I was eating lunch at work when I received a call from a man who had lost his wedding ring while he was bait fishing in the Swatara Creek near Hummelstown, Pa. Immediately two things came to mind, the fact that it was a three hour round trip and that the ring was lost in a cold creek in October! Brrr!!!! I mentioned to him that the RingFinders have folks in his immediate vicinity, to which he responded that the original RingFinder he contacted did not want to get wet.
Ok, so I did have some reservations about going into the cold water, for a near impossible task, but what the heck – I have a job to do and this man needed my assistance. Besides, treasure hunters go to where the treasure is – isn’t that right Mr. Beau Ouimette?
Another reason I decided to give this a shot was the fact that Eric wrote up very detailed responses in his emails to every question I had. He was very thorough, which was impressive, so that helped out a lot. He obviously really wanted to recover the ring; he was actually the other half of the recovery team.
A few days later we had a break in the cold weather, so I grabbed my snorkeling mask and detector and off I went. We communicated via texts, as he came from northern Jersey and I came up from Philly; we met right on time near the Swatara Creek by Hummelstown, PA with about three to four hours of daylight remaining.
I threw on my new waders and we walked down to the creek. It was about as deep as I had expected from his description, but much faster. Being an avid fly fisherman, I immediately eyed up the rapids … no mayflies would be hatching today. 🙂 To my surprise, Eric walked right into the creek with me, leading the charge in a T-shirt, shorts and some water shoes! I knew that he was cold, but he was on a mission and he didn’t complain once. Eric was right in there with me, I actually needed him to help guide me and keep me in my “lanes.” This was important, so that I would not miss spots or go over the same areas twice.
Searching the creek was difficult, there was so much junk in there, I really had to try and filter out all thefalse hits. My detector also went off every time I hit a rock … very frustrating. Then when I had a viable signal, I had to dip my head under the water in hopes of locating it with my Garrett Carrot. The water was moving so fast that it would often fill my mask, waders and kick any objects I touched down stream a few feet. I also had to detect with the current, I just could not swing my detector going against the fast flowing water.
Eric did a great job in guiding me, I was thankful that he was there and that he did such a great job working with me. About two hours or so into our search his parents showed up and we took a short break. I could tell that Eric was cold and could use a some time out of the cold water to warm up. He then told me that he came down a few times to search for the ring himself, but it was just too difficult.
After our break I saw that we were running out of daylight quickly and it would soon be too dark to continue the search. I had mentioned to Eric that a friend of mine, aka the Otter, really enjoys water detecting and that we might have to come back next summer to give it another shot …I had kinda lost hope in recovering the ring at this point. Yet Eric’s determination, standing in that cold water doing all he could, gave me inspiration to press on and at least finish our current search area. There was even more to check out further upstream, but we just didn’t have enough time today.
One more lane in the center of the stream would complete the grid and I was going to call it a day, this search was coming to an end. I was getting my apology for failing him ready, as he was still guiding me, using his body as a marker. We were in the middle of the creek in deeper faster water, I was about ten feet from Eric, ready to call it a day – thinking of my warm dinner – when my detector gave me a solid ping, which could be a white gold ring … or a bottle cap. This would be my last hope, my last dip into the cold water. I marked the spot with my detector, went down on my knees and tried to locate it with the pin pointer. I felt the pin pointer’s vibration, so I pulled down my mask and took a dunk in efforts to locate the metal object. And at that moment, I had visions of Sméagol finding his “precious” in the dark cave. As I looked past the bubbles from the fast flowing water, the creek bed was already a dark grey in the fading light – there it was! The silver circle – radiating – reflecting the last light of the day. I felt like I was watching a movie, like I was in a movie. I slowly reached out with my hand, being very careful not to disturb this round object, as the strong current might toss it a few feet downstream … then the moment I closed my fingers around it – I saw that it was a beautiful silver ring – it had to be Eric’s.
When I came up out of the water and held up the ring, Eric’s expression said it all – it was his! He was speechless as I handed the ring to him and then he became very excited screaming in jubilation as he was reunited with his lost wedding band. He was the most animated customer I have ever had; I was pretty happy myself. I still was in disbelief that I had actually found it under near impossible conditions. This recurring theme of not giving up and hitting my target near the very end of my search is truly inspiring. Never give up!
Eric and his parents texted a picture of him and the ring to his wife while we were still all wet. My excitement did not end there however. Eric and I went to the local ATM, as he needed some cash for the reward. I was flabbergasted at his VERY generous gift, because for me it really is not about the money. The smiles are a great reward themselves, I am glad to provide a successful service to those in need. Eric insisted that I take all of the money, so reluctantly I did … ok yes, the money is very nice also, it certainly helped out with the bills. 🙂
This has been my most difficult search and also my greatest recovery! I was so pumped up on the ride home that I missed my turn and took the long way home. I shall always remember this adventure and am thankful for Eric’s help and most generous reward.