Pete McGhee, Author at The Ring Finders

White Gold and Diamond Ring Found at Kai Iwi Lakes

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Sam and his wife were spending some time at the beautiful Kai Iwi lakes in the Far North of New Zealand.

His wife had waded out to the edge of the drop off for a swim, and when she returned to the car, realised the ring was missing.

Sam met me on site, and we discussed areas, marking out the search limits and I waded out with the marker floats.

I had just dropped the second float when the ring, an absolute stunner by the way, made itself known just in front of me!

One of the fastest recoveries yet, and inside the initial search area for once …Just.

Gold Ring lost at Kai Iwi Lakes – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Back at Kai Iwi for the second time in three days for another lost ring. Thanks to Halley sending me a detailed video clip taken on the day, I was able to save him the three hour trip back up from Auckland.
I was a little concerned seeing evidence of metal detector activity from the last couple of days, and despite their tracks walking right past the ring, they had missed it!

This where the experience and skills of Ringfinders comes in, with patience and a disciplined approach to ensure 95%+ coverage of the loss area.

As a result, just after sunrise I had the ring in the scoop. I sent a photo of it to a very relieved Halley, followed by a quick swim to celebrate, and headed home.

Diamond and Gold Ring Lost While Swimming at Paihia – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Diana was visiting the Bay of Islands for Waitangi Day, and decided to go for a dip to cool off after the drive up.

Sadly, the cold water shrunk her fingers and the ring flew off as her arm came over on the first stroke when she started her swim.   Fortunately her friend was there and made a note of roughly where she was, and current state of the tide.  She contacted me the following day to see if I was able to help.

It appeared to be a relatively easy recovery. I was given a start point and direction the ring was thought to have gone. After 5 hours and covering almost quarter of square kilometre of quiet bay to 98% confidence, including just over 3kg of fishing weights, I decided it wasn’t there.

Falling back to my mantra of “Assume Nothing, Believe No-one, Confirm Everything” I wiped the slate and worked on basis that the only 100% definite was I knew where she had entered the water, and that was the last time she knew she had the ring on.

Very shortly after, I reached down under the coil in the knee-deep shallows and felt the ring sitting under a clump of seaweed on the surface of the rock. Three of the largest diamonds I’ve seen sparkled brightly as they broke the surface of the muddy water.  Job Done.

I would have liked to deliver it in person, but had to settle with giving it a clean and polish, a bit of gift wrapping, and sending it back by courier.

It’s now back on her finger, hopefully for good  🙂

 

Needle in a Haystack – Lost Hearing Aid Found in Paddock!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Pete was ushering some skittish cattle around a paddock yesterday, and was moving under a line of trees to get around them.    As he emerged from the low branches under the tree line he realised that his valuable hearing aid was no longer where it should be. Not the cheapest of items and subsequent efforts to comb through the grass were fruitless.
This morning, I got a message from his daughter in law asking if I would be able to assist.

Hearing aids are notoriously difficult to detect as the largest piece of metal in them is the battery – about half the size of a pea, and even then the metal is only the skin surrounding the battery chemical pastes.

I said I’d give it a go, being a very recent loss.
On arrival, I asked Pete to drop his spare earpiece on the ground so I could tune in and hopefully get a tone off it.
Instantly I heard the pops and whistles of electric fence interference – Easily sorted, and he wandered away to turn the fence off. Now I was able to only just hear the sound of the hearing aid, I had the machine running so hot in order to pick up the tiny flecks of metal in the hearing aid that I was now getting interference from the neighbours fence. Have to put up with that…
Pete had marked the area where he thought they had parted company, and I gave it a quick scan although with the background interference and a ‘million’ ancient fence staples and rusting wire fragments it was mentally exhausting work analysing everything the machine was telling me.
I retraced his path back under the line of trees before circling around to where he had emerged for a real intensive scan of the likely area, on hands and knees working the coil hard into the grass to ensure I would squeeze every last bit of signal out of the aid, should the coil pass over it.
A little over an hour after I had started searching and many false alerts, I got a small but repeatable target.
I carefully picked through the grass and saw a sliver of clear silicone tubing… A big grin crossed Petes face as I held the wayward hearing aid out to him.
The proverbial Needle in a Haystack!

 

Treasured Gold Ring Lost at Russell, Found by Metal Detectorist

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

I had just got home from a recreational detecting session when I received the call for a lost gold wedding ring at Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

All the gear was still in the car so a quick battery swap and on my way.

I arrived at the scene an hour later and Nathan and his wife took me through the scenario.
Nathan had been in chest deep water at the local beach when he took the ring off his finger, I believe, to check the looseness of his new wedding ring.
Whatever the reason, fate intervened, the fingers slipped and the ring sank to the seafloor and into the sand.
Fortunately he had presence to mind to stay put and several nearby swimmers and snorkellers all had a go at retrieving it, although as we Ringfinders know all too well, rings are rather adept at quickly burrowing into the sand with any disturbance.

