Timely engagement of an experienced Ringfinder using state of the art equipment will always give you the very best chances of recovering your item, and all the irreplaceable memories and sentiment it holds.
Last weekend, Nathalie was dismantling an old chicken run on their rural lifestyle block near Russell. Having already snagged her gold watch that day, she thought it prudent to remove it and place it in the overalls pocket for safekeeping.
And forgot all about it.
Later she realised she hadn’t put the watch back on, so went to the overalls only to find the pocket empty.
One lost watch.
She recalled that at one stage, her friend had picked up the overalls and slung them over her shoulder as she headed away from the house and across a marshy area to where the new chicken run was being built. In doing so, a pencil fell from the pocket which her friend picked up before carrying on along the track through the marsh.
Had it fallen out when the overalls were thrown over the shoulder? Along the narrow overgrown track through the marsh? Or even before that?
They all had a search around the property before Nathalie called me. She wasn’t ready to engage the services of a Ringfinder at this stage, so I gave her some tips as to where it might be, and how she might find her lost watch.
She headed straight out into the rainy night with a torch to try and locate it, and tried again the following morning.
The watch remained missing.
Nathalie contacted me again that afternoon and conceded defeat – Would I please come and find it for her?
The next morning, I boarded the car ferry to Russell to conduct the search.
On arrival, Nathalie went through the timeline and actions. The areas involved were quite overgrown with dense grass, scrub, and reeds in the marsh. Complicating the issue were numerous metal structures, odd buried bits of metal and chicken mesh being reclaimed by the grass.
I initially did a cursory sweep of her travels with the large coil, however there were too many conflicting targets. I had to switch to the tiny 6″ coil in order to pick my way through the background chatter. Also focussing on my Search & Rescue tracking and scene processing skills to assess where people had actually travelled in each area.
Not too easy given the disturbed grass was already springing back to it’s natural position, enhanced by the previous days warm and heavy rains accelerating regrowth.
I systematically covered each of the three key areas: Where the overalls had been slung on the shoulder, the subsequent path through the marsh, the newly built chicken run, and the original site of the old chicken run.
It was at the latter, when I started expanding the search area away from the centre, that I got a positive tone in the headphones.
I couldn’t see anything, so fired up the pinpointer and pressed it into the grass – It chattered away…as it had done many times that day (so many times…. only to be a nail or shotgun pellet).
This time though, I parted the grass to see a glint of gold, the shiny surfaces reflecting the yellow-green of the grass as though it was actively trying to camoflage itself.
I marked the location and wandered back to the house, ” Would you like to come for a walk?”
I led her down to where the watch lay, and pointed to where it was. She couldn’t see it.
A few hints were needed to guide her to it, and she was amazed at how invisible it was. Nathalie took a photo before she pulled it from the grass where it had lain for three days. “Four of us searched this area!”.
Without the SAR tracking skills and solid experience in recoveries, this could have been a very long search, and probably even unsuccessful for an inexperienced person, given the huge potential area, extensive background noise and multiple interaction locations.