The Difference Down Under

G’day mate and greetings from Australia!

I know I have not posted a blog entry for a long time, so for that I do apologise – it was not a case that I had stopped metal detecting but rather a case of not finding much… at all!

I am presently working in Perth, Australia ( I know I have moved around a lot, I do feel like a gypsy some days) so I will be blogging from here for a while (until the next move that is)!

So where to begin? Well let me start by telling you that metal detecting is pretty big here, I follow some Australian metal detecting sites online and there are many more active detectorists here than in South Africa. It seems to be a much more common and accepted hobby, lots of online and brick and mortar metal detecting stores and quite a common site to see someone detecting on the beaches or hearing stories of someone finding gold nuggets out in the goldfields.

Although I have done mostly night beach hunts here and have had the beach to myself (well, mostly to myself, will get to that later), I am led to believe that you will find a couple of detectorists hitting the beaches early in the mornings pretty much daily which in turn leaves me with less to find. To add to this, every morning a digger loader of sorts will come and scoop away a layer of sand at most beaches. The challenge keeps on getting tougher! So consider yourself lucky that in South Africa, the land and beaches are almost untouched with lots of goodies up for grabs with minimal “competition” out there.

The other problem I am faced with, which is a good problem in a way, is that it seems the Australians don’t litter as much on the beaches. As much as I am not finding any good finds, I am hardly finding much junk either. The problem with this is that it is highly boring swinging your arm off for hours and hardly getting any signals. This has happened all too often.

I must be honest though, I have always gone hunting at the “wrong time”, either the tides have been high and I am faced with dry sand detecting or too much sand out and about so that has not helped my cause either. I have seen some great cuts (which I have not seen in Cape Town) but never had my detector with me or was not a good time for me to be out detecting. Now that winter is approaching however, I am expecting some big cuts to appear and will hopefully get the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time and a future blog post will reveal what the outcome will be.

The little junk I do find though is mostly bottle caps as drinking is allowed on the beaches. This brings me back to my story about being “mostly alone” on the night hunts, as I prefer to hunt when the beaches are quiet, I am often out at night – but so are those that are either cuddling or drinking on the beach. Once I had the beach to myself except for a couple cuddling on their blanket on the beach and as I approached closer they waved at me and so we started talking. They were a little drunk but very friendly and turned out the girl was also a South African (plenty of us here in Perth). They asked the usual questions as to what I was doing / looking for but all in all were extremely friendly and we said our goodbyes and I continued my detecting. On a different ocassion however, I came across two guys who clearly had way too much to drink and they thought it was time to give me a theory lesson on where I should be detecting – apparently Professor Drunk thought I should take my metal stick and go to the Thames and I will be sure to find some dinosaur teeth! To be honest, it was actually quite entertaining at the time but I quickly brushed them off to continue my hunting – which well, produced nothing. Perhaps I would have actually had better luck searching for those dinosaur teeth after all. I have also on a couple of ocassions witnessed some late night skinny dipping from groups of girls and guys – the things you see at the beaches at night!

Pull tabs seem to be a thing of the past for me, don’t get much of them here but instead we have a circular piece of foil (see picture below). These are on all the Energade kind of drink bottles which you peel off before you can drink out the bottle. Damn the signal of these sound just like gold, luckily I am learning on my CTX what numbers to ignore, however if I ignore them, I don’t have much to dig – its all pretty bittersweet.

 

foil

Fools Gold

While beach detecting, you get a signal, scoop, clear the sand from the scoop and find nothing else but a ring left behind sitting in that scoop – what a feeling, that moment we all as beach detectorists love to treasure…

You quickly gather the ring from the scoop and try to examine it without anyone else around noticing, and what do you see – bingo – an 18ct stamp marked on the ring, Gold! Or is it??

This scenario happened to me last night, well all of it except for the “without anyone else around noticing” part, as my hunting buddy and I had the beach to ourselves. It was because of loadshedding (all South Africans will be extremely familiar with that term but if anyone is reading this from elsewhere, “loadshedding” is basically a term used when your energy provider thinks it’s funny to turn off all electricity in your neighbourhood for at least 2 hours at a time), I had a slight humour failure when I heard my house was going to be in complete darkness for 2 hours yet again and therefore decided to call on my hunting buddy and made plans for a little last minute beach night hunt.

