Beach Detecting After A Storm...

secondcup

Full Member
May 11, 2006
150
0
Seacoast, New Hampshire
As a newbie, I would guess that detecting on a beach after a major storm would yield some pretty interesting finds and results. Can any veterns comment on that? Would this be "prime time" for the detectorist?

Thanks in advance for any cool stories!

:)

SecondCup
 
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wreckdiver1715

Bronze Member
May 20, 2004
1,721
150
Satellite Beach
Detector(s) used
Minelab Excal 1000
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Secondcup, welcome to the Forum. The story you are about to read is from the 2004 hurricane season, and is one of my favorite stories from that year. Enjoy the read.

HURRICANE TREASURE…The Hard Way!
by Bob “Frogfoot” Weller
As related to him by Greg Bounds 2/04/2005

On September 4, 2004, the east coast of Florida braced for the second major hurricane of the season that was going to make landfall somewhere near Ft. Pierce. Hurricane Francis had come ashore just weeks before, and residents were still mopping up the debris and damage that hurricane had caused. It had been a fierce storm, the first to strike the Florida coastline in over 12 years, and Floridians had forgotten the great damage caused by “Andrew,” which rolled over Miami in 1992. As a result, many of the homes along the eastern seaboard were wiped out, but no lives were lost due to the early warning system now in place. When it came to treasure hunting on the beach, the metal detectorists found the local police forces closing off the bridges from the mainland and patrolling the beach to keep intruders away from the many homes that their owners had been evacuated from…and now lay open from storm damage.

On Friday, September 3, the only ominous warning that a major hurricane was heading up the east coast was the fast scudding clouds that closed in low from the east. Television coverage seemed to push aside all normal programming in order to make sure residents that were living close to the ocean had time to make preparations before evacuating. Making another type of preparation was Greg Bounds, a treasure salvor long associated with the Mel Fisher’s Treasure Salvors Group out of Sebastian. It was his intention to be the first on the beach after a hurricane, because that’s when the gold and silver coins from the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet are uncovered. Coins and artifacts are known to have been recovered after every major storm to hit the area, and Greg had in mind a particular spot where he KNEW gold had been recovered in the past by beachcombers.

Greg wasn’t new to the treasure hunting business. He had been a diver with the Fisher group out of Key West and had recovered a gold chain off the Atocha, plus several gold coins off the site of the Santa Margarita. Working with Taffi Fisher’s group out of Sebastian, his greatest recovery to date was two “royal” 8-escudo gold coins valued at over $100,000, dated 1698 and 1713, that he and Clyde Kuntz brought up off shore from the Corrigan site of the 1715 capitana “Regla.” Each year these two divers seemed to be in the forefront of recoveries, digging almost as many holes as veteran John Brandon and recovering some great artifacts. As long as the weather held, they were on the bottom. With hurricanes and bad weather purging the waters between Sebastian and Ft. Pierce during the latter part of August and all of September 2004, both Greg and Clyde became armchair treasure divers, waiting for the weather to clear.

Greg had an understanding with his wife, Cherita, that if hurricane “Jeanne” came as close as “Francis” had, he was going to “camp on the beach.” He tied down everything around his house, bought provisions for both his wife and himself, and packed his two Minelab metal detectors, batteries, camping gear…then called his wife’s friend Jenna and her husband Steve. They lived about two miles north of Wabasso Beach, on the west side of A1A. “If this new hurricane comes ashore tomorrow near us, do you mind if I park my truck in your driveway?” Steve and Jenna said they didn’t mind, they were going to evacuate to the mainland within the next 24 hours.

