I received a call looking for someone that could come up and locate a missing ring believed to be in a lake in about 3-4 feet of water. The individual I was talking to was the former Chief of Police of a near by city before moving up to Northern Minnesota. We planned on a time on a Saturday for me to come up and give it a good search.
Upon reaching the beautiful home on Lake Mille Lacs, I was greeted by the homeowner waiting for me out in his driveway. It was a beautiful sunny day with few clouds. I’m guessing it was about 85 degrees, with a slight wind. Another perfect day for ring recovery work. The homeowner Mike had a John Deere Gaiter waiting for me to toss all of my stuff into and took me down to the lake. He explained that he was out moving a couple of bricks around 15’ or so from the end of the dock. Later that evening he and his wife noticed his ring was missing. So putting everything together – figured it was out in the lake where he was working. It had been a couple of days since it was lost and he had some fiberglass stakes marking the lake in the area where he had been.
So I dawned my gear and headed out first doing a Primary Search followed up with a secondary more methodical search. I was finding a bunch of old tops to old beer cans form years gone by. The ones that used the old bottle opener with the pointed end to open the beer cans. The signal that these can tops would make was very similar signal to that of rings. The biggest difference was that they were coming in a little deeper than what I was looking for giving me a little ability to rule out some without digging them. But this is always a little dangerous because you could rule out something that you should not have.
I don’t recall but I remember the sun beating down on the back of my neck and my arm getting a little tire because swinging the metal detector in water takes a little more effort than air swinging. I must have been out looking for 5-6 hours and came up empty at the end of the day.
I decided to head out and come back in the morning and give the yard and other possible locations a search. These locations seemed much less likely from what we were thinking, but because we were unsuccessful in the water, we had to expand the search area. Mike had a well-manicured lawn with a very thick root system. This would make it very hard for a ring to get pushed down very far. My concern was that he had mowed the lawn a coupe of times and if the mower had hit it just right it could have launched it to places unknown. So we were hoping that it was run over by a wheel pushing it down into the lawn. After a search of the yard, shrubs, around the garage, and driveway – Nothing. So it was back to the water again.
By the end of the day we had accumulated a box full of parts to metal beer cans and no ring. It was so frustrating to come up empty for a second day. You could tell that this was also hard on Mike and his wife, they had been married for 40+ years and the ring was with them for all of it. I told them that when they pulled the dock out for winter I would come back up again and give it another search without the dock and boat lift in the way.
So when that time came, I was excited to go back up and give it another try. I had one location that I had a question in the back of my head that I may have had good signal and really wanted to clear one more time. This is wader time with water temperatures running around 50 degrees. The water was glass calm, clear, and down about a foot from the level earlier in the season. I went in and had in my mind clearing that location that I had suspected as being one location I needed to clear. So I went out working the location of the dock working the area slow and methodical. When I made it out towards the location, I was getting close to I got a hit. A little deeper than what I would have liked but a good signal. I dug down and pulled up my scoop and looked inside and there it was another beer can top that I missed on the earlier searches. I kept going and I got another hit in the area that I was looking to clear. It was 3 pieces of metal all right next to one another. 2 were deeper around 4 inches and one was shallower about 2 inches but being masked by the other deeper metal targets. The metal detector was having a hard time picking up the smaller target. Again I scooped it and missing it, but moved it. Rechecked the location and scooped again and had whatever it was. A look inside the scoop and their it was. The ring I had been searching for was in the bottom of my scoop. Mike was at his normal perch overlooking the lake, how do you let him know? I flipped him a thumbs up, but just walked back in to him and showed him the scoop. I had some rocks also in the bottom of the scoop that blocked his view. I shook it a little and he caught a glimpse of it… You found it… My ring.. I can’t believe you found it. It wasn’t long and we were heading back to the house to share the good news. Smiles all around. Pictures, text messages and emails to family members that the ring was recovered. It was great to be a part of the recovery.