I received the following email from Liam:
“Hi Justin I just discovered your website. My dad could use a hand ASAP he lost his FDNY retirement ring he’s been wearing for the past 15 years. He’s here on vacation for his 60th birthday. We know the exact location. It fell off his finger about 8 hours ago. The tide might have moved it but he thinks it’s in this shallow patch of sand. He searched three hours till caving in.”
Liam’s father Tom is a retired New York City Fire Department Lieutenant who received this ring from his men upon retirement. I arrived at the search site in Kahala at about 5PM. The search area was about 50’×20’ and was enclosed by reefs on the east and south sides. Tom’s ring slipped off his finger while taking a leisurely dip in the water. The water was averaging about 3ft deep with some current and wave action. I started searching the back edge of the search area and gradually worked my way in towards shore.
About 30 minutes into the search, I received a faint low tone about 10ft from shore in 3’ of water. I made a scoop then sifted out the sand and saw a pulltab which was about 6” deep. I made another scan and found that there was still something in the hole. I made a second scoop and found Tom’s retirement ring!
Sunday, January 19, 2014:
I received a call this evening at around 7:30 PM about a lost engagement ring at White Plains Beach Park. Jay and Casey searched for Casey’s lost engagement ring for about an hour. Casey removed her ring and placed it in her shorts pocket prior to going for a swim in the ocean. When she got out of the water, she picked up her shorts which were laying on the dry sand, walked to the showers, and then to the parking lot. That was when Casey realized that her ring was missing.
I arrived at White Plains Beach Park at around 7:50 PM. I didn’t bring my Pulse Induction machine because I figured there would be a lot of trash so I brought the Excalibur II instead. I started with a grid search from the grass line all the way down to about 10ft from the wet sand. I found almost $2 in coins along with a ton of aluminum foil and pulltabs. After searching the entire beach area, roughly 150’x100′, I proceeded to search the grassy area between the beach and the parking lot. A couple of people, to include Casey, were helping me search the area with flashlights. I only brought my cell phone light so they were a huge help! I received a lot of hits though it was difficult to distinguish between surface and subsurface targets so we stayed in that area for about an hour to make sure that we didn’t accidentally miss the ring.
After completing my search of the grassy area, the only other place that I hadn’t searched was the parking lot which was completely flat with nothing to conceal a ring. Seeing the heartbreaking look on Casey’s face, I decided to go back to the beach to search. I hoped that her ring was outside of the area I covered. I searched about 20 feet to the east of my original search grid with no luck. At that point I felt that I should search the wet sand even though it was way out of the search area.
Three hours into the search, while detecting in the wet sand, I received a very faint tone along with the sound of a quarter. I almost missed that faint tone which turned out to be Casey’s white gold engagement ring which was buried about 6 inches down in the wet sand, next to a quarter.
February 10, 2014:
I received an email from Gina this afternoon. She requested my help with searching for her lost platinum engagement ring which fell into the soft sand at Sunset Beach, on the North Shore of Oahu. Two rings were actually lost- Gina’s engagement ring and wedding ring. Gina found her wedding ring within 10 minutes of searching by hand but she couldn’t locate her engagement ring. When I called Gina, she was on the other line with a metal detector rental shop in Waikiki. I told her that I was available to help and would be there within a few hours.
It was a nice day so I took the Harley with my White’s Surf PI metal detector packed in my backpack. I didn’t take the Excalibur II because I knew the beach would be pretty clean and figured I might need the extra depth for this search. I met up with Gina at Sunset Beach and we discussed where she thought the ring might have fell into the sand. I began my grid search and didn’t find any targets for the first 20 minutes. About 45 minutes into the search I had 6 bottle caps, 1 penny, 1 bracelet, and a couple pulltabs in my pocket. Gina reviewed the pictures she took earlier in the day and took new ones to make a comparison. This narrowed down my search area quite a bit and within minutes I got a very faint and broken signal. I thought it was junk at first but kept digging anyway. I saw the outline of a ring and was praying that it wasn’t another pulltab… then I saw the diamond! Gina’s ring was about 12″ deep. Someone must have stepped on the ring to push it that deep.
