Monday, October 10, 2011
Several weeks have passed since I first happened upon this mysteriously battered, verdantly patinated copper tube on a secluded stretch of Northern California beach. Those curiously folded ends surely concealed some wonderful prize, but what? Diamonds? Gold? A treasure map sealed in wax? Before opening the tube, I allowed some time to pass during which I could do a little research and pose the question of "What is it?" to my knowledgeable team of FinderMaker followers.
Alas, the tube seems to be a mystery all around, though a co-worker had a rather alarming theory: that it had washed up from one of several offshore radioactive waste disposal sites in the vicinity of the nearby Farallon Islands. He may have been kidding, but after looking into the matter, I found that radioactive materials are sometimes encased in copper, as it is a very stable metal that is resistant to corrosion. I had the tube with me at work, and was suddenly very concerned that I was exposing myself and everyone around me to radiation. Thankfully, it was nearly the end of the day, and my geiger counter was ready and waiting to deliver the final verdict back at the house. The results were.... Negative. No radiation, thank goodness.
With that scare out of the way I decided that it was time to carefully open one of the folded ends and find out what was concealed within! The ends had developed some nice bright new coloration as saltwater leaked from within and evaporated on the surface.
I wrapped a portion of the tube in canvas to protect the surface, then secured it in a vise.
I had a variety of tools on hand; I was able to wedge the tip of a small chisel in the seam of a fold and carefully pry open the seal.
For the first time in who knows how long, the interior was exposed, and I was able to get a look at what was inside (please let there be diamonds hidden in that dirt!)...
Sadly, no diamonds. No gold. No treasure map encased in wax. Just dirty old gravel.
I let the gravel sit out to dry then saved it in a jar. The mysterious tube sits on the bookshelf, its ends once again neatly closed. Am I disappointed? Yes. Deeply. But that won't discourage me from hunting for treasure, in fact, I'm about due for another trip to the coast!