Caroline sent me a message a couple of days ago explaining her husband had lost his gold and platinum wedding ring while swimming off Waikaraka Beach in Whangarei, would I be able to assist?
The catch was, he lost it five months ago and it could have been anywhere within a couple of acres of rocky shore, or possibly further out in the harbour silts.
The big plus was, being an inner harbour beach, there would have been no significant wave action and subsequent shifting of sediments that would occur on the ocean coast.
The negative being that being so shallow, there was a good chance it had landed somewhere that dried at low tide and it had been picked up while it lay on the surface.
I duly arrived just after noon on Saturday and followed the falling tide down, extending the search out into the harbour to the point where the mud started getting deep.
After five hours, with the tide rapidly reclaiming the beach and night falling, I reluctantly called it quits.
I sent a message to Caroline advising I had unfortunately been unsuccessful, and started the long drive home.
That night, I couldn’t get one specific area out of my mind – I hadn’t been as thorough as usual in this region due to excessive oysters and the fact I was wearing neoprene boots.
This mental splinter hassled me to the point where, at 2am, I got back in the car and drove the 100km back to Whangarei for the 4am low.
There was no moon, but sufficient glow from the city lights to work. A cold 3°C morning without a breath of wind made for a surreal experience, wading through the glassy shallows (in heavy duty boots this time) under a cloudless southern hemisphere Milky Way.
It took about an hour and a half to search the area, but sure enough, next to a collection of submerged rocks lay Hughs ring.
Stained from its time in the mud, I gave it a polish after I had wandered back to the car and dried off.
Once warmed up and with some sleep, I messaged Caroline the good news at a more civilised hour.
She was down there in a shot!
Hugh was working elsewhere on their property at the time, but Caroline was going to put it next to his breakfast plate for when he returned