I’ll never forget the moment when I reunited Gina with her ring. There were hugs, tears, high fives, and applause. This is the reason why I love helping people find their lost rings. These moments are reward enough for me.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014:
I received an email from Evelyn this afternoon. She needed help finding her yellow gold 30yr old diamond engagement ring which was lost in the ocean fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki. She was due to fly back home to Canada on the 13th.
I arrived at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel at around 5PM. Evelyn and her husband David met me at the beach where we discussed the possible locations of their lost ring. The ring slipped off when a wave hit Evelyn while standing in 5ft of water that went up to her neck. She took a bearing to some coconut trees immediately after her ring slipped off her finger so she had a pretty good idea of where the ring slipped off.
The tide was low when the ring was lost but high while I was searching so instead of the search area being 5ft deep, it was about 6ft. Searching required some duck diving but I got a nice sounding target about 25 minutes into the search in about 5ft of water. I pulled up the target and found a yellow gold engagement ring sitting at the bottom of my scoop. It was Evelyn’s ring!
Friday, August 1, 2014:
I received this text from Kirk earlier today. “Hey Justin. I lost a wedding band at Kawela Bay this afternoon. Not sure if it was on the beach or in the water.” We setup a meeting time at Turtle Bay at around 9:30am on Saturday.
Saturday, August 2, 2014:
We met up at the Turtle Bay golf course at around 9:30am. From there we drove to a locked gate and had to hike to Kawela Bay which was only about 1/4 mile. During the hike Kirk explained to me the significance of their wedding rings. Kirk’s father gave him his wedding ring and Kirk’s mother gave Kirk’s wife her 10-year anniversary ring. He also detailed the sequence of events that led up to his unfortunate predicament. The previous day Kirk and family were at Kawela Bay enjoying the day. They were throwing around a football for a little while then Kirk started digging his fingers into the wet sand around where the water met the shoreline. At some point during the day Kirk walked out into deeper water that went up to his collarbone. He wasn’t sure if he had his wedding ring on during that time.
I started my search on the dry sand. The area wasn’t big so I went through it quickly. I found a lot of bottlecaps and pulltabs. From there I searched the area where Kirk was digging his fingers into the wet sand. I figured his ring slipped off while pulling his fingers out of the sand. No ring there, just a bunch of nails and bottlecaps. I moved my search to the deepest area as I wanted to get the hard part out of the way. The water was murky and would instantly cloud over to almost zero visibility as soon as the bottom was disturbed so I had to get really close to the bottom to see anything. There were a lot of big coral chunks and rocks so my scoop was useless. I was using lead weights to stay close to the bottom and had to resort to hand-fanning the sand. As I predicted, the bottom was littered with bottlecaps, pulltabs, nails, and aluminum cans. I was literally pulling a target, and sometimes multiple targets, from every square foot of ground my metal detector passed over.
At around the 3-hour mark which was mostly spent holding my breath underwater, I went back to shore to regroup, warm up, and to discuss the loss with Kirk once more. It was then that I got one more clue as to where the ring might be hiding. After digging his fingers into the sand, Kirk went into deeper water (about 3ft) to wash off. While in the 3ft water, Kirk’s brother-in-law threw a football at him which Kirk tried to catch but missed. I moved my search to that area which was about 5ft from shore. I found targets everywhere. The area was only about 25sqft but it seemed like there were dozens of targets buried beneath the sand.
Thirty minutes had passed and by that point I found 35 targets to include 2 fishing weights, a molybdenum magnet, a size D battery ,2 shredded aluminum cans, fishing wire, bottlecaps, and aluminum pulltabs. I could tell by the expressions that all hope was lost. Then I pulled up target number 36 – Kirk’s ring, buried about 6” in the sand.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014:
I received a call from John at around 9PM on Sunday night. He spent his Saturday at a private beach in Hau’ula with his family. While playing in the water, John’s daughter grabbed onto his gold chain and pulled, breaking the chain and sending his gold cross pendant flying into the water. John’s daughter held onto the gold chain but it was the cross that meant the most as it was a gift from his mom.
