Jess was swimming at Paihia, in Northland, NZ when she felt the large silver ring slip off her finger.Her boyfriend tracked me down via a web search and I arranged to meet them at the next low tide.
The beach had largely emptied after the New Year holiday-makers so I was able to run a comprehensive grid without hindrance of sunbathers/swimmers or inquisitive children.
As the search area started to open up from their ‘Lost here’ best guess, and with the pouch slowly filling with metallic chaff and the occassional toy car I started to consider other options and second guess myself.
Had it been picked up by an eagle-eyed passer by as the tide dropped? Had I missed it with one slightly lazy swipe of the coil?
Despite these niggles, I stuck to the grid and started out into the water. It had started raining, so I was already wet and with the beach being actively dragged down by the ebbing waves I needed to work this area as best I could before the shells etc buried it if it was out there.
After about three or four passes out to the edge of the actively mobile sand, I got a faint silver tone. Wave surge made it difficult to accurately fix the position, and it was still in the hole after the first scoopful came out. I briefly glimpsed it as it settled in the slurry of shell and sand. This is where you can lose a ring down deep if not careful. The scoop went in again, well under the ring and heaved the contents out. Hole checked and clear. I had it.
Jess and Johnny were already making their way down the beach towards me as I held the ring up… And the sun started to come out.