I received the following email from Liam:
“Hi Justin I just discovered your website. My dad could use a hand ASAP he lost his FDNY retirement ring he’s been wearing for the past 15 years. He’s here on vacation for his 60th birthday. We know the exact location. It fell off his finger about 8 hours ago. The tide might have moved it but he thinks it’s in this shallow patch of sand. He searched three hours till caving in.”
Liam’s father Tom is a retired New York City Fire Department Lieutenant who received this ring from his men upon retirement. I arrived at the search site in Kahala at about 5PM. The search area was about 50’×20’ and was enclosed by reefs on the east and south sides. Tom’s ring slipped off his finger while taking a leisurely dip in the water. The water was averaging about 3ft deep with some current and wave action. I started searching the back edge of the search area and gradually worked my way in towards shore.
About 30 minutes into the search, I received a faint low tone about 10ft from shore in 3’ of water. I made a scoop then sifted out the sand and saw a pulltab which was about 6” deep. I made another scan and found that there was still something in the hole. I made a second scoop and found Tom’s retirement ring!
Saturday March 16th:
Marie and Steve were enjoying the day at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar when Marie’s 2-carat Tiffany diamond engagement ring flew off her finger after catching a ball. I received a call from Steve around 7PM and agreed to help.
Sunday March 17th:
I met Steve and Marie at the Kaneohe Bay Marina at 10AM. After hearing the story of Marie’s lost engagement ring, the marina’s manager was kind enough to allow us to hitch a ride to the sandbar on their safety boat. We reached the sandbar about 10 minutes later to find the sandbar congested with about 20 boats anchored. The water was approximately ankle-deep and glassy but after 3 hours of searching, no ring.
Sunday March 24th:
Marie and Steve had already left the island by this point. However, I arranged to have the safety boat take me back out to the sandbar to continue the search. It was drizzling during the boat ride out and after 2 hours of searching, the drizzle turned into a downpour and the wind and waves picked up so we decided to head back to shore.
Saturday March 30th:
My buddy Preston and I rented a boat from the marina then headed out to the sandbar. The weather was great and there was a negative tide. Within about 5 minutes and after 3 weeks of searching, I finally found Marie’s ring, just barely under the surface of the sand. As soon as we got back into town, we found the nearest FedEx store and shipped the ring to Marie via 2nd day air. Here she is with her ring back on her finger.
Sunday, August 12, 2012:
I received a call from Matt who stated that his mother Joan lost her ring in the water off of the Outrigger Waikiki. I met Matt and Joan a couple hours later on the beach fronting Duke’s Waikiki, right around 3pm. I was planning on going diving for the ring since it was initially thought to be in 5’ of water. The water was very murky due to the turbulence from the rotor-wash of the catamarans that pull up to the beach. I wasn’t able to see a foot in front of me so I put my diving gear away and donned a weight belt to keep me stable in the rough surf. The ring was thought to be about 30’ offshore. I tried to mark a grid as best as possible but I was constantly getting pushed off a meter or so by the waves which were at some points over head high. The turbulence is really what made the search take so long. After searching an area about 200sqft, I moved towards the shoreline. Fast forward a few hours, just as Joan had lost all hope and motioned for us to come back in, I got a solid reading on my metal detector. I was in about 4’ of water and about 30’ from where Joan felt her ring leave her finger. After about 5 hours of searching, Joan’s 3-carat diamond solitaire was finally reunited to its owner.
Tuesday, September 26:
I received a call from Mike last Tuesday evening about a lost ring at Shark’s Cove. He and his friends were free diving through some underwater caves for about two hours on Tuesday morning with no issues. The last cave dive of the day was an underwater cave 30 feet deep and approximately 40 feet long. Mike felt that he could no longer hold his breath about halfway through the cave. In a state of panic, he stopped swimming forward and became positively buoyant. Mike was forced into the cave ceiling and was pinned underwater. When he came to his senses, he pushed off the ceiling and that’s when he thought his gold wedding band slipped off into the deep sand. As he was already out of breath with about 20 more feet of cave to go, he didn’t bother trying to find the ring and instead swam as quickly as he could out of the cave and to the surface. There was a small skylight in the cave ceiling about 10 feet from the cave exit which Mike was able to squeeze through. He says it probably made the difference between reaching the surface and drowning.
When Mike got to the surface, he told his friends about his lost wedding band. They all made multiple attempts to search for it with no luck. At that point everyone was tired and didn’t have it in them to hold their breath long enough to search for the lost wedding band. That’s when Mike called me.
Saturday, September 27:
I arrived at Sharks Cove at 8:30am. I was with Mike and my buddy who wanted to do some cave diving and agreed to be my cameraman and safety diver just in case I succumbed to shallow water blackout. I couldn’t use SCUBA because of the tight fit in the cave. I didn’t want to risk getting my hoses snagged by coral or on the cave walls. As I am an experienced cave diver and can hold my breath for a long time, I felt more comfortable without SCUBA in this situation. It took about 10 minutes to swim out to the spot where Mike lost his ring. My first dive was just a practice run. I needed to make sure that there were no obstructions or other hazards in the cave. I decided to start at the cave exit since Mike didn’t know for sure where his ring slipped off. I dove down with my Excalibur II w/SCUBA shaft and searched about 10ft into the cave. I was directly underneath the skylight that Mike used to exit the cave when my detector sounded off with a low growl. I was nearly out of breath from the excitement so I exited the cave through the skylight and handed my detector off to Mike. I then dove down to retrieve the object. I fanned the sand away and saw it buried 5 inches down in a sand wave. It was Mike’s gold ring! Mike was very happy to get his ring back but I held onto it for the rest of the dive at his request. We spent the rest of the morning diving through the caves.