Ryan’s Platinum Wedding Band
I received a phone call from a gentleman named Ryan who found out about my ring recovery service through THE RING FINDERS directory. He was playing in the water with his son and while they were wrestling and having a good time, Ryan’s platinum wedding band slipped off his finger and ended up at the bottom of the Deep Creek River located close to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis, Maryland. Ryan’s thirteen year-old boy named Sebastian felt really bad that the ring slipped off during their time of fun in the water between 25 to 35 feet from the shore. So, he helped his father look everywhere in the river, using their hands to reach down and search for the missing ring. Unfortunately time continued to tick and nobody could find Ryan’s wedding band. After a very long time hunting for the ring, the family gave up and decided to seek help from others. This particular swimming area is on a private beach where only members of the community can enjoy accessing this part of the river. Ryan and his wife found somebody who was local in the community who owned a metal detector and he was quite happy to volunteer to search for the missing ring. I got the impression that the gentleman searched quite a bit, but he could not find the ring in all of the time that he was detecting. I believe there was a second gentleman who saw the search taking place and he also attempted to find the ring with his metal detecting equipment. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it either.
I was delighted to receive Ryan’s call for help because I love assisting with searches that have to do with lost items that are so important and meaningful to the owners who lose them. All I wanted to do was to bring Ryan’s ring back to him from the depths of the river and allow for that special item to continue its special story that started many years back when it was placed on Ryan’s finger on his wedding day.
Ryan shared with me all of the details about what had happened over the weekend when the ring slipped off his finger. Once I finished inquiring about the incident, I felt very good about how I was going to retrieve the ring for him. We set up a time when I would come out to the beach and begin my search for the missing ring.
I will never forget the moment that I entered the private beach area and observed how absolutely beautiful the surroundings were. The sun was rising early that morning and the water was so peaceful and most inviting. Just as I finished putting on my wetsuit, Ryan arrived and he took me over to the beach where he was playing in the water with his son Sebastian when the ring came off his finger. He provided for me the square footage that I needed to work with and he was pretty confident of the section where the ring came off. Ryan had told me that after the ring fell into the water, he immediately took notice of the debris of sticks that were in the vicinity of where the ring fell and where he was searching the majority of the time. That was very important in my own recovery attempt. I finished asking him questions and headed back to the car where I pulled out my detector, sand scoop and my other water gear. Then, I headed back to the sand where I tested out my equipment and moved into the warm summer water.
Immediately, I started to grid the area, one foot at a time. Going back and forth 30 feet and then 30 feet back the other way. I went slow and proceeded carefully, hoping I would not miss an inch of potential space where the ring may have rested. The depth of water that I was searching in was approximately three to four feet. It was quite shallow but the biggest challenge of the hunt was to make sure that the detector was discriminating out signals that were not associated with the platinum band. Also, because there was trash here and there in the water, I needed to be extremely careful not to overlook the possibility that certain metal signals could in fact be the ring.
Ryan was in the water with me and he was on standby to help me if I needed to get clarification regarding where he was with his son when the ring disappeared. I tried to stay in the proximity of where the sticks were because he clearly remembered leaning down and searching with his hands where those sticks were when the ring had slipped off just moments earlier. Each time I brought up the scoop to see what I discovered inside of it, there was a lot of silt and muddy content to contend with. It took a while to sift out all of the mud that was at the bottom of the water in order to just identify the target in the scoop. I hit a lot of targets and over and over again I was pulling out all kinds of coins and other types of metal debris but no ring would be discovered. I was so hoping that another detectorist did not walk off with the ring. These ideas start playing with your mind especially when the area has been searched prior to one’s arrival. You just don’t know who you are dealing with at times, and you hope that some other detectorist was honest and would have turned the item in to the owner if he had found it.
One hour turned into two hours of searching, and two hours of searching turned into three completed hours and I still did not find the missing wedding band. I believe it was sometime after the third hour that I needed to call it quits for the day. I apologized to Ryan that I had not found it quite yet, but I assured him that if it was still in the water, he would get that ring back and he would definitely get it back on my watch. He seemed pretty confident in my confidence, and so we left each other that late morning with the agreement that I would try to return in the next few days to a week to try again.