Shortly after, we were joined by Paul (forgive me if I have forgotten your name) who I award the title of Honorary Ringfinder.

Paul had made a mental note at the time of the initial attempts of a couple of landmarks which would help relocate the Point Last Seen. He was also game to snorkel out to find the depression in the sand from the earlier efforts and drop my marker float. This quick thinking and assistance greatly boosted the odds, and I thank him.

The tide by now was far too high to hunt without SCUBA, so I eliminated the shallows “Believe no-one, Assume Nothing, Confirm Everything” then settled in for a wait as the tide dropped.

I passed the time deflecting curious swimmers, and one jet ski, all of whom seemed intent on moving my critical marker float. Drawn to it like moths to a flame… although it was rather amusing watching the behaviours change as they spotted the marker bobbing around and changed course directly for it, only to be intercepted by a concerned RingFinder rushing into the tide to explain what it was, and to please leave it there….!

After a couple of hours, the water was just under nostril height and I could get out to the Search Area. I found the depression and was concerned by the depth of the crater formed by a well-meaning snorkeller and feared they may have disturbed the bottom enough to allow the ring to settle deep into the gravels. I checked the hole with no results so started a systematic search pattern. I would return to the crater if the ring wasn’t located.

After a few grids, there was a bright tone, I’d heard many of these today which had all turned out to be pulltabs from drink cans, but on a ring recovery you have to dig every target.

On the third bite with the scoop I shook the sand and gravel out and was left with a handful of shells – and a ring. I held it up to show Paul, who responded from the beach with a celebratory cheer.

About an hour later I managed to catch up with Nathan and Anita in Paihia for an emotional reunion.

The ring had belonged to Nathans Grandfather who never took it off following his wedding day. Nathan was continuing the tradition, and I am honoured to be able to reverse what they thought was an irretrievable loss and ensure the story of his ring can continue.

iPhone Found with Metal Detector, Paihia, Bay of Islands

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Brand new iPhone rescued from the tide the other morning – And it still worked after spending a day underwater!

Owner was rapt to get it back, especially as it was their last day in the Bay of Islands before continuing their holiday through New Zealand.

Check out this expression. This is why I am a ringfinder and not a ring “collector”

Against all Odds – Keys Found on Paihia Beach

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Two Tourists Stranded in Paradise!

I was just heading down onto the beach for a random hunt when I was approached by Derek, “Will that find keys?”.

“Yep, where did you lose them?”.
“Last night walking between that pole and those toilets… They’re the keys for the campervan and we’re stuck here without them”.
The time of night they were lost put it at low tide, which left me with roughly 1.2 hectares of beach where they were hiding – And that’s assuming a walker hadn’t picked them up since. I was brutally honest with him about the very slim chances of finding them with a coil the size of a dinner plate, but had to give it my best.

I checked the waterline first as the tide was already coming in, then once I had cleared a buffer there against the encroaching tide, I headed up to the probable line of their route to the beach.

A short time later, I got a big hit in the dry powdery sand. Scuffed the surface of the sand off with my foot and there they were. I quietly pocketed them and headed back to the van, head hung in mock defeat.
I couldn’t help but wind Derek up a little about how it was such a huge area, and the chances of finding them today were virtually nil…before pulling the keys out of my pocket.
Derek and Gemma could now continue their holiday through NZ 

 

How to Find Lost Keys – Hire a Metal Detector.

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626
A rather desperate Glenn phoned me at work yesterday afternoon – The jeans he was wearing when he went out to price a job had a previously undiscovered hole in the back pocket.
He parked his BMW, dropped the keys in his pocket and set to work.
His heart sank when he headed back to the car and realised his predicament.
There were a few catches to this tale; He needed the car to operate his business, The section was derelict and overgrown with waist high weeds, metallic scrap from renovations littered the site (along with domestic detritus from the previous habitation), said property was a solid 2 hour drive away – a smidge under 100miles(!) … and they were lost four weeks ago.
The one redeeming point was the fact that the keys were ‘safe’, albeit lost. They were tucked in the weeds somewhere and not going anywhere.
Mind you, neither was Glenn without them.
I managed to wrangle the next morning off work and headed south at 3am, I needed to be back at the desk at noon so made sure I was on site and ready to go at first light.
Using photos Glenn had taken of the property for his quote, I had several good known points and was able to determine his aged tracks between them.
The actual task of getting the coil close enough to the ground was impossible with the matted thatch of grass and thistles that had grown noticeably in the warm early summer weather.  I would be fibbing if I said I didn’t regret taking this one on when I saw the state of the undergrowth, especially with only a few precious hours available and a revisit out of the question.

