that belonged to her mother and grandmother.

She later shared that she felt like a part of her heart was drifting in the ocean. Now she has this connection to her mother and grandmother back with her where it belongs. I’m very glad that she found Ring Finders with the help of her brother and decided to take a chance and give me a call!

Ring owner, Mousha, wearing her family heirloom ring again right after finding it.

“The waves were very strong and I found myself tumbling in the strong current near the shore. When I got back to our spot I realized that my precious ring that I had designed using scrap pieces of gold, and diamonds from the pieces that were left to me by my mother and grandmother, was gone. You can only imagine how sad I felt missing what I held close to my heart so I always feel connected to my mother may she rest in peace. (Hence the reason I wore it to the beach because I never take it off). I searched the beach for hours and left feeling like a part of my heart was drifting in the ocean.” – Mousha, Ring Owner

Back on her hand in about an hour-long search.

So how do rings that seem tight come off in the ocean?

I hear so often that they can’t imagine a ring that is so tightly fit would just come off. Temperature of the water makes a big difference. If you are in chilly water, your hands are going to shrink up a little. Just enough to potentially make it easier to get rings off. Then if you are splashing around or get caught up in the sand and waves, the friction can just grab it without you even noticing.

I always share that it would be best to leave them at home, but if you’re traveling it can be scary to not have them on you. So at the very least, engraving your precious items can mean if you lose them it’s easier to know that it belongs to you. 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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Meaningful Finds

As a metal detectorist, I often help people find their lost items or I find things and can reunite them with their owner when they have inscriptions for example. (Be…

As a metal detectorist, I often help people find their lost items or I find things and can reunite them with their owner when they have inscriptions for example. (Be sure to save my website and contact me if you lose something in Sunny Isles Beach or South Florida!)

People often ask me what I do with what I find – do I wear the nice rings or send them off to a pawn shop? Am I in it to make a buck or do I just enjoy being outside?

For me the answer is simple: I keep all of the objects I find and I make an effort to find the true owner. I tend not to wear the jewelry because it has meaning to someone else, not to me. I do not sell or scrap any of the items I find, for me I am in it because it’s great fun and I love the thrill of recovering objects.

When someone loses something important to them, I understand it isn’t just about the item itself…it’s the story and meaning it has to them! The best part of being a metal detectorist is reuniting someone with something they care about. The hugs I’ve received from finding lost engagement rings, lost wedding rings, lost necklaces, watches and more…you name it. It warms my heart every time.

When people approach me on the beach, they sometimes tell me about an object they lost. I take mental notes, I grab their contact information, and if I ever find that object…I can return it to them! That story played out recently in Sunny Isles Beach. In April 2019, a man told me he had lost a gold pendant with an eagle charm in the water. At that point in 2019, several months had already passed since he lost it.

I told him if I happened to find it, I’d get it back to him. This year in 2020 while hunting in the water I found it, and I was able to return it to him! The gold belonged to his mother and he was very excited to see it again. This is my favorite part of detecting.

When it comes to what I like to wear personally, I prefer jewelry that has meaning. When I find something on the beach, my focus is on the owner and the story they might have related to that item. I love helping my neighbors or visitors to my area find their precious items. Thank you for reading and please send me your questions!

Links:
Contact me if you’ve lost something!

Contact me through RingFinders

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Mystery Item Revealed

Not too long ago, I found this wooden object that appeared to have some kind of magnetic powers and looked a bit like a toy car. I also wondered if…

Not too long ago, I found this wooden object that appeared to have some kind of magnetic powers and looked a bit like a toy car. I also wondered if it could be some kind of odd fishing equipment.

 

After cleaning it up, I was able to read the text on the inside of the plastic wheels which included “Gullane (Thomas) 2003” and a quick search shows that it is a very destroyed Thomas the Tank Engine toy!

Toys and cars in particular are a common find even on the beach.

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