By STEVE HATHCOCK
Special to the PRESS
Sitting down in a swimsuit or summer shorts is a sure fire invitation to spill pocket change all over the surrounding area, so when I am beach detecting, I always run my detector around beach umbrella rental set-up sites.
Many of the dune crossovers in the town of South Padre Island have benches near the entrance leading to the beach. Run your detector around the base. Search the ground especially carefully behind the bench.
Pay particular attention to any cracks in the cement. Oftentimes, rain will wash valuables and trash alike into these concrete crevices. When cement is laid in sections, large gaps called expansion joints are left between the sections to allow them to naturally expand and contract without cracking. This is the perfect spot to hunt for valuables. Usually they’re relatively wide and deep so it’s a good idea to carry a sharp knife or digging tool.
One of my favorite Island hunting spots is the stretch of shore near the south jetties. You can access the beach anywhere within the city limits and walk south, but if you wish to drive a vehicle there, you must enter through a tollbooth at the entrance to Isla Blanca Park. This is an area that is used heavily year-round. I have seen bags full of jewelry, coins and other “treasures” that had been found there by a professional hunter who spends the latter part of the summer hunting the beaches of South Padre Island.
Where do all those overlooked coins and pieces of jewelry that fall in sidewalk gutters go when it rains? Storm drain outlets are often overlooked by the beginner. Eventually, all that water goes somewhere. Everything on the surface gets washed along with the rain water into the storm sewers. Once you locate the outflow, usually along a river, you’ll find an outcropping of cement that slants into a moving stream or washout area. These areas are best hunted as soon after a good gully washer as possible. I’ve heard of substantial finds in Austin and other places in the Hill Country.
Good luck, and please, carry a small bag to collect pop tops and other garbage. There’s nothing worse than throwing it back for the next guy!
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