First of all, I simply walked his exact path without the detector in order to define the known route and avoid confusion with other peoples tracks and the disturbance later when vegetation had been swept around by the coil.  The exact stops where he took the photos were dotted with fluorescent spray paint. These would become focus points where body position changed (turning, crouching etc). Likewise, places where he walked downhill were likely a higher probability as the material on the back pockets is more relaxed and mobile than when stretched going uphill.
I verified with Glenn by phone whether the keys were in left or right pocket. Since he walked clockwise around the property it weighted the search to that side of the tracks, slightly.
Out with the detector.  I started with a fast pass along the entire route. The endless hits on old buckles, tarpaulin grommets, roofing iron offcuts, toy cars and bits of galvanised tin was soul-destroying but each target had to be verified.
Second pass was a wider sweep, nudging slightly further into the weeds either side, although it was so dense the coil wasn’t making any headway.
I switched to a much smaller coil but while it was more efficient at getting into the grass, it became quickly apparent that with the lesser footprint I wouldn’t be able to clear the area before running out of time.
Final plan was to physically break down the thistles and flatten the grass as much as I could, then use my ‘dustbin lid’ big coil with its larger detection area and greater depth capabilites.
Three hours after starting, I got a reasonable high tone, out with the pinpointer and rummaged it through the long grass.
Parting the stalks showed a key, several keys!
Not sure who was more relieved, me or Glenn when he got the photo of the now found keys.

Lost Gold Earring in Northland Garden – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

At the start of the year, Renene was clearing undergrowth on their rural Northland property. Later on she realised that one of the many branches around the head had somehow spirited away her sentimental earring.
As so many people who lose rings or bracelets do, after a fruitless search for the lost earring they conceded defeat and accepted the loss… Until she started searching online for a metal detector to try and find her special missing gold.

We spent a few minutes on site going over her recollection of how she and her husband tried to find the lost earring, where they thought it would be, and the infamous spot ‘X’ was marked as a start point.

The vegetation was very tight, and a layer of past weedings and prunings covered most of any remaining exposed soil. I nearly took the headphones off to run on speaker the entanglements were so bad, however for such a small piece in a sea of background chatter I needed every subtle tone… I quickly cleared the ‘easy’ bits around the site, and headed out to change to a smaller coil to get in under all the shrubs when I got a new bit of intel – the path they usually took in and out.

Back onto the standard coil, and I started to grid the higher probability area of their entry/exit track.
To one side was a pile of branches which I worked hard up against, intending to leave it for a later, more detailed pass if it wasn’t found in the early searching. But since I was there, I’d clear them and close off this area now.
Heaved the pile up and swept the coil underneath, a faint whisper made my ears perk up. I put the detector down and shifted the pile.

A second pass and there was a distinct but subtle tone. Out with the pinpointer and just under the surface, on it’s edge, was the lost earring already making itself very comfortable for a long stay.

I made my way out and beckoned to Renene to come over to see her newly found earring lying where it had fallen some 10 months ago.

She was a bit pleased!

 

 

Gold Ring Lost in Sea at Russell, Bay of Islands – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

John was out swimming off Long Beach at Russell in the Bay of Islands, and realising he’d forgotten to leave his gold wedding band behind took it off and dropped it inside his wetsuit for security.  All went to plan, until, at the end of his swim and while wading ashore he unzipped the wetsuit and folded it down.  The inevitable happened, however it wasn’t until he was back at the car and out of the wetsuit he remembered the now absent ring.

He spent some time looking for his treasured gold ring in the grass in the carpark and retraced his steps up and down the beach without luck.

I came into the story three days later and made the journey over to hopefully reunite John with his lost ring.

John was up to getting wet again, so I asked him to take one of my marker floats out and drop it at his best guess for the start point.

Starting initially with a spiral search pattern in the immediate area out to 5m, I then ran parallel sweeps back into the beach in the direction of his travel back to the car – pausing to brace into the occasional larger breaking waves.

Once in the shallows, I took a short break to remove the wetsuit and switch to dry gear for the remainder of the beach, continuing the overlapping parallel sweeps back to the car – With no luck.

I always aim to run at 90-95% probability of detection, and the fact I hadn’t found it irritated me. I explained to John that the chances of missing it were slim, so there was a possibility it had fallen out on the hard sand or grass and been picked up. The search corridor marked out allowed for plenty of space either side of his track, so I was confident it wasn’t there.

John accepted the loss, we shook hands and he headed on his way home.

After packing the gear away, I grabbed a coffee from the nearby vendor and sat in the car looking at the beach with the search grid in the sand… I wasn’t happy about something, but couldn’t pin it down.  I needed to have another go on the “Assume Nothing, Believe No-One and Confirm Everything” principle.

What if John hadn’t come in on the direct line he thought he had?  Watching the swimmers and kids splashing around for a few minutes, I saw there was a subtle longshore drift dragging them along the beach. I decided to go back in and extend the search corridor.

Didn’t bother with the wetsuit this time, just grabbed the scoop and detector and headed back to the edge of the previous search area and started adding another 10m to it in the direction of the current.

After maybe 15 minutes, I got that solid gold ‘thud’ in the phones, and the scoop picked it up first time.

I headed back to the car and not having Johns number, phoned his wife to give the good news and ask her to get John to turn around and come back.  He was a very happy chap when I dropped the ring in his hand.