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Treasure hunters discover artifacts unearthed by Hurricane Nicole

Beachcombers find Spanish coins, pieces of shipwreck
Posted at 7:40 PM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 20:20:10-05

TREASURE COAST, Fla. — Right after and — believe it or not — even during hurricanes, there is a group of brave souls who take to the shoreline.

Treasure hunters seize an opportunity to get an even better chance of finding coins, jewels and artifacts from Spanish shipwrecks from the 1700s.

These hunters were busy combing the beaches and unearthing shiny pieces of Treasure Coast history.

Hurricane Nicole's pounding waves and storm surge eroded the coastline. But that also lured Jonah Martinez to the shore in search of treasure.

RELATED: Hurricane Nicole unearths possible Native American burial ground

Jonah Martinez, treasure hunter
Jonah Martinez discusses some of the items he has found while combing the beach after storms.

"When Mother Nature does an event where it takes sand away on an extreme level, that's when you find the stuff," Martinez said. "People like doing this, and that's how stuff gets found, and they rewrite history."

He's got hunting for long-lost coins, jewels and artifacts from Spanish shipwrecks down to a science.

"There's nobody that writes how to do this," Martinez said. "They feel the wind. They feel the rain."

When storms come, he gets to work.

"It's definitely 'go time.' Hurricanes, cold fronts are great," Martinez said. "I take advantage of the change of tides, every cycle during the storm while the storm is going on, as the storm is leaving."

He's had plenty of success over the years finding some of the millions of dollars worth of Spanish treasures.

Kaylee Martinez, treasure hunter
Kaylee discusses the thrill of finding her first Spanish coins on the beach this year.

Now, he's got new company while he is on his hunts. His 16-year-old daughter, Kaylee, has joined him combing the beach.

"Hurricane Ian, that was my first time actually detecting with my dad on the beach," Kaylee said.

Hurricane Ian gave her her first taste of treasure.

"I had never found a silver coin. This was like my first coin ever," she said. "He grabs it out of the pile and we were just sitting there freaking out."

Not only did she find silver but also a gold coin.

"I'm shaking because I'm like, 'There's no way!' Kaylee said. "I opened my hand and there is a little gold coin in my hand. I'm speechless."

So, they hope to keep finding items that Hurricane Nicole brought to the surface. Martinez, his friends and other treasure hunters have found a variety of items over the last two days.

"There were a bunch of old Spanish coins that were found recently, a bunch of old shipwreck pieces, fasteners, different things like that," Martinez said.

He said they're not digging for the value but working to unearth and collect pieces of history.

"This is still real," Martinez said. "This still happens on the Treasure Coast."