Bay of Islands Tag | The Ring Finders

Gold Earring Lost in Sand at Whangaroa, Found and Returned.

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

I got a call late last night from Sophie, asking if I was able to find a lost gold earring in the sand.

She had been playing volleyball on the beach at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa in the Far North of New Zealand, and at some stage in the rough and tumble the earring was lost into the sand. A fellow camper at the Tauranga Bay campsite had heard of or witnessed my successful recovery of a lost engagement ring there just a couple of days ago. It was a simple matter to track down The Ringfinders to save the day (well, night)

It was just about low tide when she phoned, dinner could wait but time and tide waits for no-one, it was 50km away and night searches in the water aren’t fun. I threw the water kit in the car and headed off.

They had left the net up so I could see where they had been playing, but the giveaway was the parallel lines and grubbing about of what looked like a group of people doing a shoulder to shoulder contact search through the sand. It was just on sunset when I started and worked the court area and the principle traffic area back towards the camp.  I became aware of an audience in the dark, comfortably seated and watching what must be the most boring spectator event ever!  However they were to disappointed as the only two targets found were a hair clip and a 10c piece.  Confident I had cleared the site, it was either deep or not in the indicated area.

After confirming clothing etc had been checked to make sure it hadn’t been caught up, I said I would return in the morning with a deeper coil.

Up at 4am to drive back to the beach. Aside from a few torches of bleary-eyed campers stumbling around the campsite it was just me and my detector.  I re-ran the original grid, picking up some deeper junk targets before widening the search area.   I dropped over the change in contour where the waves had lapped on last nights high tide and off to the outside of one corner of the original grid I picked up a quiet ‘double-thud’ of a circular object – but could be an old can pulltab down deep.

Yes, it was deep, nearly 30cm down, but it wasn’t a pulltab as my fingers closed on the familiar shape of a sand-filled ring in the dark. Verified in the headlamp, and Job Done!

I scratched a message to Sophie in the sand: “FOUND IT! Back at 4pm” and headed off to work.

Later that morning I got a TXT from Sophie who had seen the message and was overjoyed at the retrieval of her lost earring.  By 4pm, it was back in her hands (to be put safely away with the other one for the remainder of their holiday)

Silver ring lost in sea, quickly returned in Paihia

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Jess was swimming at Paihia, in Northland, NZ when she felt the large silver ring slip off her finger.Her boyfriend tracked me down via a web search and I arranged to meet them at the next low tide.
The beach had largely emptied after the New Year holiday-makers so I was able to run a comprehensive grid without hindrance of sunbathers/swimmers or inquisitive children.
As the search area started to open up from their ‘Lost here’ best guess, and with the pouch slowly filling with metallic chaff and the occassional toy car I started to consider other options and second guess myself.

Had it been picked up by an eagle-eyed passer by as the tide dropped? Had I missed it with one slightly lazy swipe of the coil?
Despite these niggles, I stuck to the grid and started out into the water. It had started raining, so I was already wet and with the beach being actively dragged down by the ebbing waves I needed to work this area as best I could before the shells etc buried it if it was out there.

After about three or four passes out to the edge of the actively mobile sand, I got a faint silver tone. Wave surge made it difficult to accurately fix the position, and it was still in the hole after the first scoopful came out. I briefly glimpsed it as it settled in the slurry of shell and sand. This is where you can lose a ring down deep if not careful.  The scoop went in again, well under the ring and heaved the contents out. Hole checked and clear. I had it.

Jess and Johnny were already making their way down the beach towards me as I held the ring up… And the sun started to come out.