Now the problem with the ring I found last night, was it did not quite look like you would expect an 18ct gold ring to look like. 18ct maintains its gold look very well , yet mine looked rather shabby, in fact so much so that even my hunting buddy had to have his say “Congrats buddy, but erm, you might want to get that one checked out before you get too excited”. You see, we both felt something was not quite right with an 18ct ring looking the way it did. But hey, it had a few small “diamonds” on top, it had the 18ct stamp, I was still deep down determined to believe it was gold.

On arrival back home, I got out my electronic diamond tester to check the little stones on top of the ring – Nothing – certainly not diamonds, this was not starting off well. Next step, I filed away a small portion of the ring in order to scratch away any surface plating in order to test the ring on my electronic gold tester. After filing away, a nice shiny gold patch appeared which gave me a glimmer of hope – but it was very short lived as my electronic tester gave me the big “NA” which is what the machine says when it means “Nice try but no gold here”.

Naturally, there could have been something not right with the machine, I mean how accurate are these things anyway right? So out came the acid test – again, it showed NO GOLD.

So lets summarise – We had our doubts because it did not look like 18ct gold, then the diamond tester said diamonds were fake, then electronic tester said gold was fake, then acid test confimed all above. Satisfied? Not a chance, so today I took it to the jeweller for a professional opinion, I mean after all it did have the 18ct stamp on. The jeweller confirmed it was indeed a fake and admitted that fakes do not happen often but it does happen more often than not. He was real nice though and even gave the ring a free clean.

I came home and cleaned it up some more so I could give you some before and after pictures of the ring and the stamp on the ring. So I guess the moral of the story is, even if you find gold with markings on – perhaps you might want to give it some further inspection, don’t just trust the stamp!

KingDetector - March 3, 2016 - 8:38 am

cool

Fisher CZ21 Review

I sold my Minelab Etrac and bought myself a beach machine since I found myself 99% of the time beach hunting. If the Etrac was waterproof, I would never have sold it but since it was not, the time came to rather invest in a fully waterproof machine, one that would let me venture out into the deep waters with no worries… and even though I was set on a Minelab Excalibur II, due to price and good reviews, I settled on the Fisher CZ21. So now that I have had it for roughly 4 months, its time to post my thoughts on this water machine.

CZ21

I am not going to do the usual standard review of mentioning all the specs of this machine, that can be found easily on Fishers website. This is more about my personal findings about the machine and how it has performed with me so far.

You get a choice of an 8″ coil or the 10″ coil, to which the dealer I bought from only had the 8″ version available so my choice was already made for me. The machine is completely sealed, you cannot change coils so make sure you choose wisely when you first make your purchase. The headphones are also connected as part of the machine, so they are not replaceable. This so far is all good, but the concerns I have are when the headphones pack up one day, it will mean that there is no way to replace just the headphones, I will need to send the whole machine back to Fisher or my dealer in order to get it fixed which is certainly less than ideal – fingers crossed nothing packs up!

Now that I have had a good chance to use the machine, looking back I think I would have chosen the bigger 10″ coil had I been given the choice. There is nothing wrong with the 8″ coil, it finds deep targets and easy to pin point with but I would have appreciated the wider coverage that the 10″ coil offers.

The shaft that is supplied stock with the machine, in my opinion is terrible in every way. It feels cheaply made and the lower rod also seems to be made of a cheap plastic which coming from the carbon fibre shafts and rod of the Etrac, was a big disappointment to me. Not only does it feel cheap but it also feels very unbalanced because of the placement of the unit on top of the handle and makes the machine feel extremely heavy. I would not have been able to detect for more than an hour at most without it killing my arms in stock configuration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think Fisher are well aware of this issue which is why they supply a belt clip where you can take the CZ21 unit off the shaft and attach it to the belt clip to wear around your waist. This does indeed make it much lighter but also comes with its own set of problems. Firstly the cord could get damaged as you should never tug hard on the cord that is attached to the unit and by placing it on your belt, I feel that there is more of a chance that the cord could get twisted or pulled harder than it should. Another big factor when I tried this method was that the back of the top of the shaft would often catch on the unit during my swinging. To alleviate this issue, I had to place the unit further away from my side, more towards either the front or back of my body which again, was less than ideal.

fisher1Luckily there are alternate aftermarket shafts and I ordered myself the Anderson carbon fibre shaft for the CZ21. The quality and workmanship of the shaft is superb and places the unit behind (and upside down) the shaft making it feel much more balanced and much lighter. I can now detect for 3 hours with no weight problems whatsoever. After seeing just how good the shaft is, I have ordered the Anderson carbon fibre lower rod which will soon replace the cheap stock plastic lower rod that I am currently using.

