A modern day treasure hunt …

Ever since we visited the McLarty Treasure Museum (www.atocha1622.com/mclarty.htm) at the Sebastian Inlet State Park just north of Vero Beach two years ago, Alex has yearned to scour the shore for long, lost treasure.

For those of you who don’t know – this area in Florida is called the “Treasure Coast” because in 1715 a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons loaded with gold, silver and jewels was lost in a hurricane on its way back to Spain from the New World. With only six ships discovered, there is an estimated $3 billion dollars of treasure scattered across the ocean floor waiting to be found. Occasionally, a lucky beachcomber will come across a jeweled ring or a coin that has washed ashore.

Last weekend, we borrowed my nephew John’s toy metal detector for Kai and my grandfather’s CoinMaster 3000D (a relic from the early-80’s) for Alex and headed out to the Cocoa Beach pier in hot pursuit. We figured this was the perfect spot for drunken tourists to have dropped diamond rings or jewel-encrusted bracelets.

With the sand between our toes, my two treasure hunters swung their metal batons back and forth hoping to hear a beep. Kai lost interest very quickly and traded the detector for the shovel and pail I brought for him. Alex, on the other hand, was on a mission.

Within about 30 minutes though, he didn’t have any hits and I could see his luster for adventure fading fast.

In the meantime, I planted four metal gold pirate coins for Kai, who found them all with great excitement and pride.

As the sun set and we walked back to our car, the CoinMaster 3000D chirped a few times. I eagerly dug in the sand and over a three-minute period found the treasure of all treasures – three soda-can tabs and one nail.

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