Three years ago, Connor was swimming at Long Beach near Russell and he felt his gold signet ring slip off his finger.
This was a one-off piece, well sort of, as each of the family had one made with the family crest embossed into it. Effectively irreplaceable.
I met with Connor at the time and spent some hours looking for it in the surf and on the beach, however came back empty handed.
It was highly unlikely a casual detectorist had found it in such a short time, so it had to have gone deep with the sand movement.
It became a thorn in my side, knowing it was there…
Any time I was in Russell since then, I had a look at the beach – Some days the sea and sand were favourable so I spent a few more hours looking. As I do with any outstanding recovery.
Other days, there was obviously a lot of deep sand overburden, so any attempt wouldn’t be productive.
About three weeks ago, I stopped by as had become habit (bordering on obsession) whenever I was on the peninsula.
I saw a very shallow and subtle shift in the beach contour so I kitted up.
The first hole produced a very old and white-oxidised lead sinker, this looked promising – but had someone else beaten me to it with the ring?
Second signal was a clean low tone, but very faint. I dug the scoop in deep, but the signal remained in the hole.
Second scoop took me down to around 40cm deep, the hole was silent so whatever it was, was in the scoop.
Expecting another sinker, I shook the sand out of the scoop in the water, looked in and there was a beautiful orangey-yellow of gold, just starting to get that water-aged tone.
Three years… and fifteen days, after it had been lost.
I emailed Connor that night with a photo. His reply was that of amazement, disbelief, and lots of exclamation marks.
Today he drove up from Auckland, and I handed his family ring back to him, smiles and handshakes aplenty.
I sat in the car afterwards, and put a line through his entry in my little black book and wrote, with immense satisfaction,