What really grates me about the quality of this machine, is the fact that it was designed for sea and fresh water hunting, designed to be fully waterproof, designed to even go diving up to 250 feet yet there are signs of rust on the machine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the knobs of the main machine, the screws are all rusting… now this may not have any particular negative impact on the machine itself, it certainly is not aesthetically pleasing. Also on the lower rod, the little silver ball that “clips” into the holes of the shaft, is also rusting away. This was another reason I ordered the Anderson lower rod as I don’t expect that one to rust as my Anderson shaft has shown no signs of rust whatsoever (I do believe if I was still using the stock shaft, that it would certainly have signs of rust).

Ground balancing the unit I find rather tricky as well. I have read from other user reviews that each machine is different, even people who own two CZ21’s say that each one sounds and behaves differently. I have watched a youtube clip which makes ground balancing look so simple yet on my machine it seems to be a little tricky. Now this may not exactly be the machines fault, it could well be the mineralisation of the different beaches that plays havoc with me but this is one side of the machine that I find difficult to use. I have tried both the bobbing and the easy method and certainly find the easy method easier but still not easy on the beaches I frequent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The discrimination is top class, with an easy to hear low, mid or high tones. The low tones are generally the iron which I ignore, the mid tones are the gold / pull tabs / foil and the high tones are generally the coins / silver range. The discrimination notches from 0 to 6, where on 0 you will hear all the tones, but I usually leave it on 1 where it will ignore the low tones and only hear the mid and high tones. Anything from 2 and above and you will start missing gold targets so it’s not worth putting discrimination on anything higher than 1.

The volume is great with levels 1 – 5 which will make you hear deep targets as faint tones and shallow targets as loud tones or from 6 – 10 which puts you in “boost” mode and even the deep targets will be enhanced as a loud tone. I often keep my machine on around 7 or 8 and even in extremely windy conditions, have a clear loud volume.

Sensitivity as with all machines, try and run as hot as possible without getting false signals. Sometimes in the wet surf, I often have to reduce very low between 3 – 5 to reduce the falsing which does worry me about what kind of depth I am getting from reducing the sensitivity that low but naturally there will be a trade off of depth but at least the machine runs stable and does still find targets.

There is also the “All Metal” mode which does not discriminate at all, and produces a very different kind of sweeping tone. I often like to hunt in this mode and once a target is found, switch to discrimination mode and find out what kind of target I am over. You can also run the all metal mode with a higher sensitivity with less falsing and therefore should be able to pick up deeper targets. However on certain tests I have done, it seems at times that the discrimination mode picks up deeper targets even at a lower sensitivity better than the all metal mode.

I have found tiny board short buttons at reasonable depths so I am confident that this machine is capable of finding the tiniest of objects at acceptable depths comparable to that of my previous Etrac.

Am I happy with this machine and would I have bought it again if I could go back in time – the answer is yes, loving the waterproofness and the batteries seem to last forever but the Garrett ATX is certainly still high on my wish list.

I have a hunting buddy who seems to find gold and platinum rings often and he uses the same machine, so I know the CZ21 is a capable performer. In my find lists from this machine are coins, chains, watches, rings and jewellery items (mostly junk or silver) – but this particular machine still needs to prove to me that it can find gold.

I bought my machine from MetalDetectors 4 Africa who are the official Fisher suppliers for South Africa – Contact Wolfgang Roux at http://www.metaldetectors4africa.com/

ralph - January 5, 2015 - 3:45 pm

11.7 grams stamped PT950 yeah baby, happy January to me.

admin - January 6, 2015 - 12:49 pm

UPDATE: The machine just found me a gold ring, so its slowly proving itself 🙂

A Beach Hunters Tale – 2014

I don’t often include other peoples articles in my blogs but I came across this one today and thought it would be a really great article to end off the year with.