The hurricane was supposed to strike the coast sometime Saturday evening, and Greg’s reasoning was that if they closed off the island it would happen sometime around noon on Saturday. With that he found himself in Jenna’s driveway at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning, before the sun had a chance to rise…and then hide from the oncoming hurricane. Jenna and Steve had already evacuated to the mainland, and although the wind still hadn’t begun to bluster, the stretch of A1A north of Wabasso was deserted. Greg walked over the sand dune line and sat on the beach and watched the sun come up….the dark clouds were forming to the east and looked threatening. While he sat there the waves began picking up, and gradually the wind built in gusts. He would alternate between sitting on the beach and checking out his truck to make sure it was OK. He had purchased a week’s worth of camping groceries, and they were in his truck. He didn’t know then just how long he would be on the beach. Some kids were already surfing not far from where he was, at the north end of Windsor Estates, but as the waves grew stronger and quite a bit of flotsam began to appear, they gave up or were called Ashore by their parents.

By 5:00 p.m. the waves were now raging and ripping at the beach. By 7:00, a hut that the local surfers had built on top of the sand dune disappeared as wave after wave rolled across the dune line and down towards A1A. And now the rains came, really strong and almost horizontally, and it was getting darker by the minute. Greg estimated the winds at 80 mph before he decided his best bet was within the security of his truck. He had a small B&W TV that he turned on and kept tuned to the weather reports he could track the eye of the hurricane with. By 11:00 p.m. he fell asleep but not before it appeared on TV that the eye of the hurricane would be passing over the St. Lucie inlet within the hour. About 1:00 a.m. he was suddenly awakened when something large struck the windshield of his truck. He turned his headlights on to find the windshield covered in house shingles. Things were then hitting his truck on a regular basis. Jenna’s fence facing A1A had blown over, and a lawn chair, potted plants, a bicycle, and other objects hurtling through the night were bouncing all around. His truck was taking a beating. He thought he saw what was lightning, but it turned out to be several transformers exploding or being blown over and electrical lines snapping. The one concern Greg had was that the ocean waves would inundate the area, and that his truck would become part of the floating debris that was being washed ashore by the huge waves. He was lucky, the water never reached A1A, but it came close.

The wind never seemed to let up, so as daybreak came Greg got his gear together and headed for the beach. What he found was the tide just starting to recede, the dune lines not cut away but cut down, and debris mixed in with a very angry ocean. But he could get onto the beach, and he began walking south towards his target at Corrigan’s Beach, some four miles away. His biggest obstacle at this point was the wind, and it now was coming directly out of the south at 80 mph. He had to hunch over to keep from being blown off his feet, and by staying close to the dune line where the water was now only two or three feet deep, he could avoid much of the debris that was being scattered around by the wave action. The stinging sand storm he was in next to the dune line began taking its toll, so where he could Greg would move out into a bit deeper water. In chest-deep water the danger of flotsam was almost as bad. It was here that he almost lost the battle.

After beating his way along the beach for almost two miles, somewhere near Summer Place, there was a house ripped apart at the edge of the dune line, furniture, TV, household goods exposed and being swept out to sea. Here was a tall, corrugated seawall that was “way out in the water from where it should be.” That was because all the sand around the seawall had been washed away. Greg was faced with his greatest risk because he had to go around the seawall, which meant water up to his chest (or deeper) and gauging waves and nearby flotsam. He had made it around the end of the seawall when he saw a log the size of a telephone pole being carried by a large wave, less than 50 feet away and coming right at him. He was close to the seawall which afforded a bit of protection, and he squeezed as best he could between two scalloped sections and held the Minelab detector vertically in front of him. The log struck broadside, breaking the staff of the metal detector and giving Greg a sharp blow to the chest before the wave action carried it away.

It was scary and caused Greg to rethink his beach approach. He was still two miles from his target, and he didn’t want to get hit by something that would put him out of action before he had a chance to work the area he was after. The water seemed filled with debris that was being thrown around like ping-pong balls in a windstorm. So he opted to walk along A1A as far as he could get, which was Wabasso Beach. Here the beach was gone! The pavilion had disappeared, the beach walkovers were gone, and he hardly recognized a landmark he had visited many times in the past. Here he was able to patch together his metal detector, by exchanging the shaft with the Sovereign Minelab detector he had in his back pack, and he was ready to go again. As he walked along the beach he saw the water had now receded as the tide changed, and quite as bit of the beach was now exposed. The wind had died down a bit so he didn’t have to walk hunched over. As he neared the “Green Cabin Wreck” site he found rocks exposed that had lay hidden under sand for many years. He was able to swing his metal detector over the exposed area but recovered only lead fishing sinkers. Even though there was no one in sight on the beaches, Greg was eager to get to his primary target area, and by 9:00 a.m. he was there, between Seagrape and Turtle Trail parking accesses. It was here that he knew previous beachcombers had recovered some gold coins, and he went to work.

