When I was a kid back in the fifties (1950's not 1850's) only place to get out of the summer heat was to go swimming. There were only a few places we could go. The river was one spot, but mom didn't like us going there, she said there was too much current and we could get hung up in a snag and drown. The dredge ponds were another spot, but they were no fun, thats where the old people went. But the canals, now there was a spot. The water was fast enough to be fun and keep the old people out, and no snags to drown you, that kept mom happy. And a bridge to jump off of, how could it get any better than that?
People were swimming in these spots for years before me and continued for years after. Once I started metal detecting, I couldn't help but wonder how many rings (especially gold ones) were lost in those swimming spots over the years. This was the weekend I decided to find out.
The spot I picked to try this weekend was one of the popular spots. Everyone liked it because it was closed to town and on a road that wasn't used very much. What made it even better, the bridge was only 30 or 40 feet from a very sharp turn in a road. That made what little traffic going threw have to slowdown for the corner.
In a winter they shut off the water to the irrigation canals, they don't dry up completely but what little water is left is only a couple of inches deep and is just a puddle here and there.
Saturday morning I blew the dust off my coin detector, and headed out . When I got to the swimming hole I discovered I was a bit late, they were starting to fill the canals. One more week and a spot would have been underwater. It wasn't too bad yet, but I could only detect the sides and not the center of the canal.
Once I started detecting I noticed there was a lot more trash than I'd expected. The only area I was able to detect was behind the abutment of the bridge. This area would be a back eddie when the canal was full, and just like the river, that's where everything drops out. After I removed a dozen or so beer cans I was able to find all the discarded bottle caps.
Once I remove those items I couldn't now detect the smaller targets. I finally got my first good signal. The detector indicated it was a quarter. Locating a target with all the clamshells and small gravel was tough. But after a few minutes, I had a silver quarter. It wasn't the gold ring I was looking for, but almost as good.
I was surprised on how fast the canal was coming up. I've been there for about two or 3 hours and water had come up about 6 inches. A few more inches an area I was working would be underwater. I was able to work for about another 1½ hour before the area was just getting too wet. Regrettably I had to call it a day.
I ended up with 23 coins and one ring. The ring is not marked and is very light, I think it might be made of aluminum. I picked up four quarters, three of them silver. Four dimes, all of them silver. Four nickels, one of them a buffalo. Ten pennies, all wheats but two. And one coin, I am unable to tell what it is. I think it might be a nickel, because its the same size as one. I'm going to put it in the ultrasonic cleaner, maybe then I can learn what it is.
All in all not a bad day. A 5 minute drive - no gold - but 7 silver coins. Thats a good day in my book. Speaking of books, yes - that spot is in my book of places to go next winter when they shut down the canal again.
I wonder how much trouble I would be getting too, if I got caught dredging it this summer?