It’s very common for searches to go into many more hours before a detectorist discovers the missing object. In this particular case, I may have walked right over the ring and didn’t detect the object if it was masked by some other type of metal that prevented me from locating my target. It’s possible that when I did my grid search, I could have just missed the target by inches, even though I was going back and forth in a straight line. When you’re in the water, it’s a lot harder to keep exact lines because you don’t have the same kind of markers that you can set up when you are on land.
I gathered my gear up and got out of my wetsuit before heading to my next appointment for the day. I was not discouraged but I was disappointed that I couldn’t pull the ring from the water that morning. Like I said before, your mind starts playing tricks on you and you need to keep positive. One of my metal detectorist friends and highly successful California RING FINDER named Stan always reminds me, “Don’t think the negative thoughts. Stay positive and believe that you are not wasting your time. You must believe it’s still there, and that no one plucked it from the water”. I stayed positive until my return!
I kept in touch with Ryan throughout the next few days so that we could set up another scheduled search window of time to again attempt a recovery of his ring. At first it was not looking good for my schedule to be able to try again to pull the ring out of the water before I was to go on vacation for 10 days. But, I worked it out so that I would make it over to the private beach area on my way to the East Coast during my vacation. The first leg of my family’s vacation journey would be to stop over at the area where Ryan lost his ring and attempt to pull the ring out before continuing across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge over to the Eastern shore and then to Ocean City, Maryland. I was so hopeful that I could find the ring so that Ryan did not have to wait until I returned from my vacation. Also, it would make me feel so good to complete that mission before heading to the beach for my own personal downtime. Ryan was quite encouraged with what I was able to set up for him and we agreed to see each other at the end of the week.
Once I loaded up the car for vacation, me and my son Danny headed off to our first stop which was Ryan’s community beach area where he lost his ring. My wife Jennifer would not be on the trip so it was just me and our son. When we entered the parking lot to the private beach on Deep Creek River, I put on my dive suit while Danny took a walk in the neighborhood. I gathered all of my gear together and assembled it on the sand as I waited for Ryan to arrive. Once again, he thanked me for taking this segment of time to help find his ring before heading to the East Coast for my 10 day vacation. I told him it was my pleasure and that it had been bothering me since I was here the last time when I didn’t find it. I was really looking forward to getting in the water. I remember saying a prayer and asking for God’s help to recover his lost wedding band. I’m a firm believer in prayer.
Once I got the detector on and grabbed a hold of the scoop, I was walking into the water from the shoreline and went to the spot where Ryan and I agreed would be a probable area where the ring may have disappeared. I began to grid back-and-forth in the same way that I did my grid work the last time I came out. I did about a 40 foot by 40 foot area this time and centralized my detecting where a lot of the sticks were that Ryan had pointed out last week. At some point during my detecting, Ryan headed out to go pick up his son Sebastian and he would eventually return back to the beach. I said goodbye to him and he wished me much success.
Because of the other metal that was below the surface of the water, I had to be extremely careful not to go too fast over the areas that I was detecting so that I would not miss the target that I was looking for. My detector is very good at recovery speed (which is how fast the detector is picking up the signal with the speed that you are moving the coil back and forth over the potential targets). However, one must be extremely careful not to put the detector to the test to the point where human error might play a role in missing the item that you are searching for.
I may have searched for about an hour and I was getting concerned that I would end up with the same results that I accrued the previous week. However, I still had to keep telling myself that it must be here and that those other detectorists just missed it or that they did not take Ryan’s ring. I told myself that the others must have just missed the target because of other metal that was possibly masking it. Or perhaps they did not set their detectors deep enough or maybe their detectors could not go down far enough to detect the signal we were looking for. I kept searching back-and-forth going from where the pier was and then extended out a ways and then back towards the pier in parallel with the beach. I was still getting all kinds of positive signals, but none of them panned out.