He had worked his way south of the Turtle Trail parking lot, and even though the beach was cut away to the black Pleistocene layer of muck where the recoveries had been made in the past, he recovered only a few lead musket balls. He turned back and began working north beyond Turtle Trail when he hit it! About 20 feet from the dune line he got a resounding hit on the metal detector and had to only scrape down through a few inches of sand to expose a beautiful gold Mexican 4-escudo piece. His frustration from hiking over six miles and dodging flotsam and stinging sand all seemed to leave him as he carefully picked up the gold coin and then quickly looked up and down the beach to see if anyone had spotted him. With no one in sight he raised both arms in the air and let out a “Yahoooo!” The coin was undated, but obviously a 1714 gold coin, and it was as crisp and clear as the day it was minted. He began working closer to the dune line, and soon was right up against it, and that’s where the next gold coin was recovered! This next piece was a Lima 2-escudo dated 1704, a coin that is considered very valuable because of its rarity. In that same area he uncovered a silver half-real, almost as an afterthought.

It was now getting late and he was hurting. It seemed every bone in his body ached, and the stinging sand had left his face like a bad sunburn. Suddenly he realized how thirsty he was. He had forgotten to pack water…and now he felt like someone who had spent a month on the desert. It was 4:00 p.m. and he was four miles from his truck, so he decided to call it a day even though he was in gold country. There was just so much to search, and debris everywhere. He needed a new day and a fresh look. As he walked along the beach there were condos and homes along the way, where the water and sewer pipes had been broken and water was gushing out onto the sand. At that point all he wanted was a fresh drink of water, yet drinking from an unknown source was as dangerous as dodging floating logs. Finally he reached the “Sea Oats” condominium, where fresh water was pouring out of what obviously was a drinking water pipe. He tasted it, and then reacted like someone who had wandered a desert for weeks: he laid down and let the fresh water wash all the salt off his body and clothes. After that it wasn’t so bad. As he made his way back to the truck he tried calling his wife on his cellphone without getting through. Back at the truck it was getting dark and he was getting hungry. He opened a can of raviolis, and that was dinner. The A1A highway was deserted, ghostly, it seemed the entire island had been abandoned. His truck, though dinged a bit was OK. He was exhausted and fell asleep in the front cab of the truck…with a smile on his face.

When he woke up the next morning, Sunday, the sun was breaking through the cloud banks and the wind had died down considerably. He was in a quandary as to where to go. He first drove to the “Cabin Wreck” site, where Kip’s Cabin is located near the wreckage of the 1715 fleet almiranta. Here he found an empty lot a few hundred feet to the south of the cabin where he could park. He walked over to the beach and found that the sand dune line wasn’t cut away as much as the Corrigan’s Beach site had been. It was a quick decision, but he figured his best chances were at Corrigan’s. He drove 2-1/2 miles south to what was left of Wabasso Beach, parked the truck, and began working his way along the beach. He didn’t waste time metal detecting, because he was trying to get to his previous gold hole as quickly as he could. By 8:00 a.m. he was back on site, found the area where he had recovered his first two gold coins, and had begun a systematic search along the dune line. It wasn’t long before his metal detector gave out a loud signal and, by carefully removing a few inches of sand, he had his third gold coin —a full dated 1712 Lima 2-escudo piece. It was within five or six feet of where he had recovered his first 2-escudo Lima the day before. Fifteen minutes later he had another hit and another gold coin, this time a 4-escudo Mexico, undated. He felt he was really in a gold hole now. A minute later he had his fifth gold coin, a real bonanza! This gold coin was a fully-dated 1696 Lima 2-escudo, a very rare coin for that date, almost perfectly round and looking like it had just been struck. It had been a great gold rush for this veteran treasure diver, but that was the end of the gold. He did recover a few silver coins after that, but by 1:00 p.m. he was hurting all over, stiff and sore from the beating he had taken the day before. All this time he saw only one other person on the beach with a metal detector, and they stayed quite a distance apart. Reluctantly he decided to call it quits and headed back to the truck.