New Engagement Ring Lost in Surf – Found and Returned, Tauranga Bay, NZ

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626
Every ring has a story. This particular story was nearly cut short after it had only just begun!
One day into her engagement, Alexis was enjoying the water at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa in New Zealand when she got hit by a large wave. Once the excitement had subsided, she realised the sea had pinched her brand new engagement ring!
Fortunately others nearby recommended me and she called immediately, before the wave action could bury it too deep.
On arrival, it wasn’t hard to see where she was in the crowd by the shoal of snorkellers searching in the shallows. After a quick Q&A, I had a good idea of the search area and started the first run.
Quick contact from Alexis and careful noting of her location enabled me to recover and hand back her lost ring within a few minutes – to screams of relief and joy echoing around the beach.
Alexis turned to her fiance, “Are we still getting married?” 😆
And the ring added a chapter to its story.

 


Diamonds lost in sand, found within two minutes

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Sarah was enjoying the summer with her family at Taupo Bay, a lovely ocean beach in the north of New Zealand.
Taking her gold and diamond wedding ring off to apply sunscreen to her son before a swim, it wasn’t until she got back to where she was staying that she realised the ring was now absent.
Fortunately, I had only recently posted in the local community Facebook page trying to find the owner of a couple of silver rings located during a casual hunt there, Sarah saw this and contacted me.
I met her on site the following day and she went through the what’s and where’s surrounding the loss of her wedding ring, indicating where the group had been spread out. A scoop hole nearby didn’t bode well, but this is a game of inches and there was a good chance a casual detector had missed it.

Kids had since excavated a massive crater in the beach in the two days after Sarahs visit, and I was fully expecting to have to return here and manhandle a few hundred kilos of sand back into the hole to get to the original beach surface under the pile of sand around it…
Luck was with me today though, another dozen paces and I got a nice “dig me” tone.
The scoop went in, I emptied it across the surface, and a line of diamonds wrapped in wet sand twinkled in the early evening sun.
Sarah was overjoyed –  and check out the cheesy grin on her son  🙂

 

Gold and Diamond Ring Lost at Kerikeri, New Zealand – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Barrys wife was swimming and playing with her grand-daughter in the sea in the Bay of Islands, NZ, last night.
As she went to do a handstand she felt her precious gold and diamond ring slip off her finger and into the cloudy water.

Instantly lost…

Fabricated from her mothers jewellery, she was understandably very distraught – returning with a torch that night to search for the lost ring.
Again she tried, at sunrise this morning, she was back with a mask and snorkel – but to no avail.

Shortly afterwards, Barry found me through a web search for ring recoveries, finding lost rings and metal detectors and gave me a call.
As luck would have it, it was just approaching low tide and I was only 30min away so threw the kit in the wagon and headed out.
On arrival, I saw she was standing diligently at ‘Spot X’. I went through the backstory of how she lost the ring, state of tide, depth of water, whether she was on shingle, sand or silt underfoot etc and started to work the grid.

Starting in the water, I worked back and forth along the beach. Ploughing my way through the many trash signals, digging a few that were too close to call. Eventually I emerged onto the beach and continued up past the depth she had indicated (Assume Nothing, Believe No-One, Check Everything)

There was evidence of recent detecting with scoop holes in the water and backfilled holes on the beach, as expected at this time of year with the influx of holidaymakers, although they were unlikely to have been created in the short period between time of loss and my arrival.

Initial search area was eventually cleared with no result, I discussed the search with them and we shifted slightly to one side towards where they had come down onto the beach.
Seconds into the new area, less than a metre outside the original grid boundary(!)  I caught the ring, tucked snugly into the gravel about 2-3 inches down – To an ecstatic cheer from it’s owner…and I went home to finish my lunch 🙂

Needle in a Haystack – Lost Hearing Aid Found in Paddock!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Pete was ushering some skittish cattle around a paddock yesterday, and was moving under a line of trees to get around them.    As he emerged from the low branches under the tree line he realised that his valuable hearing aid was no longer where it should be. Not the cheapest of items and subsequent efforts to comb through the grass were fruitless.
This morning, I got a message from his daughter in law asking if I would be able to assist.

Hearing aids are notoriously difficult to detect as the largest piece of metal in them is the battery – about half the size of a pea, and even then the metal is only the skin surrounding the battery chemical pastes.

