Ann-Maree was holidaying at Tauranga Bay Camp near Whangaroa and decided to brave the dumping surf and go for a wade. She underestimated the power of the surges up the beach and was forced to put her hands down into the sand to maintain her balance as the water rushed past her.
She gave up the idea due to the ferocity of the water and returned to the dry sand, that’s when she noticed her two gold rings were missing, one a very sentimental engagement diamond ring from two generations ago.
She asked at the camp office if she could hire a metal detector, they didn’t have one and instead they gave her my contact details – along with a really positive summary of my previous success stories there.
Ann-Maree phoned me at work and explained the situation. Knowing this beach changes with each tide, it eats rings so I headed home to get my kit and was soon on site – Staring at a 2.5m dumping surf break on a very steep beach. Haven’t seen it like that for many years !
The sand was really deep and mobile, but there was no way I was going to risk going into the surf until the tide was further out and it had calmed down a little. I started by gridding the shallows, intending to follow the tide down. Within 10 minutes I had been caught by a sweep and my shorts were soaked…So gave up staying dry after that.
I ran two opposing grids on the 11″ coil, then switched to the 15″ and ran another two, real hard work with the surges grabbing the coil and only netted a token for the camp showers and a few odds and ends of scrap.
The 15″ was taking it’s toll, so with the tide further out, I reverted to the 11″ and wound the settings up so ‘hot’ it would probably pick up the earths core. And started a new set of grids.
After 4Hrs, it was now dark and I was right down on nearly low tide mark now. I got a deep, clean tone. Battling the water and the almost fluid shelly sand, I heaved scoopfuls out of the hole until I had it, pinpointed it with the coil in the diggings, and rapidly placed my foot on it as another surge came past. In with the pinpointer and my fingers found the shape of a ring in the dark.
I marked the spot and headed up to Ann-Marees camper to confirm – Yes! It was one of them, but not the treasured heirloom.
But, I now had a pin in the map! I knew that if I didn’t find the second ring this time around, it would be lost to the beach with the heavy surf. The beach contour had already changed significantly in the time I had been there.
I headed back and started a focussed search in the area. Another brass screw, bit of wire, odd scraps of metal… then deep and quiet, there was something. I wound the volume right up in the headphones to try and hear it over the surf. Has to be it.
Several hasty scoops later and I had the second ring.
Ann-Maree had given hem up for lost.
I refused to.