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Memorial Day Beach Hunt 2012

Posted by on June 2, 2012
James and Ed searching the wet sand

James and Ed searching the wet sand

The last place most people want to drive to on Memorial Day in New Jersey is to the Jersey Shore. Yes, you want to BE at the shore, but you don’t want to drive there. Not on this day, or on any summer holiday, or any Friday night or Saturday morning. Nor do you want to drive home from the shore when a summer weekend (in this case, a holiday weekend) comes to a close. You’ll most likely sit in bumper to bumper traffic watching the tan you worked so hard on slowly leave your body, taking with it any sense of relaxation and happiness. But when you’re up before the roosters and home before a sleeping baby rises to rule your day, it is doable for sure. Or should I say, for shore.

A few days before the weekend started, James gave me a heads up that he was planning an early morning beach hunt near his family’s shore house. Interesting… how early? He said he’d be on the beach by 5:30am, and off by 8:00am. I had to be there with him. Since we’d be out in the sand so early, I could easily get back in time to attend to my waking baby and give my wife a break. Not only is she a full-time mom, but she also takes the night shift AND supports my many hobbies. I am truly blessed. Yet I continue to remind her, jokingly, that any gifts she gets from my from now on are contingent upon my FINDING them. I’m such a gem.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, I haven’t been able to get out much because of my little girl. She’s awesome, but my hobbies are suffering big time! So the days leading up to Memorial Day had me on edge. My excitement was amplified as James and I Skyped daily about our upcoming adventure. Mind you, although submersible (my ACE 350 partially; James’ AT Pro completely) our detectors are NOT meant for wet sand/ocean. But we knew we’d try anyway.

Knowing I would be waking up at 4:00am, getting to bed Sunday night was a tad rough. I’m not a good sleeper by nature, and when I know I have to wake up early it’s even worse. It’s as if I don’t trust my alarm. So, I have no idea how much I slept, but my alarm went off as set, and I was up! I managed to pull out of my driveway at exactly 4:10am and I was on the road. Let’s do this!

I arrived at James’ shore house on schedule at 5:15am, and we were on the beach by 5:30am. To my surprise, we weren’t alone. We were, however, the only metal detectors. Also getting a head start on the day were a few surfers, joggers, and a small morning coffee and paper group. I was so amped to get on the sand that I left my Pro Pointer in the truck. Oh well, I didn’t think I’d need it since I had my plastic sand scoop.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was just peeking out from the horizon and the sky was illuminating a warm amber hue. James cousin Ed accompanied us, and acted as James’ personal digger. Must be nice. We split up and started our search. And all was… quiet. Very quiet. When each sound of a wave embraced the shore I hoped it brought with it a find. But still, all was quiet. I was on zero discrimination and a medium sensitivity. For all the flak New Jersey gets for its polluted beaches, this one was pristine. Not a whole lot of trash… and not a whole lot of clad and jewelry.

Grant's finds for the day.

Grant's finds for the day.

Our dry sand search didn’t return much. A few clad coins, some metal pieces that seem to have once been part of a pier or other structure, some nails, and some foil, pull tabs, and bottle caps. Knowing we didn’t have ocean-ready detectors, we had to try anyway. I took my Garrett ACE 350 into the wet sand and still kept my zero discrimination. I moved my sensitivity to level 3 (anything  higher resulted in a lot of false hits; anything lower didn’t result in anything). To my 350’s credit, when it hit, it was spot on. Sadly, all I pulled out of the wet sand was pull tabs – and one mystery object. I thought it was a shell, but James’ Pro Pointer helped to locate it. On my 350 it rang as a quarter/dime; on James’ AT Pro it rang as copper. See the attached photo below… any clue??

What are you???

What are you???

The time had come for us to pack up for the day. Of course, we always keep our detectors on and scan the ground until we get to the car or pavement. On our walk back I scored another dime, and James another quarter. We showered off our feet and our coils, and I was back on the road by 8:30am, home around 9:30am. Jumped in the shower, and as I got out my little girl greeted me with some cries and a demand to be fed. Later I showed her my finds for the day, and although she could only make a grimace, I knew she was stoked at what would soon be in her piggy bank!

Until our next adventure… keep digging!

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