I said I’d give it a go, being a very recent loss.
On arrival, I asked Pete to drop his spare earpiece on the ground so I could tune in and hopefully get a tone off it.
Instantly I heard the pops and whistles of electric fence interference – Easily sorted, and he wandered away to turn the fence off. Now I was able to only just hear the sound of the hearing aid, I had the machine running so hot in order to pick up the tiny flecks of metal in the hearing aid that I was now getting interference from the neighbours fence. Have to put up with that…
Pete had marked the area where he thought they had parted company, and I gave it a quick scan although with the background interference and a ‘million’ ancient fence staples and rusting wire fragments it was mentally exhausting work analysing everything the machine was telling me.
I retraced his path back under the line of trees before circling around to where he had emerged for a real intensive scan of the likely area, on hands and knees working the coil hard into the grass to ensure I would squeeze every last bit of signal out of the aid, should the coil pass over it.
A little over an hour after I had started searching and many false alerts, I got a small but repeatable target.
I carefully picked through the grass and saw a sliver of clear silicone tubing… A big grin crossed Petes face as I held the wayward hearing aid out to him.
The proverbial Needle in a Haystack!

 

Treasured Gold Ring Lost at Russell, Found by Metal Detectorist

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

I had just got home from a recreational detecting session when I received the call for a lost gold wedding ring at Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

All the gear was still in the car so a quick battery swap and on my way.

I arrived at the scene an hour later and Nathan and his wife took me through the scenario.
Nathan had been in chest deep water at the local beach when he took the ring off his finger, I believe, to check the looseness of his new wedding ring.
Whatever the reason, fate intervened, the fingers slipped and the ring sank to the seafloor and into the sand.
Fortunately he had presence to mind to stay put and several nearby swimmers and snorkellers all had a go at retrieving it, although as we Ringfinders know all too well, rings are rather adept at quickly burrowing into the sand with any disturbance.

Shortly after, we were joined by Paul (forgive me if I have forgotten your name) who I award the title of Honorary Ringfinder.

Paul had made a mental note at the time of the initial attempts of a couple of landmarks which would help relocate the Point Last Seen. He was also game to snorkel out to find the depression in the sand from the earlier efforts and drop my marker float. This quick thinking and assistance greatly boosted the odds, and I thank him.

The tide by now was far too high to hunt without SCUBA, so I eliminated the shallows “Believe no-one, Assume Nothing, Confirm Everything” then settled in for a wait as the tide dropped.

I passed the time deflecting curious swimmers, and one jet ski, all of whom seemed intent on moving my critical marker float. Drawn to it like moths to a flame… although it was rather amusing watching the behaviours change as they spotted the marker bobbing around and changed course directly for it, only to be intercepted by a concerned RingFinder rushing into the tide to explain what it was, and to please leave it there….!

After a couple of hours, the water was just under nostril height and I could get out to the Search Area. I found the depression and was concerned by the depth of the crater formed by a well-meaning snorkeller and feared they may have disturbed the bottom enough to allow the ring to settle deep into the gravels. I checked the hole with no results so started a systematic search pattern. I would return to the crater if the ring wasn’t located.

After a few grids, there was a bright tone, I’d heard many of these today which had all turned out to be pulltabs from drink cans, but on a ring recovery you have to dig every target.

On the third bite with the scoop I shook the sand and gravel out and was left with a handful of shells – and a ring. I held it up to show Paul, who responded from the beach with a celebratory cheer.

About an hour later I managed to catch up with Nathan and Anita in Paihia for an emotional reunion.

The ring had belonged to Nathans Grandfather who never took it off following his wedding day. Nathan was continuing the tradition, and I am honoured to be able to reverse what they thought was an irretrievable loss and ensure the story of his ring can continue.

iPhone Found with Metal Detector, Paihia, Bay of Islands

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Brand new iPhone rescued from the tide the other morning – And it still worked after spending a day underwater!

Owner was rapt to get it back, especially as it was their last day in the Bay of Islands before continuing their holiday through New Zealand.

