Tuesday, September 26:
I received a call from Mike last Tuesday evening about a lost ring at Shark’s Cove. He and his friends were free diving through some underwater caves for about two hours on Tuesday morning with no issues. The last cave dive of the day was an underwater cave 30 feet deep and approximately 40 feet long. Mike felt that he could no longer hold his breath about halfway through the cave. In a state of panic, he stopped swimming forward and became positively buoyant. Mike was forced into the cave ceiling and was pinned underwater. When he came to his senses, he pushed off the ceiling and that’s when he thought his gold wedding band slipped off into the deep sand. As he was already out of breath with about 20 more feet of cave to go, he didn’t bother trying to find the ring and instead swam as quickly as he could out of the cave and to the surface. There was a small skylight in the cave ceiling about 10 feet from the cave exit which Mike was able to squeeze through. He says it probably made the difference between reaching the surface and drowning.
When Mike got to the surface, he told his friends about his lost wedding band. They all made multiple attempts to search for it with no luck. At that point everyone was tired and didn’t have it in them to hold their breath long enough to search for the lost wedding band. That’s when Mike called me.
Saturday, September 27:
I arrived at Sharks Cove at 8:30am. I was with Mike and my buddy who wanted to do some cave diving and agreed to be my cameraman and safety diver just in case I succumbed to shallow water blackout. I couldn’t use SCUBA because of the tight fit in the cave. I didn’t want to risk getting my hoses snagged by coral or on the cave walls. As I am an experienced cave diver and can hold my breath for a long time, I felt more comfortable without SCUBA in this situation. It took about 10 minutes to swim out to the spot where Mike lost his ring. My first dive was just a practice run. I needed to make sure that there were no obstructions or other hazards in the cave. I decided to start at the cave exit since Mike didn’t know for sure where his ring slipped off. I dove down with my Excalibur II w/SCUBA shaft and searched about 10ft into the cave. I was directly underneath the skylight that Mike used to exit the cave when my detector sounded off with a low growl. I was nearly out of breath from the excitement so I exited the cave through the skylight and handed my detector off to Mike. I then dove down to retrieve the object. I fanned the sand away and saw it buried 5 inches down in a sand wave. It was Mike’s gold ring! Mike was very happy to get his ring back but I held onto it for the rest of the dive at his request. We spent the rest of the morning diving through the caves.