At some point, after finishing another set of grid passes, I hit another signal that was in the range of Ryan’s platinum wedding band! On my machine it was registering the numbers: 14 and 15, which is in the ballpark of a nice man’s size platinum ring. However, the signal was very choppy and inconsistent. I could have walked right over it, thinking it was trash. Perhaps the other gentlemen did the same. It sounded either too deep or too trashy to scoop up. One could almost assume that the target was probably a rusty old bottle cap and not worth looking at. I went over the target from a couple of different angles just to make sure that this was something legitimate enough to scoop up. Even though it didn’t give off a signal that normally would have convinced me to take the time to pull it up, I decided to go for it anyways. I was at the point where beggars could not be choosers! In addition to the bad signal I was faced with, I was having problems scooping up my targets that day because of the conditions at the bottom of the water. I had to be wise on how I was spending my time and this was one target that I didn’t want to spend time on, but I did so regardless of the conditions.
Speaking of time, I realized that with every minute that passed, my vacation time was being used up and I knew that my son Danny was looking forward to getting to the beach as quickly as possible. However, he is such a patient and kind young man and he was quite supportive in wanting to see a happy ending to this story before going to the beach. So, I tested the signal out a few times and I was convinced that it was strong enough of a signal to scoop up but I had no confidence that this was Ryan’s platinum ring. Again, the signal was so choppy and disconnected. It wasn’t a strong bang of a signal. Yet, it’s so important in metal detecting to not count anything out and to really doubt your confidences. I scooped up the first bit of debris and when I checked with the detector to see if I had gotten the target inside the scoop, it was still in the water. I did this again and repeated the process a couple more times until finally the detector indicated that there was nothing at the bottom of the water where I was detecting. The object must have finally been caught in the scoop. I then sifted out everything inside of the scoop and to my huge surprise, there it was! I found it! I found Ryan’s missing platinum wedding band! I was almost in unbelief because the signal was so poor! I found it 6 inches below the sand and mud in probably about 3.5 to 4 feet of water at that point with the current tide. I was so jubilant at that moment! I couldn’t wait to share my happiness with Ryan! My son Danny had just come back from his long walk and I shared my excitement with him at finding the ring! He was thrilled! There were a few others around, including boat instructors for the young children who were there for summer camp who were learning how to sail. They looked over to see what all of the excitement was all about! People along the shore that were hanging out, fishing or just watching their dogs play in the water, came by and shared in my celebration with me finding Ryan’s lost ring!
Within minutes of recovering the ring, Ryan’s SUV was coming into the parking lot and he had no idea what he was about ready to witness. He and his son Sebastian got out of the vehicle and walked towards the beach as I was coming out of the water and that’s when I got to present Ryan’s missing platinum wedding band to him! He was beyond thrilled! I think he may have been in disbelief because he had searched for so long and so had others (including my last attempt), but nothing turned up until this very moment! Ryan could not have been happier! We hugged and I got to meet Sebastian who also joined in the celebration! The ring that had been in the water for over a week could now return to the finger that it belonged to – on Ryan’s hand!
After taking pictures, talking with people that were hanging out along the shore who witnessed the return of the ring, and giving our last goodbyes to Ryan and Sebastian, I packed up the car and headed with my son to Ocean City, Maryland. As we drove away, I was thinking of how wonderful it was to drive towards the East Coast to enjoy our vacation, knowing that we took time out of our lives to help bring some happiness to someone else’s life. Now Ryan could celebrate the return of his beloved ring that had gone missing for some time. It was quite satisfying to me. More than anything, I was proud of my son. I looked over at him, shook his twenty-one year old hand and said, “Thank you Danny for thinking about someone else’s happiness. And because of that, I was able to help someone else get something back that was important to him. You were very kind to give up some of our time for someone else and I will never forget that”. Danny smiled with content as he adjusted his seat back to take a snooze. It was a good beginning to our fun vacation!
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