Geeky Beach

Geeky Beach

Adventures in metal detecting

Category: Stuff

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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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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Top 10 Metal Detecting Tips & Rules

Kellyco recently posted a great article by Jami Olive – 7 of the Best Kept Metal Detecting Secrets. The 7 secret topics are about clubs, gear, batteries, pinpointers, disappointment, competition,…

Kellyco recently posted a great article by Jami Olive – 7 of the Best Kept Metal Detecting Secrets. The 7 secret topics are about clubs, gear, batteries, pinpointers, disappointment, competition, and checking twice. I thought I would consider their secrets, add a few thoughts, and a few more tips!

Let’s talk about metal detecting clubs

This bit of advice is a good one for most, but some personality types may prefer to go it alone. Have you ever thought, “If I meet other people who detect, they might steal some of my spots!” That’s not really an uncommon thought. After all, if you’re facing competition from other detectorists, it brings up a feeling that someone else might find something before you have the chance. But when you improve your skills, you can find something great even in a place crowded with other detectorists!

Or maybe you’ve had the thought, “I don’t want to feel bad about myself if other people are finding better things than me.” That can be difficult too. Sometimes in clubs you’ll encounter members who always seem to find something good! It might inspire you to go out and learn more, or it could turn you away from the hobby. Which way does it make you feel?

My advice is to never be among those who embellish their find stories. You will have much greater confidence, fun, and respect by always being honest with yourself and others. So if you are looking for some buddies, find your local club and join! Even if you don’t attend regularly, you will meet other people who know your area well and may have fantastic advice and stories to share.

Big Time Gear

Kellyco’s article suggests that bigger isn’t always better, and heavier gear might make you tired quicker. Certainly some people try to “gear up” to look more experienced. If you’re guilty of that, what kind of gear have you purchased that was a mistake? Does it prevent you from spending as much time out searching?

I can admit that when I purchased my handled scoop, I underestimated the initial toll it would take on my back! My muscles went crazy after the first time using it because I was out for hours. But now I have stronger muscles that can support using the tool. It comes down to your motivation. Don’t buy expensive, heavy or bulky gear just because you want to “look experienced.” That’s a recipe for failure. Seek the appropriate tools for YOU! If they don’t work out, consider it education and try, try again.

Extra Batteries

This is just great advice for really any piece of gear for any hobby. In my photography, it is absolutely necessary to carry extra batteries. And just like photography, a finds hunt is an active adventure where you can’t stop and plug a charger into a wall. Depending on your detector, that might mean an extra lithium ion battery or store-bought standard batteries. In either case, it’s a good thing to keep in your bag.

Here’s another thing to consider: A Solar Charger! I have one that I can clip onto my backpack and use to charge anything with a USB connector like my phone or an external battery.

Pinpointers

This one depends a lot on where and how you’re digging. When you’re digging up a plug in dirt, a pinpointer is absolutely going to save you some misery and make it easier to cleanly repair the hole. In coarse or dry sand, it may not be as necessary since a good sifting scoop may work in most conditions. Dense sand or clay will be much easier with a pinpointer for sure. The key is, don’t buy a pinpointer just because you think you “have to.” Get one when the conditions are required for you whether that’s now or in the future.

Discouraging Digs

Sometimes you won’t find anything but pop tabs, especially if you’re in a “dig it all!” mood. I’ve had some shorter adventures like that and it can be pretty annoying in the moment. How do you handle days like that? If you’re in the hobby for the right reasons, you will likely eventually think of it as just a great day out of the house, and a pile of aluminum out of the ground. The posts you see on social media or articles you read about gold finds…those don’t happen every time. It may only happen once or twice for you. If you are looking to find more, you’re going to have to put in a LOT of work! As long as you enjoy it and look forward to some time outside, you’ll eventually get that great feeling of finding something special.

Don’t Worry About Competition

With beach locations, the finds change or move around all the time with the surf. Even in fields, the detectorists you see who beat you there don’t find everything! Dig up whatever they missed. Go slower, dig more. Maybe you’ll find a can full of coins. Those masked signals that other people ignore could end up being your big find.

Always Check Again

This one is pretty easy to agree with – you’ve pulled out something from a target hole…don’t fill it in until you’ve checked again! Sometimes it’s a pocket full of coins, or in some cases the way soil or sand is moved around by water can bring several items into one spot. So wave over one more time to be sure.

Top Ten Tips

So now that I’ve gone through all seven of the secrets that Kellyco provided, let’s add a few more and wrap it up into a Top Ten list!

One thing that’s missing is related to what is a standard practice in metal detecting, but may start to fall away over time if we don’t make sure new people in the hobby keep it up. That is…keep it clean! This refers not only to replacing the holes you create, but cleaning up while you work. Keep a junk bag handy and pick up plastic trash, nails and sharp metals, and make it a nicer place for everyone. I know it can be difficult particularly with plastic trash – some places might just be full of trash. If you are in a spot with a lot, perhaps make a separate trip with friends and have a clean up day or report it to local government to create a pick up day. It’s not always on you because otherwise we wouldn’t have time to dig, but you can help play a part in keeping it clean.

Mind your space. Don’t get close to where other people are enjoying their own time. And if you’re not using headphones, you should keep even farther away. Don’t assume that everyone is interested in what you’re doing and that the beeps will make them want to come talk to you. (For most of us, we don’t want people talking to us anyway.) Keep your distance, respect the privacy of others especially on beaches.

You don’t have to restrict your detecting on beaches to dawn and dusk, but if you are out with others, it’s polite to keep a distance. Rule of thumb: You should have a bubble of space around you as big as an average swimming pool at minimum. Anything less than that and you will risk annoying people. We want to keep this hobby from being discouraged, so if in doubt, more space is better.

The Final Top Ten List

  1. Keep at it – don’t get discouraged by off days.
  2. Keep it clean – it should look like you never dug there, and cleaner than you found it.
  3. Mind your space – don’t get too close to other people and keep the noise to yourself.
  4. Don’t blindly follow advice – not all advice (even from experts) will work for you.
  5. Check it twice! – Just like Santa, don’t forget to check again.
  6. Invest in only the most appropriate gear for you.
  7. But definitely get backup batteries and spare parts.
  8. You might find something the other detectorist missed – don’t let competition fool you into leaving.
  9. Find your own way to enjoy – If you want to talk with others, join a club. You might prefer keeping your own private journal or blog. Follow or use the hashtag #FindsClub on Instagram!
  10. Don’t be a show off – always be honest about what you find and you’ll have a lifetime of fun.

Metal Detecting is for Anyone. Some people have a mental image that is outdated and incorrect. Metal detecting may not be something that everyone will enjoy, but men and women of all ages might love it. Don’t be afraid of the stereotype or let it prevent you from enjoying yourself or just giving it a try.

I will be anxious to see what your thoughts are about these tips. Send me a message or leave a comment below. And don’t forget, I offer metal detecting lessons here in South Florida if you want to learn how to detect and see if you like it!

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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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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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