Check out this expression. This is why I am a ringfinder and not a ring “collector”

Against all Odds – Keys Found on Paihia Beach

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Two Tourists Stranded in Paradise!

I was just heading down onto the beach for a random hunt when I was approached by Derek, “Will that find keys?”.

“Yep, where did you lose them?”.
“Last night walking between that pole and those toilets… They’re the keys for the campervan and we’re stuck here without them”.
The time of night they were lost put it at low tide, which left me with roughly 1.2 hectares of beach where they were hiding – And that’s assuming a walker hadn’t picked them up since. I was brutally honest with him about the very slim chances of finding them with a coil the size of a dinner plate, but had to give it my best.

I checked the waterline first as the tide was already coming in, then once I had cleared a buffer there against the encroaching tide, I headed up to the probable line of their route to the beach.

A short time later, I got a big hit in the dry powdery sand. Scuffed the surface of the sand off with my foot and there they were. I quietly pocketed them and headed back to the van, head hung in mock defeat.
I couldn’t help but wind Derek up a little about how it was such a huge area, and the chances of finding them today were virtually nil…before pulling the keys out of my pocket.
Derek and Gemma could now continue their holiday through NZ 

 

How to Find Lost Keys – Hire a Metal Detector.

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626
A rather desperate Glenn phoned me at work yesterday afternoon – The jeans he was wearing when he went out to price a job had a previously undiscovered hole in the back pocket.
He parked his BMW, dropped the keys in his pocket and set to work.
His heart sank when he headed back to the car and realised his predicament.
There were a few catches to this tale; He needed the car to operate his business, The section was derelict and overgrown with waist high weeds, metallic scrap from renovations littered the site (along with domestic detritus from the previous habitation), said property was a solid 2 hour drive away – a smidge under 100miles(!) … and they were lost four weeks ago.
The one redeeming point was the fact that the keys were ‘safe’, albeit lost. They were tucked in the weeds somewhere and not going anywhere.
Mind you, neither was Glenn without them.
I managed to wrangle the next morning off work and headed south at 3am, I needed to be back at the desk at noon so made sure I was on site and ready to go at first light.
Using photos Glenn had taken of the property for his quote, I had several good known points and was able to determine his aged tracks between them.
The actual task of getting the coil close enough to the ground was impossible with the matted thatch of grass and thistles that had grown noticeably in the warm early summer weather.  I would be fibbing if I said I didn’t regret taking this one on when I saw the state of the undergrowth, especially with only a few precious hours available and a revisit out of the question.

First of all, I simply walked his exact path without the detector in order to define the known route and avoid confusion with other peoples tracks and the disturbance later when vegetation had been swept around by the coil.  The exact stops where he took the photos were dotted with fluorescent spray paint. These would become focus points where body position changed (turning, crouching etc). Likewise, places where he walked downhill were likely a higher probability as the material on the back pockets is more relaxed and mobile than when stretched going uphill.
I verified with Glenn by phone whether the keys were in left or right pocket. Since he walked clockwise around the property it weighted the search to that side of the tracks, slightly.
Out with the detector.  I started with a fast pass along the entire route. The endless hits on old buckles, tarpaulin grommets, roofing iron offcuts, toy cars and bits of galvanised tin was soul-destroying but each target had to be verified.
Second pass was a wider sweep, nudging slightly further into the weeds either side, although it was so dense the coil wasn’t making any headway.
I switched to a much smaller coil but while it was more efficient at getting into the grass, it became quickly apparent that with the lesser footprint I wouldn’t be able to clear the area before running out of time.
Final plan was to physically break down the thistles and flatten the grass as much as I could, then use my ‘dustbin lid’ big coil with its larger detection area and greater depth capabilites.
Three hours after starting, I got a reasonable high tone, out with the pinpointer and rummaged it through the long grass.
Parting the stalks showed a key, several keys!
Not sure who was more relieved, me or Glenn when he got the photo of the now found keys.