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Hunting for Treasure With Diver and YouTube Star Jake Koehler

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JAKE KOEHLER is in Helen, Georgia, clad in full scuba gear, dead-man floating in a shallow part of the Chattahoochee River. He’s hoping to strike gold, ideally within the type of a marriage band. However the host of the favored YouTube treasure-hunting channel, DALLMYD—pronounced D-Almighty—would accept absolutely anything. Even a misplaced cellphone would suffice.

In hotter seasons, this stretch of the Chattahoochee is crowded with tubers. However right now, Koehler hasn’t seen many individuals on the water other than his cameramen, Beau Darkens and Joseph Talerico. With their camouflage wetsuits, bug-eyed cameras, and metallic detectors, they seem like a band of misfit superheroes.

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Simply when it looks as if the morning may be a bust, Koehler emerges, victorious. “You’re by no means going to consider what I simply discovered!” he says, pausing to intensify anticipation. “A penny!”

Koehler may be taking part in up this mock discover, however his enthusiasm over even the tiniest discoveries is contagious. Throughout his waterborne expeditions—that are as more likely to happen in drainage ditches as precise rivers—he’s found gold, human stays, diamonds, tombstones, a Rolex, knives, megalodon tooth, laptops, and drones. “You by no means know what you’re going to search out,” he says. “It’s the not realizing that pulls me.”

Koehler, 27, started posting movies to YouTube in 2011, principally about gaming. However in the future as he was paddling down the Chattahoochee on his surf board, he took a pair of goggles alongside and located himself amazed on the universe of detritus he noticed beneath the river’s floor. Quickly after, he discovered a working GoPro within the river and commenced filming his adventures, altering the main focus of his channel. In 2016, he got here throughout a pistol and known as the police to report a possible homicide weapon; later the cops knowledgeable him that the weapon’s serial quantity had been scratched off, furthering his suspicions that it may need been concerned in against the law. The associated video—that includes meditative underwater sequences and fist-pumping moments of discovery—went viral, reworking DALLMYD into one of many top-ranked sports activities channels on YouTube. Koehler now boasts a library of greater than 500 movies and practically 10 million subscribers.

Koehler with a scooter he discovered whereas diving with the Navy. Courtesy of Jake Koehler

DALLMYD is about dogged pursuit of the sudden. And Koehler is an ideal information for the journey—the kind of one that can spend hours scuba diving in icy, knee-deep water, on the lookout for gold however realizing that he would possibly solely provide you with a penny. Each onscreen and off, his enthusiasm is tough to withstand. In 2018, Columbus, Georgia, declared Jake Koehler Day. In 2019, the U.S. Navy, calling Koehler a “treasure-hunting guru,” invited him to hitch them in a seek for explosive ordinance in San Diego. He has accepted viewer invites to Canada and the Bahamas. One fan even took him on a ship journey down the Amazon. Alongside the best way, Koehler has earned sufficient from the YouTube platform to purchase a condominium in Columbus, overlooking a large part of the Chattahoochee.

Again on the river, time passes slowly. A number of ft from the place Koehler is floating, the 2 cameramen have hunkered down in a wooded space, ready for him to emerge with one thing, something.

Out of the blue, Koehler hollers: “I did it!”

The cameramen hop to consideration, trotting up the river towards Koehler, who’s holding up a marriage band. He turns enthusiastically towards Talerico’s digital camera, saying: “I braved the chilly, and I received a hoop!”

He runs a finger alongside the band’s easy inside. Be it nickel, metal, or gold, it’s clearly an merchandise that, sooner or later, the proprietor meant to maintain perpetually. That alone makes it a banger, sufficient to anchor a whole nine-minute video. Koehler slips the ring right into a bag secured to his waist. “OK,” he says. “Let’s get again down there.”

THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER flows via the middle of Helen, a vacationer city within the Chattahoochee Nationwide Forest, about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta. Because the crew approaches a public river entry resulting in their subsequent search, a person flags them down in entrance of a lodge. “Hey, wait a minute!” he shouts, pointing at Koehler. “I acknowledge your face! You discover weapons and stuff within the water!”

On lodge balconies above, individuals start to emerge from their rooms to hold over rails. A small crowd quickly types alongside the riverbank. “Every part’s private with Jake,” Darkens says, as Koehler presses small finds—lures and cash—into kids’s palms. “He’s all about positivity in a world the place negativity and drama are inclined to rule.”

Koehler spends the afternoon facedown within the water with oxygen tanks on his again. Onlookers cheer as he periodically surfaces with scratched sun shades and different detritus. It’s solely later, in fading mild, that Koehler decides to name it a day. Because the trio begins the stroll again to their lodge, the driving force of a pickup truck stops and motions for them to leap in. A mile down the street, within the parking zone of Koehler’s lodge, the driving force jumps out and says, “We thought that was you. Can we get an image?”

Regardless of the incessant recognition—whether or not on riverbanks or roadways—it’s nonetheless putting when, later that evening, the 15-year-old cashier of a restaurant virtually tears up when Koehler walks via the entrance door. “I’ve been watching you since I used to be 10,” the child says. “I can’t consider you’re right here!”

Exploring a spring in Florida.
Exploring a spring in Florida. Courtesy of Jake Koehler

As a brand new breed of YouTube celeb, Koehler has no studio, no label, no crew. If followers run into him, they know there’s an opportunity they’ll develop into a part of his recorded narrative. “It could get a little bit bizarre generally when individuals I’ve simply met begin speaking like they assume we’re household,” Koehler says. Then once more, that’s how he tends to deal with them.

Again exterior, the evening has cooled. Koehler says, “I believe I’m going to return and provides that child one thing. I imply, he was crying.” Within the cab of his truck, he types via the finds of the day, however he’s already given away many of the objects he discovered. Unhappy with what’s left, he begins going via his tools luggage. “I believe I’m going to offer him my vest,” Koehler says, holding up a black life jacket
together with his identify embroidered on it.

“Your vest?” Talerico says, incredulous. “I can at all times get one other vest,” Koehler says. “I believe it’d actually imply one thing to him.” Ten minutes later, they’re again within the restaurant, cameras rolling.

To those that are unfamiliar with DALLMYD, the reward Koehler is carrying wouldn’t be price a lot. However to a YouTube-loving child just like the one manning a money register on Essential Road in Helen, Georgia, it’s a real treasure. The superfan appears notably delighted that the vest, featured in a few of his favourite movies, continues to be soaked with river water.


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