GeekyBeach

GeekyBeach

Metal Detecting Lost Item Recovery & Lessons

Category: Stories

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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Lost Gold Engagement Ring Found in Miami, Florida

The beach had only recently re-opened from COVID-19 closures when I received a call from a couple who had just lost an engagement ring and the day was turning to…

The beach had only recently re-opened from COVID-19 closures when I received a call from a couple who had just lost an engagement ring and the day was turning to night quickly!

I hopped on my bike and met them during the beginning of twilight and they explained the scenario. The ring was flung from their towel while packing up to go home. They immediately knew it happened and decided to rake around in the sand. They couldn’t find it themselves and that’s when they found theringfinders.com and gave me a call.

The rake they borrowed from the lifeguard tower probably made the search a bit harder – pushing sand around and increasing the potential for it to have moved or become buried further.

We only had about 30 minutes before it would be completely dark, so I made note of the area in case I would have to return the next morning. The area was also full of junk signals, so it was a challenge to determine how this very thin gold ring would sound among all the pop tabs.

They had just left me to return to their car when it popped out of the sand – using my headlamp to see and confirm, I called them back to the beach and return it to her hand.

We couldn’t manage to get a nice photo in the dark and unfortunately lost touch when they returned home, but they were so happy to have this ring back where it belongs. They are a little shy about appearing in a photo for me, so unfortunately I only have a blurry night photo.

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Earring Found for my Neighbor!

I was out metal detecting and a neighbor approached me about an earring she lost a couple days prior. She described it and was able to point out approximately where…

I was out metal detecting and a neighbor approached me about an earring she lost a couple days prior. She described it and was able to point out approximately where she was sitting, but wasn’t sure if it came off in the sand, in the water, or somewhere between the building and beach. I let her know I would give it a try.

I set out with some target IDs in mind and was very close to calling it a day when I got an iffy, somewhat shallow signal on the CTX in the dry sand near the area she indicated. The target was small and seemed to pass through the scoop, so I switched to the pinpointer…and there it was – the earring she described!

It’s a bit unusual to receive a mission for a small lost item, where the exact location of the loss isn’t known…and find it so quickly! Usually the item is lost in the water, which is a different challenge.

I always share the advice to call someone (like me!) from theringfinders.com as soon as you lose something because so much can change after days or even a tide cycle! Now my neighbor’s earring is back where it belongs.

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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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New Digs

I love getting new equipment for any of my interests, and metal detection is no exception. That feeling when you get a brand new computer, cell phone, camera lens…it’s exciting…

I love getting new equipment for any of my interests, and metal detection is no exception. That feeling when you get a brand new computer, cell phone, camera lens…it’s exciting on those first few days or weeks when you’re learning its quirks or just admiring how clean it is!

You might think there’s not really much to buy for metal detecting – grab a detector and go, right? In many cases, that’s a fine way to start. You really don’t need much to get started in this activity at the beginning so don’t be afraid. However, the landscape and style of search vary enough to require some changes when you’re searching more often and become more experienced.

So that’s why I’m excited to tell you about my newest acquisition: A Stealth 920iX X-treme scoop from Sunspot Tooling Systems!

The coin from Chile was one of my first finds with this new scoop and it was thrilling to see it at the bottom of this perfect scoop.

Now before you jump off to their website to buy your own, here are a few thoughts that you should consider.

Are you hunting frequently in water?
These scoops are designed for water/sand use. This isn’t one for digging in your yard. Just thought I’d make that clear right away! Ocean waves can be pretty tricky even at low tide, so this kind of scoop makes a huge difference in the ability to recover finds out there.

Have you been in the hobby for a while now?
This isn’t a cheap scoop, so if you’re not sure that you’re going to like detecting, don’t buy this yet. Contact me if you want a personal recommendation. Or better yet, if you’re a beginner come visit and take a lesson from me.

Do you have a waterproof detector and headphones?
You’re going to absolutely need a waterproof detector and headphones to go all in with water hunting. I find that I end up doing a hybrid of snorkeling and hunting at the same time. WEAR SUNSCREEN ON YOUR BACK/NECK!! I learned that one the hard way.

Read all that and still want to buy one? Okay, here’s exactly how I set mine up and below that, exactly why.

  • 920iX X-treme, 20 degree tip back
  • Mount for Handle, Tube
  • Handle, 47 inch ash (recommended)
  • Bottom 1/2 inch holes
  • Rear 1/2 inch holes
  • SuperRugged Package with ToePad

The 920 is 9″ wide and mounts at a 20 degree tipped back angle. The angle is a preference depending on how you’re used to searching. If you’ve never used a handled scoop, then try to think about how it might feel to use. With a 90 degree angle, you’ll have to reach out farther to set up a deep dig, but then tipping it up will be more likely to keep all the sand in the scoop as you pull it out of the water. Up to you!

