Ring lost swimming at Taupo Bay. Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

I occasionally get calls from people that I have previously recovered lost rings for, usually along the lines of, “I’ve done it again…”, or, “A friend/neighbour has lost their…”
Krista phoned me to say that a guest had been swimming at Taupo Bay and had lost his Gucci ring in almost exactly the same spot that I had recovered her own treasured heirloom ring at the start of this year.

It was late afternoon and the light would soon be fading, however the tide was falling so I had to try and catch the first low tide that night.
I arrived at Taupo Bay and was relieved to see that this popular surf beach had virtually no break today – I knew the area of loss would be exposed at low tide, however that wouldn’t be until about 10pm so I waded out and made a start.
The water hadn’t warmed to summer temperatures yet, but was definitely warm enough that the wetsuit wasn’t needed. A very strong cross current was feeding a rip nearby and sand was being visibly moved along the beach and at times sucked from under my feet. One of the reasons that water recoveries have to be carried out as soon as possible.

As I worked the search patterns Hayden, the `lossee`, and Krista settled in to watch the worlds most boring spectator sport.
The high probability area yielded nothing and as both tide and night fell, I started to expand the search out to 20m…30m… back across the area they had been swimming.
Several hours and multiple overlapping grid patterns later, I was convinced it wasn’t where it was supposed to be (they almost never are).
The others had long since left me to it so I texted to advise a no-find… So far.

On the drive home, I replayed the search over and over in my mind. Re-analysing the circumstances of loss against the fact that the ring was not located despite a near 100% probability of detection over the entire swimming area.
Hayden said he had been sweeping his hand through the water, and he had felt it come off.
The ring had to have been airborne, unseen by Hayden – hidden among the water spray/droplets.
Stated to be ‘silver’, I have found that this can mean it just looks silver and can be anything from platinum, white gold, or titanium. All with very different densities and responses. As an example, if you had two rings in your hand, white gold and titanium, and threw them, the gold would travel much, much further than the titanium due to the greater mass.

How far would a ring go? The original search area had discounted the lighter titanium.

Back on the road early next morning for the hour drive to Taupo Bay again in order to catch the next tide. When I don’t find a ring it becomes a personal challenge. It’s partially this tenacity which enables me to find rings which others have tried for and given up, or missed, due to inexperience or unsuitable detectors.

I had the luxury of daylight and a large tide window this time.

Some time was spent painstakingly eliminating several dozen unlikely but must-be-confirmed signals in amongst a buried jumble of fragments of reinforced concrete and other ‘hot’ rocks with high metal content under the sand. All metal targets were proven to be trash.
Then I moved onto a wider area search based on a couple of underarm throws of my test rings – in the opposite direction to where they had been swimming.
30 minutes later I got a very clear silver tone – The scoop went in, and from 30cm under the sand on the edge of yesterdays rip current emerged Hayden’s lost sterling silver ring.

I love sending texts that simply say, “FOUND!” – They’re usually followed immediately after by my phone ringing with an excited and unbelieving voice at the other end 🙂

 

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