When it comes to rings, the North American Great Lakes rank high as ring-eating monsters. And Lake Michigan gulped down yet another precious love token the week of June 24th when Petersburg, Illinois, residents Joe and Alissa Bilyeu were vacationing at Amsterdam Park near Cedar Grove, Wisconsin.
Somewhere during the construction of a sandcastle, Joe’s platinum wedding ring was slurped off his hand into the abyss of sand and water. A frantic search proved fruitless. The couple departed for home with heavy hearts at having lost the precious token of their recent marriage.
I received a text message from Joe asking if I might conduct a search. My work schedule prevented doing so immediately; the soonest I could make the 63 mile drive from my home in Waukesha to Cedar Grove was late on Friday. My wife, Kathleen, came along for the ride. Upon arrival at Amsterdam Park, Lake Michigan was pounding the shoreline with waves approaching 3’ high. Only faint traces of Bilyeu’s sand castle remained. The throbbing deluge had nearly obliterated all signs of it.
First I checked the shoreline dry sand. Then I switched machines and bracing myself against the waves I began searching the lake bottom with my trusty Minelab Excalibur SCUBA detector. After nearly an hour working against the punishing rollers a faint signal in chest-deep water invited excavation. But the wave action quickly filled the hole making it necessary to work quickly to gain on the target. At last, the Lake Michigan Monster was forced to relinquish its treasure; Joe’s platinum ring lay safe in my sieve.
I quickly texted a photo to Joe in Illinois. His response? “Holy Cow that’s it!! OMG thank you so much!!” And arrangements were made to send the ring back to its happy owner.
Thanks, Joe, for the awesome privilege of retrieving your ring. It’s just one more ring the Lake Michigan Ring Monster won’t get to digest. May your ring’s story continue for many, many happy years together.