Once off the island, he knew he couldn't get back on. The local police were keeping the roads clear and closed to prevent looting and vandalism. So ended Greg’s hurricane experience…and what an experience, finding hurricane treasure the hard way!!

Enrada Publications http://home.att.net/~enrada/
 

wreckdiver1715

Bronze Member
May 20, 2004
1,721
150
Satellite Beach
Detector(s) used
Minelab Excal 1000
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Morning CaptZ, well today is day 2 of hurricane season, and no storms over the horizon just yet!
 
OP
secondcup

secondcup

Full Member
May 11, 2006
150
0
Seacoast, New Hampshire
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
WreckDiver!

Thanks for the great story! What an inspiration! I guess it's time for me to do some research on New England shipwrecks.

:)

SecondCup
 

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
12,686
327
Ozarks
Wow Wreckdiver....that was one of the best stories I have read....Just makes you want to pack up and get out there. Thanks for posting it!!!!!
 

Dave N Japan

Bronze Member
Mar 31, 2006
1,188
536
Japan
Detector(s) used
CZ-3D, CZ-20,CZ-21, F-75 LTD, AT Pro, F-44
Fisher Impulse 8 and 10,
GTA 750 CTX (new)
ADS Master Hunter 7 (Retired)
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Get down there early after a storm....There will be others!!
 

Rob66

Bronze Member
Jun 30, 2006
1,800
7
California
Detector(s) used
Whites new coinmaster-Teso Silver Max-Minelab GT
Get out to the beach about 5am, look for the low and hightide marks and hunt smack in the middle in a zig zag motion.

Sometimes you can find more thaen one target in one spot.
 

midas777gold

Full Member
May 29, 2006
122
6
Don't go AFTER a storm. The best detecting and eye finds is DURING the storm. Waves are big, cuts in the sand are deep, the wind is blowing away tons of sand on the beach. A LOT of coins are standing on little "golf tees" where the wind has blown the sand away around them. Don't need a detector for those. The last storm on Cape Cod, picked up a lot of SILVER coins just that way. Be sure you dress for the storm!!!!!
 

Chagy

Bronze Member
Dec 20, 2005
2,226
115
Florida
Detector(s) used
JW Fishers Pulse 8X
Primary Interest:
Shipwrecks
You can read this stoy and see a picture of Greg and his gold coins in the book....True Stories of Sunken Treasure by Bob "Frogfoot" Weller.....and you can also find great books on Breach MDing in the museums (Mel Fisher and McLarty)


Best,


Chagy......
 
H

HepCat

Guest
Thanks for posting that Wreckdiver!!I had heard about people finding more Spanish gold there after the '04 Canes but had not seen that particular article/story.The whole 1715 fleet story is what made me finally get a metal detector.
Midas777: Don't know how the storms are where you live but YOU DON'T GO OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF A CAT 3-4(?) 'CANE ON THE BEACH AND EXPECT TO LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT.MIGHT WELL BE THE LAST FOOLISH MOVE YOU MAKE. :o
The guy in the article was taking a BIG risk in 80mph winds. 8)
 

lou423

Hero Member
Dec 14, 2005
505
8
S.W. Tennessee
Detector(s) used
Tesoro. Minelab. Fisher.
I have been three times in the last three years on the beaches
mentioned in this story but never found anything of value.

The secret then is to be there while the storm is either still going or just after the bad weather is dying down.

Great story, I think I have read this story some time ago, but without so much detail.
 

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