Man’s Gold Wedding Band Lost on Bald Head Island NC – Found and Returned

  • from North Myrtle Beach (South Carolina, United States)

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.




7 Replies to “Man’s Gold Wedding Band Lost on Bald Head Island NC – Found and Returned”

  1. Richard Walsh says:

    Great job Jim,
    I tried to help Chuck after he said he was going to try to borrow or rent a detector. Being an avid detectorist for about 35 years myself, I explained that gold rings sink almost immediately upon hitting the beach sand and that they very rarely move with normal tides.
    I also explained that being inexperienced and borrowing a cheap detector may not help him in finding his ring. I told him he needed to get someone who has experience and good equipment that he knows how to use. You definitely were the right man for the job.
    I have had property on Bald Head for over 25 years and just recently sold my home last month. It is a great island to visit, but very hard to live there when you get up in age. When we bought 25 years ago we thought about getting old, but forgot to take into consideration doctors visits, climbing up stairs with bad backs and legs, being so isolated from family and grandchildren and missing being able to travel easily. We had rented out our home for over 15 years and we found it to be much more of a burden as we got older, especially from afar (I live near Cleveland, Ohio).
    I hope to become one of the renters in the near future, visiting Bald Head on occasion and giving the key back when I’m done.
    Every time I came down to the island I would try to find someone to hunt with. If I had been down to the island when Chuck lost his ring I would have tried to find it for him. I have been in touch with the Metal Detecting, Brunswick County Facebook page for a couple of years and have reached out to anyone who would want to do any detecting in the area, but without success. Sometimes schedules do not work out and people have to work while I am retired.
    If and when I do come to visit Bald Head again, I would love to have the pleasure to hunt with you or some of the group anywhere in Brunswick County including bald Head.
    My equipment includes a Nox 800, XP Deus, Simplex, Excalibur II, Whites Eagle and Minelab GPX 5000. I also have tanks and a hookah system for underwater that I haven’t used for detecting yet. I am very well established on the Facebook Blogs and I am sure we have a lot of podcasts and mutual friends on all the Facebook pages.
    Thanks for doing a great job. Hope to get to meet you and happy hunting.

  2. Emily Crespin says:

    I cannot think of a better way to start the day then reading this story. My dad lives on Bald Head and we visit often so I can picture all of the scenes in my head just perfectly. I hope I never lose anything there but if I do now I know who to call. You are a hero!

  3. Chuck says:

    Thank you so much Jim! Being so remote on the island, we had little hope of finding someone with the right equipment and the right experience to help us. Tyler and I are so fortunate and grateful to have found you, the answer to our prayers. Be well and here’s to many more adventures!

  4. Matthew Fry says:

    Sounds like an adventure… Great Job

  5. Jim Brouwer says:

    WTG!!! Great Return!!

  6. Mari-ann says:

    Love happy endings!!!

  7. Linda Holbrook says:

    What a wonderful story. I am sure Chuck is so grateful for your efforts Jim.

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