I met up with John in Hau’ula on Monday afternoon. We walked down to the beach and he showed me where he was standing when his cross pendant flew into the water. The current was very strong but the water was only about 4ft deep. It was so strong that I would’ve been pulled out to sea if the water was a little deeper. I began my search and immediately hit targets. I pulled up 2 toy cars, a couple pieces of wire, 2 coins, and some aluminum. About 20 minutes into the search I came across a nice signal that I knew was gold. I looked around and saw John searching with his mask and snorkel. I motioned for him to come over and told him the target sounded really good. He watched as I began fanning the sand away. About 2 inches down we saw gold! I picked up John’s gold cross and handed it to him. He was very excited especially since he witnesses the actual recovery.
Monday September 22, 2014:
I received an email from Katrina:
We just found your website and hope that you might be able to help us. My husband lost his wedding ring on Waikiki beach yesterday around 11am. He was swimming in to shore and got washed in by a wave, he put his hands down to stop himself from going face first into the sand and when he came up didn’t have his ring. Only problem is he didn’t realize till after he was back up on the beach and by the time he went back down to the water it was nowhere to be seen. He was swimming right out front of Moana Surf Rider so there was a lot of people around and not sure if it might already be found by someone else. It was a plain 8mm thick white gold band with no inscriptions on it.
We are here visiting from Australia and it was our first anniversary yesterday (can’t believe he made it a whole year without losing it!) and while it is insured, if there is any chance of getting his ring back it is worth a try given the sentimental nature.
If you are able to help at all we would be so grateful.”
Tuesday, September 23rd:
I met up with Craig (Katrina’s husband) in front of the Moana Surf Rider hotel at about 3:40pm. The tide was high and the water was very cloudy with visibility at zero. To make matters worse, my travel scoop fell out of my backpack while riding down to Waikiki on my Harley. I had to improvise by using a fish net, a chicken-wire sand sifter, and a bucket!
Craig explained how he lost his ring. The area where he dug his hands into the sand was in front of the strong shorebreak. During high tide, that area is pummeled by the waves which creates a strong undertow sucking everything near the surface out to sea. There was a lot of sand movement so I figured that Craig’s ring was pulled out. Katrina met us at the beach shortly after.
I started my search in the water at the first drop-off (trough) with my Excalibur 2 metal detector. The waves were head high at times and the current was strong. It was difficult to stay in one spot as the ocean was pushing me around with every wave. There were a lot of broken coral pieces and jagged rocks mixed in with the sand which were rough on my feet. Over the next hour I managed to find a few objects but no ring. I had the hardest time trying to scoop sand with the fish net in head high waves. Craig, Katrina and their daughter were gracious enough to help me out by holding the sifter and helping me with the fish net.
My friend Mike stopped by at around 7pm to help me out. The tide was going down which made conditions a lot better except that we couldn’t see much. He brought an extra scoop which was awesome since my scoop was probably somewhere on the highway. Mike brought his Aquasearch PI metal detector. We started searching and spent the next 3 hours combing the area. We covered an area of approximately 350sqft, which included the dry sand, wet sand, and about 10ft out into the water. Mike found some deep objects at 10+ inches along with some other items closer to the surface. I found a pair of sunglasses and a few coins but no ring.
By the time we were done searching at about 10pm, I was exhausted and my feet were cut up and bloody from the coral and rocks.
