This little adventure started when I got a text message from Chuck on Aug 26th that read “Hi Jim, I lost my wedding ring on Bald Head Island’s east beach last night about an hour after low tide (just when it got dark). I have a very good sense of where it went down but no equipment to search for it before our vacation ends on Saturday. I don’t see BHI on your list of locations, but I’m wondering if you know any detectionists who do work on the island. Thanks for your time!” When someone tells me they lost a ring at low tide, I immediately suspect they were waist to chest deep. Luckily, not in this case though. I responded back to Chuck asking how deep he was and what type ring he lost. Never being to the island, I had no idea what I was up against or how to get there. I contacted 3 other area TRF members, Steven Ray, John Finnerin, and Matt Fry to see what they knew about Bald Head Island. I got enough information from the 3 of them to piece everything together, so when Chuck text me back that he was only ankle deep I had a game plan. I called Chuck and told him I could get an early start the next morning, make the hour plus drive up to the ferry terminal, catch the 7am ferry, and be there before the low tide at 9am. The only thing I needed from him was to pick me up at the island ferry terminal, and take me to where he lost his ring. He readily agreed, so the plan was set.
This morning when the alarm went off at 5am, I realized that now that I’m retired, this is really an un-Godly hour of the day. Nevertheless, the plan worked and Chuck and his father-in-law were sitting in a golf cart (the only 4 wheel transportation on the island) waiting for me when the ferry tied up. Chuck drove us out to the beach access where he lost it, and as we’re walking out to the beach, I asked him how he lost it. He explained that the family was sitting near a sea turtle nest waiting for the hatchlings to make their way out of the nest and head for the ocean. At one point Chuck went to the water’s edge to wash the sand off his hands and when he shook his hands his ring flew off, straight down, and disappeared into the wet sand. Chuck knew exactly where it happened and had a landmark he made up in the dry sand. I turned the Equinox 800 on and went to work, doing 5 parallel grid lines down towards the outgoing tide line. When my lines started getting washed away, I changed to perpendicular grid lines. I started at the point Chuck had showed me and went both east and west expanding the search area. I wasn’t having any luck so I changed to my second machine, which I’ve learned to bring along just in case. I turned the White’s PI on and started at the same point Chuck had originally showed me. I think it was on my 2nd line, I hit a great signal. I dug a couple of scoops, got the target out of the hole and in the scoop, washed the sand out in the surf and there was Chuck’s ring. I did a little dance up towards Chuck and he knew I had it. I let him reach in the scoop and pull it out. It took me at least an extra 30 minutes, because I just missed it on the first pass when I must have zigged instead of zagged, but Chuck’s ring is back where it belongs. Now the family’s drive home will be much more enjoyable.
Chuck – thanks so much for trusting me to help find your lost treasure. Have a safe trip home and take of yourself.