Beachcombing and Treasure Hunting

Legend has it that the dread pirate Blackbeard sailed along the Jersey shore.  Blackbeard was a fierce warrior who went out of his way to make himself seem as frightening as possible!  He dressed in greasy animal skins, so as to look like a hulking bear.  He tied ribbons into his beard and hair, so they stuck out at all angles, making him look wild and crazy.  He stuck cannon fuses into his hat and let them smolder, surrounding him in a cloud of grey smoke.

Blackbeard had a very particular method of protecting his treasure.  Whenever he buried treasure, he would bury a crew member alongside the treasure chest.  The ghost of the slain seaman would protect the treasure for all eternity!  (Some storytellers argue that it was not crew members but slain wives that Blackbeard would leave behind; legend has it that the man had thirteen wives!)

The old stories also say that Captain Kidd sailed the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey.  As the story goes, he met and fell in love with a young Jersey lass, and planned to run off with her.  Captain Kidd began stealing treasure from his own crew (a definite pirate no-no!) and hid it somewhere on the coast of south Jersey.  When the crew found out he was stealing treasure away, they declared a mutiny and gave the local authorities a lead on where to find Kidd for trial and hanging.

Whether or not you find Blackbeard’s treasure or Captain Kidd’s riches for his beloved, the Jersey shore is a great place to go treasure hunting!  In all honesty?  There probably isn’t much in the way of pirate treasure hidden in the beaches.  But you never know.  It’s the thrill of the hunt that makes things more fun!  There are several ways you can go about it.

The HOLES Approach

Pick a spot and dig.  Who knows, you may turn up something besides the random soda bottles someone forgot to take off the beach.  If hole #1 doesn’t work out, dig another one.  And another.  And another.  Did you see that movie HOLES?  It’s sort of like that.

This method is absolutely random.  You’re probably not going to find much of anything, but sometimes digging a hole to nowhere is fun!

The Map Approach, or Semi-Scientific Approach

If you buy into the whole buried treasure thing, you can grab a local map and investigate the waterways.  Semi-scientifically speaking, treasure is heavy.  Pirates aren’t going to carry it TOO far inland.  If you want to get even more scientific, figure out how much gold could fit in a chest and then figure out how far it could reasonably be carried.  (Don’t forget to factor in the motivational power of a good whipping!)

This method uses a touch of logic but is still pretty random.  Again, the thrill of the search is probably the most exciting part.

The Metal Detector Method

You may not find buried treasure if you bring (or rent) a metal detector… but you’ve got a decent chance at finding stuff like loose change, lost jewelry, and maybe even that gem of the seashore, soda can tabs.

As far as getting rich quick… well maybe if you find someone’s long lost wedding ring, you’ll get a reward.  Otherwise, keep in mind that beachcombing is a nice way to unwind, do a little walking, and get some fresh air.  And that’s probably the most you’ll ever get out of it.

Don’t let that stop you from trying, though… to this day, no one has ever found Captain Kidd or Blackbeard’s treasure!  Lots of places will rent metal detectors; check with the folks at your hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast for more info, or open up the phone book.

And if you DO happen to find a fortune, me hearties, kickbacks will be accepted in care of this website.  YARRR, MATEY!