A few days ago I received a call about a lost ring in Belleville Lake, in Belleville Michigan.
The ring was lost while the gentleman was working on his boat lift. The depth was believed to be between 6-9 feet, water visibility was zero.
Careful planning and coordinating led me to today. After a 1.5 hour round trip, and 3 counties east, I arrived to offer my assistance at Belleville Lake.
I have dove Belleville lake before, and many dangers have presented themselves. The stained water complicates the dives, but the bottom debris makes the dives downright dangerous.
Many dont know, but Belleville lake houses entire towns from the early 1800’s, farm fields fenced with barbwire, and farm equipment. I have found vehicles, debris, stumps, and debris I could not identify by feel. Becoming entangled in any of the above debris could be fatal and the visibility is always zero. It like diving with your eyes closed in a junkyard, but darker.
Tonight’s dive took place near an condominium complex with lake access and boat slips. You can image the amount of activity and the amount of ferrous and non ferrous trash presently underwater around these docks…
I was briefed on the loaction and actions leading up to the loss. The target tonight was unique, a cobalt band with a meteor inlay.
I have never been tasked to find a cobalt ring, or a meteor ring. The twist is, meteor will read like steel, and steel is invisible to a vlf detector with discrimination. The other challenge is the lack of visibility, and bottom debris.
I gathered my gear and began my pre-dive checks. I ops checked all my gear, suited up and headed to the waters edge.
As I entered the water I realized the boat lift was on the edge of a deep drop off. I worked slowly, and began digging many targets immediately, the depth was 10 feet. I recovered targets every few inches and I dug everything to insure the ring was not missed.
Approximately an hour into the dive, I began having problems with the freshly charged battery on my detector. My contingency plans are lengthy, but so is murphys law.
I returned to the dock to replace the minelab battery with another freshly charged battery in my dry box. Problem one, the dry box was not dry, and the 3 freshly charged spare batteries were not.. I think the batteries became wet and lost their charge somehow.
Returning to the water, obviously with 3 stacks against me, I continued to detect with the battery which was almost dead, because almost dead is better than completely dead.
Approximately 5 minutes into the 2nd half of the dive, Murphy showed himself again, and my detector died completely.
Failing is not a word or action I ever accept. I retrieved my underwater pinpointer and decided to detect the entire area with it. This was my only option, and it kept me submerged, and kept the family hoping their ring would being found.
I turned on my pinpointer, and slid the 1/2” tip across the bottom once, receiving an vibrating tone.
If there were any fish around me in the darkness, I’m sure my yelling and carrying on scared them beyond belief! As I reached for the signal, the Good Lord above was smiling down on me. The familiar feeling of a rounded edge ring was identified in the darkness, laying amongst the bottom debris, silt and rocks. The odds of finding a ring, in the darkness without a detector, only a pinpointer with a 1/2” tip is too rare to even try to describe..
I returned to the dock and met the family. Holding the ring up and smiling thru my full face scuba mask, they began to smile and cheer!
It’s an indescribable feeling to find a lost ring, especially when the odds are against you, but handing it back to the owner is 100 times better!
Mr and Mrs Rodriguez, I appreciate the call and the opportunity! Thank you for making my evening!!