Doubtless Bay Tag | The Ring Finders

Coopers Beach Lost Key While Swimming

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

I was at work when Heather phoned.
She had been swimming at Coopers Beach and when caught by a rogue wave, her expensive-to-replace chipped car key slipped from inside her costume.
I made a quick call to my boss to check he was okay with me disappearing for half the day (again!), and after a few hasty discussions with others arranging cover while I was away, I was on the road.
Unfortunately, I work about halfway between home and Coopers Beach, so had a half hour drive each way to get the gear before continuing north to the site.

I arrived just before low tide to see Heather and her mother doing ‘The Walk’ that I have seen many times. Heads down, wandering aimlessly whilst staring intently at the sand. Occassionally scuffing their feet at something that could be a key, but disappointingly turning out to be a black pebble or bit of shell.

Thankfully, Heather had a video of where they had been swimming, showing a distinctive clump of seaweed and a pattern of shells in the foreground. From this I was able to define a reasonably tight arc that the key might be in but people often drift to one side or another. The distribution of seaweed along the beach showed me which way the current was running so I marked the likely maximum up-current limit and would work downcurrent. It was now just a matter of passing the coil over the key. Miss it by 2 inches and I could walk straight past it.
Recoveries take a huge amount of self-discipline. The hardest are when they stretch into the night, the rain begins to fall and the hours continue to slide past…and that’s just on land.
But today was calm, sunny and a beautiful location.

I set up a grid on the wet sand at the edge of the water as I waited for the tide to drop.
I was digging the odd coin, bottle cap or ancient copper boat nail. You must verify every target in this game, a trashy area will sometimes have you checking over a hundred potentials.
The beach here was away from the popular areas so thankfully relatively devoid of false targets.
Dry land completed, I started to move out into the water.

About thigh deep, just deep enough to get inconveniently soaked by waves, I picked up a solid iron tone under the loose sand and shell.
The key was about 10cm down in this very mobile, almost fluid, shell mix and it took a couple of bites with the scoop to lift it out of the hole. I held it up to Heather with a big grin, and waded ashore.

…Then headed back to work to catch up.

Ring Lost in Surf. Found after 3 Weeks, a Cyclone and Tsunami !

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

Three weeks ago, Ray was on Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay engaging in that iconic Kiwi summer pursuit, digging in the sand for Tuatuas.
Regrettably, his sentimental gold and diamond ring did what so many other lost rings have also done while gathering these tasty shellfish, it slipped from his finger into the sand, and vanished.
A week later he left me a phone message asking if I was able to assist in finding his lost ring.

I arranged to meet him the coming weekend and see if I could get his ring back to him.

That’s when nature intervened with a double whammy in the form of Cyclone Cody pumping waves up to 5+m onto the coast.
Then one from left-field, the eruption of Hunga-Tonga (which I heard in New Zealand, some 2,400km away!) which sent tsunami surges out across the entire Pacific.
….I decided to reschedule the ring recovery for the following weekend!
There was real potential for substantial sand movement with these combined events, but my safety always comes first.

The appointed morning arrived and I thanked Ray for making the effort to meet me on site at dawn in order to catch the low tide. As he referred to photos taken on the day to sort out where he had been, I got kitted up to get wet.

I set up a ‘beat’ of around 60m width to try and allow for any positional errors in Rays recollection, and waded out into the break.

While the sea was calm for this surf beach, the storm had brought in tonnes of loose weed which instantly wrapped around the detector adding massive drag. It wasn’t practical to keep lifting the coil out of the water every few seconds to shake it off so I had to put up with it. It felt like I was mopping the ocean floor and had to change arms every few minutes.
Added entertainment was the water being infested by loads of Eagle Rays feeding on the Tuatuas in the turbid water. When I got too close, or accidentally clipped them with the coil, they would take off through the wash like jet fighters. I love these guys, but having to do the ‘Stingray Shuffle’ through the weed was really fatiguing…

I had completed about three or four sweeps across the search area when the detector sounded off on a faint target, there had been no trash for once, so in my mind this was going to be the ring.
The hole went deeper and deeper, only to reveal an old lead fishing weight! I shook a basketball sized lump of weed off the coil and continued on, disappointed.
15 minutes later, another quiet tone in the headphones could be heard over the waves and wind.
Quiet, but crisp.
The scoop went in, missed it, another bite went deep into the bottom of the hole – Check and the sand was quiet. Whatever it was was in the scoop.
I shook the sand and shell out through the scoop when I heard that familiar clatter of a ring.
I secured it and slogged ashore through the weed and rays.

