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Calif. beaches.
Topic Started: Nov 7 2016, 06:01 PM (391 Views)
Ed B Diggin
Advanced Member
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As many of you hunt beaches fairly regular. Who here actually gets into the surf? I realize our surf is pretty rough and very difficult to detect. Some bay type areas and at different times the surf is calm. So Who here actually spends any real time in the water ?
I personally enjoy beach hunting a lot but don't live close enough to get there very often. Just a curious inquiry. Ed B Diggin
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Tom in Salinas
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Ed, Sorry for the long response, but here goes:

At one time, decades ago (early 1990s) , I had grand images of "how good it must be" off-shore, out beyond the water's edge (at lowest tide). Because naturally "no one ever detects out there". Hence it must be "loaded with targets" right ? Because the average md'r tends to stick to the inter-tidal zone, and not "fight waves" and/or "wade", etc... Right ?

So with this image in mind, I enrolled in scuba diving classes and bought an underwater metal detector. SIMPLY CONVINCED that I would soon have carte-blanche to un-tapped reservoirs of coins and jewelry waiting to be harvested. It would be like "virgin beaches" afterall, since .... at most .... persons might attempt wading. But *certainly* weren't scuba diving for fumble fingers losses right ? Thus is only made sense that there was goodies galore "just beyond where mere mortals had ventured".

But I was in for a rude awakening. I graduated from scuba class, and rushed out to various beaches and coves, where 100+ yrs. of frolicking beach-goers had gone. But once out underwater . 10 ft. or more deep which is CERTAINLY beyond the lowest low tides, and where no one had ever detected, yet where scores of people swim. But alas, an occasional memorial here. And an occasional dime there. And ... woohoo, even a silver earing. And I recall one good signals that I fought for 10 minutes to retrieve. Trying to "stay on target" and fight the currents from moving me around. And fighting poor visibility (d/t the moment you start digging, you create clouds of silt and now you're blind). Finally, at a foot deep ... (drum roll), a freshly lost foil juice pack !

So I started looking around underwater more closely. And it became clear to see, that the undersea world is JUST AS PRONE to sand movement, as the above-water inter-tidal zone is. Hence just as it's totally possible (in fact .... more likely so most of the times ) to be "sterile", SO TOO is the underwater world just as prone to sand fill and sand erosion. Ie.: there are "dunes" underwater, so-to-speak. So unless you're planting yourself on an eroded zone, you have no better odds underwater, as you do above the water's edge .

And the time and energy to get a single hour of underwater time is expensive. And the recovery process of each target is time-consuming (not as easy and standing on firm ground). And each day as I arose and took stock of my fortunes, I was forced to admit I could have done just as well (if not better) by simply having detected the above-water beach. My eyes are trained to know the "norms" of the inter-tidal zones of all our beaches. So I can stand at the parking lot above, look down, and know *exactly* where to go. Not so easy underwater, as your visibility might be limited to 30 ft ? And without knowing "norms" as that's not normally something you're accustomed to "seeing every day", it was just a total crap-shoot.

SO TOO would I liken the "wading" potential of our open-facing oceans here in CA. I am going to surmise that you will no better odds there, than to simply be on the inter-tidal zone (when all things are equal as to daily norms of sand movement). In other words , it's not a "given" that it will be any better "in the wading zone", as it might be "at the inter-tidal zone".

Sure, there might be days where, in fact, the "hot spot" is indeed at waist depth. But it could just as easily be in the intertidal zone too. I've seen many days where the "hot spot" is right along the foot of the cut (and the water's edge , and further out, is sterile). And I've seen days when the "hot spot" is a mid-tide line, yet sucks higher up or lower down. So there's simply no magic to "wading" on our open facing beaches.

And to the extent where a certain day's "sweet zone" might in fact be out in the surf (requiring wading), you can IMAGINE the hardship you will face. Unless you're there on a day of placid calms, you will simply be knocked down and battered about, fighting for any signal you get.

So the successes you've heard of wading, snorkeling, and scuba, are more likely to be lakes and still-water bodies. Where the "floor" is unchanging. Ie.: not subject to the fills and erosion cycles of regular open facing ocean beaches. Perhaps another exception would be inlets and calm-water bays, that, again, are not subject to the same factors. But even then, ocean bays (no matter now "calm" and protected from the open ocean swells) , also get subtle erosion and fill.

JMHO.
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Ed B Diggin
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Thank you Tom. Great point of view your hard work and efforts will defiantly help me. I am not interested in diving only wading in and out during low tide events. looking for washouts and low areas. I know our surf is rough and I am to old to fight it. My imagination tells me if I am finding heavy targets in the wet sand when erosion is evident maybe getting into the water will give me a little better odds :think: . In any case if weather and surf conditions are acceptable I will probably give it a try .

Thanks and if I find anything worth posting I will , Ed B Diggin
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bklein
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Yesterday I hit the Montage beach. I normally find just about nothing there. Less people than Aliso and no fire pits. It was low tide and small waves most of the time. I normally work the wet but can't get close to the waves as they kill me. But this time theyvwere really small so you could go anywhere. i could see the sand patterns underwater. I could search in the water. The most quickly obvious thing is that moving my CTX around underwater is nuts - too much resistance in the water and my arms remind me today. Second is my homemade shovel is not good at all in water. I would need a scoop - a smaller one than I had before. The targets that I hit were about a foot or two from where the waves (small) would hit. Down a foot or so. I must have looked like a total fool fighting them to try and bring the shovel full of sand to the beach to search through with my propointer. I was finding rings and earrings but all were junk. I think few of the rich patrons of the hotel venture down the steep walkways and many that do come are locals wanting (with less expensive jewelry). Probably the best stuff is on dry sand but lots of guys search there every day. So I think there could be a band to work underwater perhaps advancing from low to high tide where the waves hit but always go when swells/waves are 1 foot. Most of the time they are 4-6' and kick the good stuff up the beach and you sneak in, dig fast, and back up quickly. I am convinced steep beaches like mine are too much work and shallow get more people in the water and more targets. On shallow you are maybe in the water a foot or two searching and need a scoop. On steep you are working quick and want to dig the deepest and grab the most material and get up the beach so my shovel works well there. I guess if you want to try working in the water you will need a lightvweight setup like surf pi with small diameter shaft that moves quicker. So don't work in front of a firepit area... I tried searching the water side of the break but couldnt really move the detector well - on top of just detector resistance there was always a strong swell movement back or forth. I didn't detect any targets there while trying either. Kind of need a faster sweep pattern than I could manage. Tried pinpoint but it tends to always need to be reset every 30 seconds or so - one thing I hate on the CTX.
Edited by bklein, Nov 15 2016, 07:36 AM.
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Ed B Diggin
Advanced Member
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Thanks bklein. I have been in fresh water with my CTX and know about the slow sweep. I don,t mind going very slow. I went to Goleta yesterday and it was all sanded in very few targets and nothing heavy. Did't get in only wet sand, stopped at Santa Barbara and the same conditions. :comfort:
At least I got to go detecting with a friend.
Ed B Diggin

Do Good Feel Good / Do Bad Feel Bad .
CTX 30/30 , Explorer SE .
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