I received a text from a friend concerning a lost ring on July 4th. The ring had been lost while playing in the water on the Devil’s Lake sandbar during the Holiday weekend.
I contacted the frantic and upset owner who briefed me on the lost ring. Christine was able to “pin” the area and was confident she could get me close to where the ring was lost. Upon completion of our conversation, I confirmed the first dive of 2019, scheduled for Friday July 5th.
I prepped, checked and inspected my dive gear, wet suit, and detecting equipment with extreme excitement and thoughts of the future dive. I remembered the easy and extremely dangerous dive’s, wondering where this one would fit in.
Diving a private pond with zero visibility and coils of geo thermal lines covering the bottom, pulling at me in the darkness, snagging and holding onto my gear and trying to entangle me. To the thoughts of the easy and enjoyable dives where I could actually see underwater and literally 20 second ring recoveries from start to finish.. Time would tell, but one thing will never change, I don’t accept failure and the former Marine in me will not allow me to give up..
I met Christine and her husband Kevin on the evening of Friday July 5th. Briefed on the activities leading up to the loss and the boated out to the sandbar.
The location of the pin was marked amongst the clusters of pontoon boats and people in the water. Visibility was several inches and the search began.
I spent 3.5 hours detecting and clearing many targets from the bottom. Mid 1800’s 50 cal roundball bullets, to modern day pull tabs and numerous bottle caps and coins. Christine’s hope sunk into the horizon along with the sun after 3.5 hours of diving and detecting. I assured Christine I would be back as long as I needed to, and to remain hopeful!
Due to child care scheduling issues, I was not able to make it back to the lake until tonight at 7pm. I was joined by my father in law, also wading and detecting to increase our odds of success.
The night started out well, with me forgetting important gear in my truck, and Kevin having to shuttle me back to the beach to retrieve it. Our short night became a bit shorter and the sunset was less than 2 hours away. No pressure…
Once in the water, the pinned location was searched systematically from North East to South West producing very few targets and a silty soft bottom. Further inspection of the pinned location led us closer to the actual target area and hopefully closer to success.
Kevin entered the water and walked over 80 yards to the North East before being directly on top of the pin. I started another search pattern with a fresh perspective and began finding shallower water and scattered rocks. This was a small detail I recall Christine mentioning a few days earlier about the bottom composition.
After 20-30 more minutes I dug several coins and trash targets before locating a loud shallow signal. 3″ below the silty bottom hid an amazing find that would change the evening’s mood for years to come!
I fanned the bottom and saw a very familiar ring, studied over the past several nights as I laid in bed unable to sleep staring at it.. I could only imagine the excitement Kevin and Christine would share along with the relief of the stress and worrying.
The ring was excitedly given to Kevin and I started thinking about how we would return the ring to Christine! The best part of finding rings is watching the emotions, tears, excitement or many other things people do to show their happiness for receiving such a sentimental item!
After returning to shore, our plan on how to surprise Christine fell apart when she wasn’t able to come to the public swimming area since she was helping cut a fallen tree at their house.
I followed Kevin back to the house and we met Christine and several family members outside. I tried to bluff Christine and buy some time as Kevin walked up and dug the ring from his pocket. Kevin smirked and handed Christine the ring. Christine was very happy and you could see her relief! I was absolutely honored to be a part of this search and ring recovery!
Another happy customer, another friendship made and another successful ring recovery and safe dive logged into history!
If you have never lost anything in the water, or have never experienced the feeling of holding something you thought was gone forever, you might not truly understand the emotions in this post.. Multiply that by 100, and that is the feeling of returning such a sentimental item…
SEMPER FI !