Late yesterday afternoon, Vega contacted me for help to find her lost ring at the beach.
She had been boogie-boarding at Ocean Beach, a beautiful surf beach on the outer coast of Whangarei – and had lost her ring in the sea.
After some google searches, her daughter suggested that Vega contact me.
Shortly after I had been given the circumstances, I was asking my long-suffering boss for the day off, again.
He agreed (I could imagine the eyes rolling), and so I was able to call Vega back and tell her that I would travel down first thing in the morning.
Marine recoveries are always against the clock – Never more so than when the person is on the last day of their holiday, and the ring has been lost in the intertidal zone on a surf beach!
I met Vega and her husband onsite, and I was very pleased to see they had pushed a stick into the sand yesterday to give me their best guess as to where it might be.
The dry fluffy sand where they had been sitting was the first search. Five minutes into it I dug a loud tone in the headphones – A flash of gold emerged…only to be a ‘kiddy-bling’ butterfly ring.
With a big grin, I jokingly asked Vega’s husband if this was it.
Dry sand cleared, and the tide approaching low, I returned to the car to get kitted up to head out into the surf.
This is where ringfinding experience, dedication and discipline come into play – careful tracking of coil coverage is critical to avoid missing even a ring-sized patch of sand. Not an easy task with surf breaking on you.
I wanted to cover the difficult section in the deepest water first, as this would be the first to be out of reach after the tide turned. It’s physically demanding fighting the waves, currents and pushing the detector through the water for several thousand sweeps.
After clearing the deeper water, I was glad to be able to start moving into the shallows for some respite on the arms.
Some time later, I heard a distinctive quiet tone in the shallows.
It took three fast scoops of sand to get to it, the shelly sand was very light and mobile and flowed straight back in the hole as fast as I could remove it.
The hole was quiet after the third scoop, and I lifted it out confident that there was a ring inside.
After sluicing the sand through, I was left with a few shells – and a gold ring.
Vega was further up the beach, standing in the shallows watching the sea. She looked up as I approached, I held the ring up with a big smile.
Her eyes lit up as she put the ring straight onto her finger and vowed it wouldn’t come to the beach again.