I went with the tube mount mostly because of the recommendation that using a carbon fiber tube later will require this mount. The only downside I might see is that the fully round sections are vulnerable to sand entry. To counter this, Sunspot provides you with some electrical tape to seal up the mount to prevent sand from entering and making it difficult to remove the handle.

I purchased the wood handle because it comes pre-treated with water resistant paint (the gray portion in the image) on the lower handle to prevent water logging from making it impossible to remove the handle if there is swelling. Also, carbon fiber was sold out at the time I ordered! I’ll upgrade later for sure.

The bottom I chose is 1/2 holes which is (at this time) the only option for the 920iX. Either way, I would have chosen 1/2″ because I deal with larger shells.

And for the choice of rear, again I need the scoop to filter out larger shells. I see the benefits of the hybrid option though and would consider having both depending on the situation I’m in.

The SuperRugged package I just see as a must unless you want to save a tiny bit of weight. I hunt without wearing water shoes most of the time, so this helps get that full push into the sand.


You might vary your order from mine after thinking about how you hunt. Also consider the 7″ model if weight is an issue or you’re using a smaller coil. Also consider the travel handle or carbon fiber if they are available when you order. Now go buy one already!

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Beach Better Have My Money

Tonight I found a shirt on Etsy that reads, “Beach better have my money.” Etsy Store: MoonlightMakers When my sister and I were kids, Dad took us out in the yard sometime in…

Tonight I found a shirt on Etsy that reads, “Beach better have my money.”

Etsy Store: MoonlightMakers

When my sister and I were kids, Dad took us out in the yard sometime in the spring with a white spaceship on a stick. He showed us how waving it over the ground in a swinging motion caused it to occasionally beep like crazy. That’s when you’ve found something metal in the ground below.

Whoa.

This was an amazing discovery for me. There’s junk buried in our own yard. I already had a fascination with history, so the idea that the land our home sat on could be filled with treasures from another time was thrilling. We found a shotgun casing, Mercury dimes and wheat pennies, and a tray full of metal junk. Cans, nails, keys, steel bits and who knows what else. I was hooked.

Have you ever seen a penny that was clearly hit by a lawnmower?! It’s life-changing.

I kept every bit of that junk for years and years. Then growing into a teenager and young adult seemed to suck the fun out of life in favor of some idea that I needed to focus on finding a college, career, and family. Somewhere along the way, I recycled all the junk in my metal tray and put the useful coins back into circulation.

It feels so sad now! It was many years before I settled into my adultness enough to revive all of the fun activities I enjoyed as a kid.

On March 24, 2012 I bought a Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector and took it into an empty commercial lot for sale in downtown Chicago. It was a big open field next to a Target store and yes, technically I was trespassing. I found nothing but trash, but I felt that same excitement I did as a kid and learned the beeps of my new detector.

Eventually I worked up the courage to be seen on a public beach in Chicago and I found an army of beer bottle caps, can openers, and a coin or two. I traveled with my detector to my parents’ new home, to a friend’s house on a farm, and enjoyed digging up odd little relics and yes, a bunch of trash.

In 2017, I moved to a beach on the Atlantic coast and I can metal walk as often as I want. After Hurricane Irma (September 2017), I cleaned up the hazardous trash that littered the shoreline along with giant mounds of seaweed and coral. Every time I go out, I’m bound to be seen by someone and I always worry they have a negative impression.

“Oh…there’s some crazy person thinking they will find pirate gold on the beach…[eyeroll].”

That’s a bit of the stereotype that I fear. It’s that spaceship on a stick, trash belt, headphones, and all-around nerdy look that we just happen to have. But I’m not out there because I think I’ll discover Atlantis. If you haven’t done it, it probably sounds really silly. I’ve seen skeptics turn from scoffing at a distance, to trailing my every move and getting excited when I start to dig.

Part of the purpose and unwritten code is to clean up and remove the hazards and trash that we find on the beach. Especially for someone like me with a detector that doesn’t distinguish between gold and ferrous metals, I basically dig it all! I find it pretty interesting even if it is a dumb Budweiser can. Nails and boards with super scary rusty screws are a common find. It’s my beach too and I certainly don’t want to step on those things!

I have a feeling this activity is due for a comeback. (Has it ever really had a heyday?) I would welcome the understanding it might bring for a pretty harmless activity for somewhat nerdy people.

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