Birth of a Treasure Hunter by Capt. Daniel Berg
The basics of Metal detecting and Treasure Hunting described by Capt. Daniel Berg
Birth of a Treasure Hunter
By Capt. Dan Berg

I slowly walked parallel to shore neck deep in the chilly water off Long Islands south shore. In my right hand was a
Garret metal detector, my left held a digging scoop behind me was a floating strainer constructed of chicken wire, wood and a motor cycle inner tube. Total concentration was given to listening for small changes in to constant tone omitted through the Garrett's ear phones. I had been walking for almost two hours and had recovered only a small assortment of junk. Suddenly I heard a another soft beep; quickly homing in on the signal I dug through the sand and dumped the load into the strainer. As the sand fell through all that was left was a shinning gold ring, and Gold Fever in my heart.

Let me go back and describe how I got started in the sport of Metal Detecting. For the past fourteen years I have been an avid scuba diver. In fact, my wife Denise, and I have traveled allover the world to explore a vast variety of shipwrecks. We have also done an extensive amount of research finding out the history of each vessel and published this information along with historical and underwater photographs in seven books, Wreck Valley, Shore Diver, Tropical Shipwrecks, Wreck Valley Vol II,  Bermuda Shipwrecks, Shipwreck Diving and Florida Shipwrecks. So you see wreck diving has been a passion of mine, occupying my time as well as my thoughts during almost every waking hour. Our house is filled with artifacts from each of these dives. I have recovered portholes, china, and silverware, even prohibition whiskey bottles from the rumrunner Lizzie D sunk in 1924. Drug ampules, bottles and china from Bermuda's wreck of the Constellation, which was the model for Peter Bencheleys novel, The Deep. I have explored the interior of sunken German submarines and have visited the remains of the tankers they sunk. Luxury liners have given up fine china, while on wrecked schooners I have found dead eyes. By anyone's standards the collection of artifacts from the hundreds of wrecks explored is at the very least impressive.  You can see why it was hard to convince me to go metal detecting on a beautiful summer week end rather than head off shore to a productive wreck site, but that's what Mike did.

I had known of Mike McMeekin for many years. He is a young, thin, muscular man who had himself been a hard core wreck diver.  One day he casually pulled out a small display box containing over twenty gold rings which were found in only one months time. I was simply amazed at the variety and quantity of the treasures he had recovered while wading off old hotel sites and swim beaches. Mike now had my interest and invited me to his house to see his entire collection.  In his house, or should I say Museum he has displays of Indian arrow heads and huge petrified sharks teeth from his river diving years down in the Carolinas. From metal detecting he has old hotel keys, lead toys, brass locks, watches, and old coins but best of all was the collection a gold rings and jewelry. I went home with a mission, Mike had actually invited me to go detecting with him. Now for the gold ! !

Although many people use detectors while they walk the beaches or scan the shallow waves Mikes specialty is researching old hotel and swim beaches. He likes the history and enjoys finding the older antique jewelry. The first step to water hunting is equipment. Because of my diving background I had the
wet suit, boots and weight belt. Other equipment included gloves, a metal detector, strainer and a digging scoop. We would be using the Garrett Sea Hunter's which has a mello-tone for easily spotting targets.  Mike explained that the discrimination knob should be set on zero. On land the discriminator can be used to eliminate junk but in salt water we dig all targets. He also told me the proper way to slowly scan the search coil back and forth and how to pin point an objects position by using an X pattern. I was also told to set the audio level low so I could just barley hear the constant tone. I would then be listening for deep small objects by hearing the audio tone change when passing the coil over the object. Once a target is located I would put my left foot on the spot and then dig up a scoop of sand. Before hauling the sand up and into the strainer I would first pass the coil back over the hole. Only once the target was no longer heard would the  scoop be lifted and dumped into the sifter. With a little practice on the beach with a hidden coin I quickly mastered the basics. Mike also told me we would plan our day around low tide. This would allow us to walk further offshore into more productive areas.

