Merten and his family were enjoying another fantastic day in W.A. until he felt his custom made platinum wedding band (it took 8 years to settle on the design!) slip from his finger while playing with his daughter Emilia in the surf at Bunker bay near Dunsborough in South Western Australia.
Mortified, he stood very still and tried to feel around in the shallow water for the ring but was unable to find it due to the surf at the time.
Wondering what to do, he tried google for help which resulted in a referal (thanks ‘Billy’) to ‘TheRingFinders’ metal detecting service where he was able to find me. When I received his email it had already been 3 days so after garnering the details from him I checked the weather and tide conditions for the area and asked if he could meet me the next morning to show me where he had been in the water.
Unfortunately he and his family were now quite a way inland staying in Manjimup and could not get back to Bunker bay until the following afternoon, so I asked him to send me a placemark on google maps marking the location so I could attempt a recovery as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence with all searches, but particularly in the surf for a number of reasons. The biggest of those is that when the sand a ring is sitting in becomes liquidatedy by the surf (water is forced under pressure between the grains of sand) most of the resistance which is supporting the weight of the lost item is removed and the ring or other heavy object settles lower and lower until something stops it or the resistance increases.
Obviously a metal detector can only detect small items to a certain depth (determined by the composition and mass of the item, and the mineralisation level of the soil or sand) and as they become buried deeper and deeper their response to a metal detectors electro-magnetic pulse becomes weaker and weaker until the response can no longer be ‘heard’ by the detectors electronics.
I packed up the ute and headed off on the 2.5hr drive south from Perth the next morning and arrived at Bunker bay a little after low tide in perfect conditions for a recovery.
Merten had told me he lost his ring about 4-5 pm (which the tidal charts told me was nearly high tide) and that he was only 1-2 m into the water so I was hoping if I searched at low tide the ring should be somewhere on the wet sand and more or less where he had lost it but probably buried fairly deep by now.
Luckily Merten had had some good reference points to give me so I started to search methodicaly up and down the beach to the waters edge, just to the right of where the ring should be. As I aproached the waters edge at the spot Merten had marked on the map for me I finally heard another signal (so far I had only recovered a pull-tab). I heard a faint, deep signal and my heart began to race! Please, please, please be Mertens ring I said to myself as I began removing scoop after scoop of sand and periodically scanning the hole to see if the target was still in the hole.
Eventually I heard nothing in the hole so I turned on my pinpointer and located the target in my piles of sand. I then felt for the item and yelled a big woohoo when I felt the unmistakeable shape of a ring in my hand. I washed the sand from it in the pool of water which had seeped into the hole I’d dug, and knew immediately that it was Mertens ring from the photo of it which I’d asked him to provide. Hooray!
Merten rang not long after and I was able to share the wonderful news with him. I arranged to meet him and his family a little later in Dunsborough to reunite him with his ring after which we took the short drive back to the bay for a few photo’s and we parted company from there.
I never get sick of the joy these recoveries bring to people and cant wait to do it all over again for someone soon. Happy New Year Merten!!