The sequence of reactions, I have seen many times.
Initially resignation in their eyes as they saw me walking up the beach after apparently giving up, changing to disbelief when I removed the ring from inside my glove – then amazement that the ring had actually been found, and was back on Rays finger.

Some detectorists collect rings, I prefer to collect smiles 🙂

Heirloom Signet Ring lost at Taupo Bay – Huge potential area, Found by Experienced Ring Finder

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626
Got a message from Krista
” Lost my ring at Taupo Bay today”.
After delving deeper, it transpired she might have lost her treasured heirloom rose gold ring at one of several locations: Washing the car, washing the dog, Potting/manuring some plants, swimming with the dog at one end of Taupo Bay, or when a boogie board was taken from her at the other end… HUGE potential area and with no start point. This is where experience takes precedence over ‘brute force’ (eg trying to cover every square centimeter). I met Krista  at her home, quickly eliminating the car/dog washing areas and the freshly manured garden plants as I waited for her to get ready to head down to the beach, although I already had a hunch where the lost ring would be found… I then followed her to the beach.
There were two locations of interest here, where she went into the water with her dog, and where a boogie board was taken off her. I chose to clear the latter first as it was at highest risk of being picked up by a casual holidaying metal detectorist as it was in the dry sand zone above the high tide mark and this time of year, coils are prevalent…
I cleared the highest probability area of the dry sand and with the tide about to turn shifted my focus to where she had taken the dog into the sea. I could return to complete the dry sand with a high intensity search if necessary.
At the swim spot at the other end of the bay, I asked Krista to retrace her movements and interactions from when she parked the truck. I mentally marked out the highest probability area on the sands as she retold her activities that afternoon and I settled in for a long search into the evening… I typically allow a minimum of four hours which, from experience, is sufficient to recover 90% of items. If the item is at a high risk of being lost to other detectorists, casual passers-by or a dynamic environment, eg surf, I often extend the hours to try and secure the lost item in the initial search phase.
After several circuits of the search pattern, I hit a nice solid tone at the waters edge – 3 inches under the surface lay her heirloom signet ring. It was outside the area she thought it would be [Trust No-one, Assume Nothing, Check everything] but the important thing was – It had been found.
I held it up and started to walk back towards her, a big grin on my face, a grin matched only by hers once she realised it was actually her lost ring and not someones elses.
All done, I packed up and headed home to get ready for my day job.

Gold signet ring lost at Cable Bay – Found in the Sea

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626
Second recovery for the year and hot on the heels of Andys ring recovery at Tauranga Bay (which you can read below)
Shortly after Christmas, Caitie was enjoying her holiday at Cable Bay wearing a special gold signet ring gifted to her for her 21st with the family crest that dates back a few hundred years engraved into it.
Tragically, she lost the ring in the waves, and gave it up as lost.
Almost a week later, she contacted me.
She had been buying a couple of “make myself feel better” rings at a local jeweller in Mangonui, who suggested Caitie get in touch to see if I could reunite her with the treasured ring.
The beach at Cable Bay is a steep gradient ocean beach. It’s very dynamic being composed predominantly of small broken shell fragments and anything dropped has potential to sink through the layers quickly with the wave action. After a week, having Caitie be able to meet me on site would be critical to push the odds into our favour.
Unfortunately she was slightly  delayed getting to the beach, so I got started with the information I had to hand.
I cleared the area as described by Caitie, then started expanding out – focussing on the low tide mark and wash as the tide was due to turn and start coming in.
Some 20 metres further along the beach, knee deep in the water, I got a faint tone. Could be one of the thousands of flecks of aluminium foil that inhabit that beach… or a deep ring.
With ring finding, you have to confirm every single target. It’s not uncommon to finish a search for a ring in the sea with 50+ can pull tabs, bottle caps and old copper coins in the pouch. (any detected rubbish is bagged to help clean up the environment – and avoid digging it next time)
It took several scoops to catch up with the ring in the fluid sand at a depth of nearly 40cm.
I secured her wayward lost gold ring and continued hunting casually for the next few minutes while I waited for Caitie to arrive.
The reaction when you return a presumed lost for ever ring is always worth far more than the melt value to me.
There were screams, clapping hands and jumping with joy from Caitie.
Priceless.
Find Lost Ring Coopers Beach Mangonui Metal Detector Doubtless Bay Find lost ring

