Every lost item hunt is unique and one thing I’ve learned is that you have to be ready for anything . . my latest hunt brought that message home clearly. Late one evening two weeks ago, I received a search request from a young woman who’se husband had lost his wedding ring in the shorebreak at Rio Del Mar beach. She was understandably upset so I got geared up for what I knew was going to be a difficult search two days later. The afternoon the ring had been lost also coincided with the arrival of our first significant South swell of the season so I chose to wait an extra day for the swell to drop. A powerful, deep South swell carries a lot of energy (I know personally as I had been surfing the same swell the previous day) and can complicate a water search as they can move a lot of sand . . fast. I arrived at first light so I could maximize my search time before heading to work. I chose my White’s Dual Field P.I. machine for the search but after four hours of disciplined, meticulous hunting the ring still remained hidden. I really wanted to find this one for the young couple who had lost it so I went to work and planned to follow-up with another search the following day. The thick fog kept it too dark and delayed my start time an hour but after three more hours of hunting I had nothing to show for it besides a pocketful of trash, corroded zinc pennies and cold shriveled feet. At least now I was certain the ring was not in the area it was dropped as I had thoroughly hunted approx. 6000 sq.ft. in a tight grid 3 times from different directions. I determined that the last area of possibility lay further down into the water. This area was impossible to hunt effectively as the shorebreak was relentless and powerful so I planned to come back the following week when there would be very low, minus tides. I arrived at the location again at first light, hopeful that success lay just a little further down the beach. After 45 minutes I got a solid double signal. I was intrigued as a ring (and unfortunately numerous trash items) can have that signal characteristic. I scooped down, dumped the wet blob onto the sand and spread it out with my cold foot. Seeing a glint of shiny gold, I reached down and retrieved the item. I cleaned it off and there in my hand lay a beautiful, large men’s gold band . . but it WASN’T the one I was searching for !! Revitalized I continued my search, knowing I was in the “gold zone” . . I was certain the ring I was looking for was going to reveal itself in the next swing of my coil. Sadly after three more hours, no success. The cold Pacific Ocean wasn’t ready to give back the ring. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I take these searches very seriously and personally. You are quite literally these people’s last hope and you want so badly to help get the lost item returned . . the weight of responsibility feels as if it is squarely on your shoulders. Today, this find was not to be but the story doesn’t end there. The tide had pushed in far enough to make continuing the search pointless so I decided to hunt the dry sand for a little while till I had to head to work. I figured I might scrape together a few coins for gas money and at the very least, warm my feet up. I randomly swung my coil over a few areas of the HUGE beach and, after a few minutes, up pops a new smart phone from 3-4″ down in the sand. Surprises are always fun so smiling to myself, I carefully cleaned the phone off. It appeared to be a recent drop because it was in very good shape so I packed it away with the intent of posting the find on Craigslist in the hope of returning it to the owner someday. I was just about to exit the beach when a young man spotted my detector, came up and asked “did you happen to find a cell phone out there . .” My jaw almost dropped and after I had him describe it I realized this WAS the phone ! The odd’s are incalculable. The fact that I happened to put my coil over THAT spot in my short search on such a huge beach was 1 in a million, then to happen to run across the owner at the last second . . . I told Brett it was his lucky day and suggested he buy a lottery ticket. He told me that finding the phone was going to save him from his mother’s wrath . . I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head. Success is where you find it, what an awesome day ! You have to be prepared for anything on a search . . .