You often hear about people saying to dig the “Black Sand” to find gold.
Here’s a hole I threw down on a nearby beach which demonstrates why people get excited about the black sand.
This hole is around 40cm deep and shows the light, fluffy highly mobile blonde sand on top, about 10cm of it.
The lighter sand (predominantly ground up shell) comes and goes readily, and moves with every tide, and even by wind and rain. This stuff is your enemy unless you are collecting yesterdays drops or pulltabs.
Further down, you can see how the sand is starting to become graded as the heavier black sand (rich in iron, manganese and other minerals) migrates downwards, by gravity and micro-vibrations from every single wave hitting the beach…
Finally, at the bottom of the hole, you can see dense black sand sitting hard on the clay bedding on which the beach has built up on. This is what you want to see and where all things will eventually go to hide.
I’ve had a few golds out of this particular clay,a couple were actually recessed into it where they’ve sunk into the clay over time.
Get to know your beach. Pick one or two beaches that you can visit easily.
Visit them at least once a week, take photos of rocks and note which weather / tide conditions expose them, and which cover them. Look how sand moves around headlands, how it builds in one spot and erodes in another.
Dig some test holes to see how deep the blonde sand is. Check each end of the beach as well as the middle - and if you hit rock or clay just under the surface nip back to the car and grab the detector!
Make a mental note of the gradient of the beach - if the gradient lessens, then hunt the top of the beach as it’s a good chance sand has been pulled from the upper beach and deposited further down the beach. Equally, if it gets steeper focus on the low tide mark.
Banks of pebbles and shells can be worth a swing if you’re chasing coins as coins flip around in the waves in a similar fashion and end up tucked in with the larger shells. If you’re only pulling tabs though and foil etc, you’re too high.
Finally - don’t hesitate!
I was swinging before work one morning and found a gutter - Was pulling a ring or a $1/$2 almost every other step!! But being a good lad, I went into work. Back that afternoon (and only one tide) and the gutter was gone. Buried under I have no idea how much sand…Never seen it since (and it’s a regular beach for me). So I watch, and wait…Kicking myself.
Next time, I phone in sick - or at least turn up late!