It is written by a local South African metal detectorist (or treasure hunter as I prefer to call him) who has done exceptionally well this year and who truly inspires me. His name is Henry Clapton and he has kindly given me permission to post his article and pictures. Please enjoy!

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It’s time to look back on 2014 and take stock, not just physical stock but mental as well. Having being detecting for 20 plus years and not taking things seriously; 2013 / 2014 saw a change in my lifestyle. Metal Detecting was one of them. I decided to set personal goals, the beaches being my challenge and finding gold my ultimate goal. Hunting means many things too many people and we all have our reasons for doing and enjoying this hobby. I made finding gold my challenge due to it being so difficult to locate, but also knowing it is there in large quantities. The key and challenge is how to get at it.

This story was not written for bragging rights, but to show you and what is possible. There are many hunters here in SA that have tally’s larger than mine in many many ways. So many factors come into play when we have to show figures and lay the cards on the table. Time and good equipment was number one on my list. Basic knowledge of your quarry, how it behaves and where it lives is a close second. I forced myself to play to a given set of rules and the results were astounding when one applies these rules.

My driving force was not personal enrichment as many would think. It was pitting my skills against the elements and the ever presence of the grinding competition this hobby commands.
It was a good year looking back. I have grown and still am. I had to draw knowledge from great local and international hunters to get to where I am today. The support and willingness to share info and techniques was invaluable and I thank you all. Being able to ask, listen and apply was crucial.

The finds:
In the past I would not record any items of value and had no system of keeping track of my finds. It was time I got organised. In the latter part of 2013 when the penny dropped, I kicked into top gear. Every find of value is recorded, especially gold. Gold and silver are weighed, bagged and tagged. I keep a meticulous photographic record of the days finds. Photos of the location and current conditions came into play on many occasions when returning to a site.

The ever presence of coins was a big speed bump in my book. Dig em out or leave them and cover more productive ground. In 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I was digging an average of R1000 in usable coins per month! I’m down to about R 200 per month now. Eventually I saw the coins as the beaches way of slowing me down. Very cleaver Neptune! I eventually got over my pre-programmed mindset of having to dig coins; it was difficult at first but no more. I’m not here to collect coins. My coin count is ridiculously low for 2014.

2014 Finds:
1 x Platinum ring, 76 x Gold rings, 18 x other gold items (283.2gr in total).
32 x Silver rings (76.8gr), 16 x Silver coins and 47 x other silver items (205.8gr), 2 x Titanium rings.
25KG’s of lead, 954 x pull tabs (yes, I kept them all) and 164 x junk rings.
It is actually quite amazing to look at all the items I kept over a 12 month period. Each item represents a signal and a hole……..that’s a lot of holes!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND HAPPY HUNTING IN 2015 !!

– Written by Henry Clapton, December 2014

Ralph - December 23, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Quite a lot of stuff. I enjoyed seeing the photos as well. Personally I cannot wait to empty my moonbag’s contents into the recycling bag.

Lindsey - January 5, 2015 - 11:00 pm

Hi – I am writing a bit of fiction for a Writer’s Circle I belong to. I am battling to find out what happens to found / buried objects worth quite a bit. My main character in my story is digging for jewellery that was buried by his jewel thief father. Someone told me that you can never trade this in as every jeweller has a record of the precious stones and metal he has in stock. All else has to be declared – so therefore there would be no point to finding buried treasure? Is this so? what happens with the stuff you find? Do you sell it to secondhand shops or jewellers or how does it work? Surely the value would decrease dramatically if it went to a secondhand shop? Thanking you, Lindsey

Marie - August 13, 2015 - 4:47 pm

Of course, it can be surprising as to the extent of what you can find beneath the sand when you decide to travel to the beach. However, if you would try to search underwater, the surprises can be endless.

Youtube Channel

I have decided to make a few metal detecting videos of my digs, so you can watch and subscribe to my channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Mav747/videos

Here is the first one, I look forward to making more videos soon…


 

Gary - June 19, 2014 - 1:38 pm

Well done you posted a great video, thanks mate

admin - June 19, 2014 - 6:11 pm

Thank you, I appreciate the comment.

Ralph - July 4, 2014 - 2:13 pm

Dig that coin.