Gold Wedding Ring Lost in Sea at Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay – Found

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626
Four days ago, while on holiday at Coopers Beach, Mary-Ellen lost her wedding ring of 32 years while messing around in the shallows. Her friend messaged me asking if a recovery was possible… Mary-Ellen and her husband were able to meet me on site which always greatly sways the odds in favour of a recovery.
The following morning, I drove up to meet them at Coopers Beach to try and find her lost ring.
As her husband marked out the boundaries of their swimming in the wet sand, I checked the dry sand where they had been sitting. Nothing found (other than the usual can pulltabs and bottle caps). So I moved down into the area where they were swimming and started to search the marked areas…as Mary-Ellen and her husband decided they might have gone a bit further down current – and extended the search area again.
I don’t mind people changing their minds mid search as it influences where I direct my efforts to maximise the chances of a successful recovery.
Ultimately, after covering 1,300 square metres to 90+% confidence, the tide chasing me out and the sun taking its toll, I had to call it a draw. A “draw” as the beach had won this time but I was going to be back.
That afternoon I was chasing a pair of hearing aids on a shelly trash-infested beach in Kerikeri – Unfortunately after six hours they still eluded me, possibly taken by tide or located elsewhere. Can’t always win.
The following day saw me driving a three-hour round trip down to Whangarei to recover Joshs lost wedding ring at Ngunguru (His story is below).
Yesterday was a rest day!
Despite four days having passed since she lost the ring, I was back chasing Mary-Ellens lost gold and diamond wedding ring again this morning… Confident it wasn’t likely to be in the original search area I followed the falling tide down and expanded the search area outwards, both along the beach and further seaward. Assume Nothing, Trust No-One, Check Everything.
About 10m outside the original search boundary, I got a faint but positive tone in the headphones.
.
They were in the process of packing up the tent to head home when Mary-Ellen got a text
“Hope you’re still in Coopers. I have something for you…”

Two Rings Lost at Tapuaetahi Beach – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

It’s been a long, hot, and very dry summer – Perfect for beach-goers to relax on the sand, and lose their precious jewellery.

Marion contacted me after hearing about The Ringfinders, and explained how she had been holidaying as a guest at a private beach, notoriously difficult to access and requests from non-residents – Including Ringfinders on a recovery mission, were met with a negative answer.
Marion was also unable to regain access so I knew that I would have to call in some favours on this one in order to get through the electronic gate and be able to find her rings without coming back to find my car towed.
This is when I recalled a discussion with Tim last year after I found his ring at nearby Matauri Bay ( Story here). At the time, Tim had queried the likelihood of finding another ring with a 30 year headstart, lost in a rocky bay while surfing at the same private property. It wouldn’t have moved or been detected, but thirty years… and clefts and crevices would be needle in a haystack. The upside was he could gain access through his contacts, and I would spend some time looking for his ring first.
The duly appointed day arrived and as the gate slid open and I drove through, it felt like I was entering Hallowed ground. It was several kilometres to the bay, surrounded by the residents houses. Fully expecting to be challenged I was surprised to be waved at as I passed walkers and people tending their gardens. I casually waved back while working out a plan B in case I returned to find my car had been towed due to a breakdown in communication…
The bay where Tim lost his ring was a sea of basalt boulders, most weighing 40+ kg. Tim, his wife and I of us spent a full hour, each with pinpointers rummaging in and around, but short of a systematic stringline search taking some weeks, any recovery would have been pure dumb luck. We located the remains of a fishing reel and one fishing weight. Tim conceded his ring had a new home and at least we had spent a cumulative time of three hours on it.

We headed back to the main beach and as I got kitted up at the car, Tim and his wife took their chairs etc down the path onto the sand.
With my experience in Search and Rescue, I have developed a fondness for tracking humans, a skill which has served me well as a RingFinder.  It wasn’t surprising to see that Tim and his wife had set up their chairs in the primary area of interest. Humans can be so predictable in their unconscious decisions!
“You are kidding?” when I asked Tim to move a dozen metres to the right. I briefly explained behavioural profiling and how we, as a species, tend to follow the same instinctive actions. They took it in good humour as they moved their new basecamp.
A few minutes later, Marions’ first white gold ring appeared in the scoop – right where Tim and his wife had been sitting! Tims wife didn’t believe how fast it had been found and as they were admiring the ring, I started the spiral search and less than a metre away, the second emerged.

I texted Marion the good news and as I headed back to the car, a young lad passed me with his metal detector heading for the beach…