Hi everyone! At 6.27 am on Sunday, I received the following text message from Libby:
“Good morning! My husband lost his wedding ring in Thompson Bay @ Rottnest Island yesterday. The location is particularly tricky as there are long seaweed strands clumped close together. The location doesn’t need diving necessarily as it is waist-shoulder deep water, but an underwater metal detector would definitely be required. We snorkeled for 45 mins with no luck. We know the area because we were swimming back to our boat on its mooring which is very close to the beach (so at least we have a marker for location). Could you let us know roughly what a job like this would cost? Thank you so much! Libby & Brett Giroud.”
So here we go with my first search as a new member of ‘TheRingfinders Directory’, and its at an island, in the water and if that’s not enough, the ring is somewhere in the thick matted weeds that the Island is well known for, mmm good one! I do love a challenge however and what a great challenge it turned out to be!
After establishing that Brett and Libby were no longer on the island, I started on the detective work…
I learnt that Brett had been swimming with his left arm whilst supporting a bag containing his and his wifes phones and camera out of the water with his right arm, when he felt the ring come off. He later explained he could see some of the starboard side of the boat and that he had thought it just a bit too far to throw the bag into the boat and dive down after the ring. (We agreed he was probably about 5-7 m from the boats starboard side.)
I arrived on Rottnest Island on Tuesday and after obtaining a dive bottle proceeded to the area where the ring was lost. Rather fortuitously a group on the beach who inquired as to what I was doing had actually been on that part of the beach on the same day and could recall for me how the vessels were laying off their moorings at the approximate 2 pm time of loss. Very useful info and as i suspected the boats had been laying with their sterns pointing to the NE due to the typical summer South west wind – known locally as the “Freo or Fremantle Doctor”. So using Brett’s entry point and the buoy their boat was tied up to as a reference, I determined the rings approximate location to be about 5-6 m to the left of and a few meters back towards the beach from the TB 352 mooring buoy. (I allowed a little for the ring travelling a bit sideways and backwards through the water when it came off)
First I snorkeled out to the location and placed a marker buoy about 8 m to the left of the mooring buoy and returned to fetch my detector and dive tank. Brett remembered seeing a green bottle 3/4 buried in the sand and had been searching near this. Finding the bottle I began my search and quickly found a ring pull tab. O.k so everything’s working I thought and started to return to the beach for ground lines to form a grid across the search area, when I heard a faint signal which I nearly ignored, not wanting to waste any time by searching haphazardly!
Well bugger me, when I parted the sea grass there was Brett’s ring laying half buried in the sand base! Wow, second target and boom, I’d found what Brett had thought he might have lost forever!
Turns out this was only the first part of the story, I’d had an idea, so I called Libby to suggest she invite her husband to dinner somewhere nice and she said it was their ‘date’ night so he would not suspect a thing. Well Libby and I could not wait! Brett was not expecting a call from me until about 8 pm when I was to be returning on the ferry!
I was actually at my local metal detecting club meeting while they were in the restaurant and I had Brett’s ring sitting on top of the champagne bottle on my clubs ‘Find Of The Month’ table waiting for our guest speaker to finish so that the finds could be voted upon! Well every time I thought he was about to stop so I could hike it over to the restaurant and quickly coerce the staff into placing it in an ‘on the house’ desert, the speaker would start telling us another interesting story about an unmarked outback grave. In the end though I had to grab it during the meeting, leave the meeting and race off to the restaurant…… They say a picture tells a thousand words so I guess Brett’s smile says the rest!!