Priceless Treasure Recovered Woodlands, Texas

  • from Sugar Land (Texas, United States)


I received a call from Edith today who wanted to know if I could help recover her IPhone from the bottom of the Woodlands Boat House Waterway. Edith said she and her husband Stephen had been kayaking today, and when they returned to the dock and exited their kayaks her phone fell out of her pocket. Edith said it fell in the water right of the edge of the dock into about 7 foot of water.

Edith said prior to the kayaking trip she had placed her phone in a zip lock baggy to ensure it would stay dry while on the kayaking expedition.

Edith said she had obtained my name from Kyle the manager at the Woodland Boat House. (I had recovered Kyle’s Texas A&M Ring several months back when he accidentally dropped it into the waterway)

I told Edith that she shouldn’t count on the phone being undamaged, questioning whether a zip lock baggy would hold its seal at 7 feet. I suggested she just file with her phone’s insurance and pay her small deductible and get a new phone (normally $50.00). I told Edith my operationally cost’s for an underwater recovery would likely exceed that amount.

This is when Edith provided the following information:

  1. Zip Lock Baggy .05 cents
  2. IPhone $199.00
  3. Pictures and Documents on IPhone (priceless)


I met Stephen at the dock this morning and he was very helpful in providing clear directions on the location of where the phone had been dropped. This is extremely important when dealing with zero visibility water conditions.

I remember from my previous trip to the Woodlands Waterway that the bottom is steel re-enforced concrete with about 6-8 inches of muck and debris on top of the concrete base. I didn’t spend much time on my last trip (it was very cold) trying to dial down my Excalibur to see if I could by-pass the re-bar. I opted to use my hand held Vibra-Tector 730 on this job, and it worked very well, not at all effected by the re-bar in the concrete (a lot less power in the hand held unit),

It was like working inside of a bottle of chocolate milk, but not quite as pleasant of an odor. I told Stephen this waterway reminded me of my days as a law enforcement recovery diver and some of the jobs I had worked and preferred not to remember :)’

Well after a few missed attempts, a bottle top, a piece of wire, a pair of sunglass, Bingo an IPhone.











































Stephen with the recovered IPhone




Equipment Used:

Hookamax Dive System

Vibra-Tector 730

DECON; lots and lots of soap and water….


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John Volek



4 Replies to “Priceless Treasure Recovered Woodlands, Texas”

  1. Good work John. Sometimes you just gotta do what it takes, like it or not. Personally, I’m glad I don’t have to do diving if this is what is involved! Sounds like it was NOT a lot of fun.

  2. Mark Rubey says:

    So, was the phone still in good working order or not? You might be able to make a recovery commercial for Ziploc. “Even lost in the water most vile, the phone will still dial” 🙂

    1. John Volek says:

      The zip-lock baggy had some water in it, and the phones battery was dead so we could not confirm at the time of recovery. Stephen had brought a baggy full of rice and had immediately tossed the phone in it to start the drying process. I am waiting on a post from him to see if they were able to recover their photos and documents directly from the phone or its SD card.


  3. Chris Turner says:

    Lost iPhone with pictures & documents you can never replace…Way to go on the recovery John! They make a great waterproof case for the iPhones made by LifeProof…Hope you next call is for a lost ring in shallow water and a sandy bottom…Happy Hunting, Chris

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