Friday, September 26th:
Thanks to Mike, I was able to eliminate a large area and was able to focus my search in deeper water. I arrived at the Moana Surf Rider at around 6:45pm after being stuck in traffic for over 2 ½ hours. I met a couple who wanted me to search for their ring outside of the Royal Hawaiian hotel. I helped them for a little over an hour then went to search for Craig’s ring. By this time it was after 8pm and the water was still rough but the tide was going down. I started in about 5-6 ft of water. In some areas I had to jump off the sea floor to keep my head above water. I was searching for only about 15 minutes when I got a solid hit. It was my first target of the night. I dug into the sand with my scoop and didn’t pull up anything. I dug a little deeper to about 6 inches and checked my scoop. The lights from all the hotels illuminated that area enough to where I was able to see something shiny at the bottom of my scoop. It was Craig’s white gold ring!
October 5, 2015:
I received a call from Joy around 5pm yesterday, Sunday October 4th. She needed my help with finding her platinum and diamond engagement and wedding rings which were lost at around 2 PM while at the Velzyland beach with her husband Ben. Joy placed her rings inside of Ben’s snorkel mask to apply sunscreen lotion. They both walked down to the ocean, got in, then started cleaning out the mask without realizing that the rings were in the mask. They were both unsure if the rings fell out of the mask while walking down to the ocean or in the ocean.
I arrived at Velzyland beach at around 6 PM. Joy and Ben walked me down to the beach and showed me where they were sitting and also the path they took to walk down to the ocean. I started my search on the beach along the path but turned up nothing.
I moved my search into the water. The water was clear and calm. About an hour in, I picked up a strong signal. The water was about 2-3 feet deep. I dug in, pulled up my scoop and saw Joy’s diamond wedding band at the bottom! About 3 feet from the wedding band I detected another strong signal. It was Joy’s engagement ring!
I returned to shore and nonchalantly walked over to where Ben was laying in the sand. I told him that he should be the one giving Joy her rings back and that’s when I showed him what I found. He was very excited and immediately made his way over to where Joy was sitting. Ben placed the rings back on Joy’s finger just in time for their honeymoon to Kauai!
Saturday March 16, 2013:
I was contacted by Steve on Saturday, March 16 at around 7 PM. He asked me to help find his wife’s 2-Ct Tiffany Platinum and Diamond engagement ring which was lost at the Kaneohe Bay sandbar. The ring slipped off of Marie’s finger while she was catching a ball that was thrown to her without warning.
Sunday March 17, 2013:
I met Steve and Marie at the marina at around 10:00AM. After hearing the story of Marie’s lost engagement ring, the marina’s manager Christopher was kind enough to allow us to hitch a ride to the sandbar on their safety boat. I grabbed my gear and jumped into the safety boat and headed to the sandbar. The trip took about 10 minutes. The sandbar was congested with about 20 boats anchored. The water was approximately ankle-deep and glassy. The water depth increased and the waves started to roll in over the next 3 hours. No ring found.
Sunday March 24, 2013:
Marie and Steve had already left Oahu to go back home to Mississippi. I arranged to have the safety boat take me back out to the sandbar to continue the search. It was drizzling during the boat ride out to the sandbar and over the next 2 hours the weather got really bad. At the sandbar, the drizzle turned into a downpour, the wind picked up, the water level rose by 2’ and the waves were about 1’. We decided to head back to shore.
Saturday March 30, 2013:
Three weeks after Marie’s ring was lost, my friend Preston and his girlfriend took me out to the sandbar using a boat that we rented from the Kaneohe Bay marina. We went out to the sandbar to search for Marie’s lost ring but also to wind down from work and have some fun. There were only a handful of boat anchored. There were storm clouds on the horizon but they were at least a couple hours away. The negative tide completely exposed the sandbar which is normally covered by a few feet of water. About five minutes into my search my Excalibur II gave a strong, low growl. After three weeks of searching, I finally recovered Marie’s ring. I immediately phoned Marie to give her the good news. It was a great reaction as everyone thought that it was gone forever. Everybody on the boat was just as excited as Marie. We spent the next three hours having fun and boating around the bay. As soon as we got back into town, we found the nearest FedEx store and shipped the ring to Marie via 2nd day air. Here she is with her ring safely back on her finger.