Mike brought we to a beach on Long Islands South shore that had produced a lot of old silver coins and old rings.  We each went out and before long Mike showed me a beautiful gold ring he had found. I noticed that he was finding more targets and digging less than I was. I counted, he was putting seven targets into his bag for every one I dug up. The odds were with him as his years of experience was paying off. After three hours I had a few coins but no gold. Mike suggested heading in, because the tide was pushing us out of the productive area. On the way in he reminded me to listen for the faint deep signals, and said it was my turn for a ring. The next signal came up in one scoop, I looked into the screen but only found clam shells. I walked closer to shore and scooped up another signal. Before lifting the heavy scoop I noticed that the screen still contained clam shells from before. I grabbed it and started to dump them when the site of a small gold ring emerged from under a shell. I had almost tossed a gold ring back into the muddy bottom. To say the very least gold fever hit me like a ton of bricks !. My only concern was when we could go again.  That Saturday morning I met Mike at 4:30 AM and we drove to the same site where we began scanning the bottom at dawn. Unfortunately, the wind had shifted and was now gusting out of the south. We had hoped for a North wind which would have aided the out going tide, allowing us to walk further out. What we got was two to three foot white caps rolling over the small bay. It wasn't too bad, in fact I had a few laughs as Mike, who is a bit shorter than I am, would have to hold his breath each time a wave crashed over his head. I found my first silver religious medallion within five minutes, soon after another gold ring. Mike had only found a penny, he asked if my ring had come from the same area as my first ring two days earlier. It had, and we both went to concentrate our efforts in this 20 foot by 40 foot area.  He found a small religious medallion and I told him that was a sign. I had found a medallion and then a ring so it was now his turn for a ring. I had just heard a signal when Mike yelled. He was jumping up and down in 4 feet of water with a smile from ear to ear. This was a little odd because I had seen Mikes reaction to gold before and it was usually only a passive small smile. Mike had found a1.5 carat diamond engagement ring, he looked at me and said he knew there was a reason he enjoyed this sport so much. The real catch was that in the car on the way to the site Mike had told me he was overdue for a big diamond. If that's not putting in an order I don't know what is.

On Sunday morning Mike found a seiko watch, a gold wedding band and a beautiful gold chain with a gold medallion while working on a North shore beach. I found only a few coins and a cheep stainless steel ring. You can't win them all ! That week I had developed much respect for the experience, but most of all I enjoyed a new friendship developed with Mike McMeekin. Many other hunters would not be as helpful and would have been very secretive with productive areas. In only three days I was transformed from a wreck diver to a treasure hunter. This does not mean that I won't dive anymore. It only means that I'm going to incorporate my love of both sports into one. Therefore enhancing both worlds. I have already used my own new Garrett Sea Hunter XL500 on wrecks in
New York's Wreck Valley as well as in Bermuda, many have never before produced artifacts for me. I  have also swam into deeper water than water hunters can walk in search of gold. Yes I can see that the old saying about old dogs not being able to learn new tricks is not always true. In the words of Mike McMeekin " I love this sport."

For further information on Metal Detecting,
sunken treasure hunting Florida, treasure hunting east coast Florida, pirate treasure,
Treasure Shipwrecks of the Florida Keys, and best rated metal detectors, I recommend contacting one of the local shops. Their are also Metal Detecting clubs and a wide assortment of books on the subject. Aqua Explorers has also produced the following videos of interest to Treasure Hunters. Metal Detecting, Treasure Hunting, Water Dredge and Side Scan Sonar.
Beach and Water
Treasure Hunting with Metal Detectors

A complete how to guide to discovering lost jewelry and coins from the sand and water. Includes sections on dry beach detecting, shallow surf, wading, scuba detecting and shipwreck diving.

only $9.95
6.5 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Beach and Water Treasure Hunting with Metal Detectors is a 70 page downloadable, printable PDF booklet. The text is packed with information and hundreds of color images.

Ever go to the beach and watch a guy strolling down the waters edge metal detector in hand. That guy is not just searching for pocket change. He is looking for and most likely finding treasure. For the purpose of this text we will focus on Beach and Water Hunting. Learn why Metal detecting can be enjoyed as a hobby by those of all ages. Its one of the only activities that can quickly pay for itself while providing the hobbyist with outdoor fun, adventure and exercise. This text defines water and beach detecting into five distinct forms of treasure hunting. Please be aware that many of these types of detecting overlap. For example a beach hunter with a water proof detector will often venture into the shallow surf in search of gold rings and a scuba diver could certainly use his same detector on the dry beach. This text teaches the basics as well as tricks of the trade learned form years of detecting. These techniques make it easy and will greatly increase your productivity. Anyone can discover lost gold and this book will show you how.

This title is now available in soft cover Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.></a></font>
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