[meteorite-list] Treasure Hunt Report
From: Michael L Blood <mlblood_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Oct 28 02:06:27 2004
Greetings List Friends,
I recently had quite an adventure I would like to share?
As you all know, Florida was hit by 3 storms in rapid succession
recently and Greg Hupe, who just moved there reported on his metal
detecting on the beach having researched the areas where coins have
been recovered from the famous Spanish Fleet sinking off the coast
Eleven of twelve ships went down and to this day, following major
storms, silver pieces of eight are sometimes found (reales, or "pieces
of eight") . On very rare occasion, a gold doubloon has been recovered
(a two escudo coin). You may recall, Greg reported to the list he had
found one of each. When I got the news I contacted him and asked
how he would feel about my friend and I joining him for a 4 day
weekend. He was up for it and my friend, Cecil & I were off. (Cecil
is my partner who clerks all the Tucson Auctions for me).
I was able to schedule a flight leaving 5 hrs after my last class
on Wed. and returning less than 2 hrs before my first class on the
following Monday (2 days ago), meaning I missed no teaching time?..
We flew all night with little sleep until the last 1.5 hr leg from
Atlanta. Greg picked us up at the airport and we drove directly to the
beach and searched until dark (about 5 hrs). The islands that line the
coast had been torn apart, with pieces of roofs, etc, piled in huge stacks
hither and thither. Fences, trees, homes, etc, ripped apart. Other places
looked fine?.. a strange landscape.
The beach, itself, had been eroded 8 to 15 feet (which is the
reason the coins could be found, as over the many years, those at or
near the surface had previously been discovered). The beach took on
a surreal appearance as a result. I spent many hours reflecting on what
it was like for the Spanish survivors ? and immediately after, the
members of the encampment that spent two years trying to recover
what they could from the wrecks.
The following 3 days, we searched from dawn to dusk, save one
late afternoon when high tide drove us off the beach an hour early.
We froze water bottles each night and packed them down to the beach
with some beef jerky for sustenance and stayed throughout the entire
day, as it is quite a hike to and from the car.
It was intermittently horribly hot, then soaking rain, then gusty wind,
etc. However, anything was better (to me, anyway) than constant heat.
I got to the point I thought my arm would fall off ? both arms, as I had
learned to swing my detector left handed after the first day to relieve
my right arm. Fortunately, our unceasing work was rewarded with no
less than two coins on any given day, and on one occasion, four.
Greg & Cecil were as tired as I and we slept like stones each
night. As I told Angel, I wouldn't work that hard for $50 an hour!
Out of all this, came 9 pieces of eight ? 3 each. I have been metal
detecting off and on for about 25 years ? and Cecil and I have gone to
the desert periodically for many years to hunt areas we have researched
for historical occupation ? until now, the oldest coin we had recovered
was a 1918 penny. Now: we had 3 each of pre 1715 silver coins - thanks
to Greg and his generous hospitality.
By the last day, the beach had risen considerably and the
likelihood of further finds had diminished greatly ? even if we HAD had
the time, so, on that last day we left before sunset. (Believe me, if we had
been finding gold coins, I would have phoned in sick!).
Each day we were there the number of other detectorists diminished,
from about 20 the first day to only 2 or 3 the last day. One of them told me
he had been searching that beach since 1965 and has NEVER found a gold
coin. Greg found one before I ever came out and he worked incessantly
while Cecil and I had to take increasing breaks as the days wore us down.
Greg's unfailing work, determination and persistence paid off big and he
included me and Cecil in on the treasure hunt. We are greatly indebted
to him for his super hospitality and generosity.
Hope you enjoy the photos:
Best wishes, Michael
Received on Thu 28 Oct 2004 02:05:30 AM PDT