I got a call late last night from Sophie, asking if I was able to find a lost gold earring in the sand.
She had been playing volleyball on the beach at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa in the Far North of New Zealand, and at some stage in the rough and tumble the earring was lost into the sand. A fellow camper at the Tauranga Bay campsite had heard of or witnessed my successful recovery of a lost engagement ring there just a couple of days ago. It was a simple matter to track down The Ringfinders to save the day (well, night)
It was just about low tide when she phoned, dinner could wait but time and tide waits for no-one, it was 50km away and night searches in the water aren’t fun. I threw the water kit in the car and headed off.
They had left the net up so I could see where they had been playing, but the giveaway was the parallel lines and grubbing about of what looked like a group of people doing a shoulder to shoulder contact search through the sand. It was just on sunset when I started and worked the court area and the principle traffic area back towards the camp. I became aware of an audience in the dark, comfortably seated and watching what must be the most boring spectator event ever! However they were to disappointed as the only two targets found were a hair clip and a 10c piece. Confident I had cleared the site, it was either deep or not in the indicated area.
After confirming clothing etc had been checked to make sure it hadn’t been caught up, I said I would return in the morning with a deeper coil.
Up at 4am to drive back to the beach. Aside from a few torches of bleary-eyed campers stumbling around the campsite it was just me and my detector. I re-ran the original grid, picking up some deeper junk targets before widening the search area. I dropped over the change in contour where the waves had lapped on last nights high tide and off to the outside of one corner of the original grid I picked up a quiet ‘double-thud’ of a circular object – but could be an old can pulltab down deep.
Yes, it was deep, nearly 30cm down, but it wasn’t a pulltab as my fingers closed on the familiar shape of a sand-filled ring in the dark. Verified in the headlamp, and Job Done!
I scratched a message to Sophie in the sand: “FOUND IT! Back at 4pm” and headed off to work.
Later that morning I got a TXT from Sophie who had seen the message and was overjoyed at the retrieval of her lost earring. By 4pm, it was back in her hands (to be put safely away with the other one for the remainder of their holiday)