Erin was enjoying a swim at Kowharewa Bay, near Tutukaka when he lost his grandfathers signet ring.
The ring was given to his grandfather on his 21st birthday, and had been passed down to him. One of those things that is truly irreplaceable.
His wife contacted me, and I arranged to meet him at Tutukaka the following day to try and recover this precious part of his family history.
I was on site a little ahead of him, so set about lining up landmarks from a photo his wife had sent me and estimating how far out he would have been given the state of the tide and the 90 minute window they were there.
Kowharewa Bay has a very shallow contour below low water mark, so “waist deep” is potentially a huge area. The timestamp on the photo was invaluable as it told me exactly what the tide level was at the time around loss.
Once that was done, I headed back to the car to get the wetsuit on and make a start.
It was still well before low water, so did a quick calculation of how much extra depth to allow – which ultimately meant the curious onlookers on the beach could only see a pair of headphones and dive mask gliding backwards and forwards through the waves, occasionally sinking out of sight to investigate a potential target.
I finished the first search pattern out to one side of the estimated location and was just turning to head over and start a second run on the other side when the coil drifted over a solid tone off to my side .
Slipping underwater, I fanned the sand away to reveal a well worn signet ring.
Ring recovery is a “Game of Inches”. It’s a slow, methodical, extremely disciplined procedure, when there’s a lot of trash signals it can be extremely mentally fatiguing as well as you listen to and analyse every response.
Get lazy with just one sweep of the coil and you could miss the target and walk right past it.
Had the coil not just grazed the ring in this instance it could have been a long 4-6Hrs in the water into the night until the search pattern opened up far enough to include it.
I waded ashore and phoned to let Erin know I had something for him!
He turned up about 5 minutes later and quickly had the ring back on his finger.