College Ring Lost While Fishing in Wheeler Lake…RECOVERED by Diver Decatur, Alabama!
Christina McCree – Ring Finder for northern Alabama and southern/middle Tennessee…call or text ASAP, anytime 24/7…610-504-6135
Just after 12:30pm on Monday (April 4th, 2022), I received a text message from Jonathan stating that he had lost his college ring two days prior while fishing from his boat in Wheeler Lake (part of the Tennessee River) near Decatur, Alabama. Jonathan said that it was lost in 10-12 feet of water, and he had marked his waypoint on his boat’s sonar graph. Jonathan asked if I thought his ring was recoverable. I told him that there was a good chance since he marked his waypoint. But if the visibility was bad, then it would make it harder, but not impossible and we could definitely give it a shot or two.
I quickly checked the weather and realized that the remainder of the week called for rain or cooler weather and the weekend was much worse (lows in the 30s, highs in the 50s). That day was the only decent day for the rest of the week. It was sunny and in the mid-70s. It was pretty much go now or wait at least a week or two. We decided to take advantage of our only good day. We both took off from work for the remainder of the day. Jonathan went to get his boat ready, and I started gathering up my dive gear. It took me about 1.5 hours to get everything ready–topping off batteries and making sure I had all essential dive equipment, including my colder weather 7mm Henderson Greenprene wetsuit, hood, gloves, and boots. I don’t own tanks just yet, so I opted to take my new Blu3 Nomad Diving System (floating surface supplied air system), because a trip to my dive shop would’ve added at least an additional hour. I’ve already used my Blu3 Nemo on numerous occasions, so I felt comfortable using the bigger Nomad.
It was about 3:45pm by the time I met Jonathan at the boat launch ramp at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Alabama. We chatted for a few minutes about the loss. Jonathan explained that he was very dehydrated the day he lost his ring. He was standing on the starboard side of his boat when the college ring he bought back in 2015 to commemorate him earning his master’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) slid right off his finger and into the water. Jonathan felt helpless as he watched his ring sink to the bottom of the lake. He immediately marked the waypoint on his boat’s sonar graph. This would later turn out to be our saving grace. Jonathan initially thought that he would be okay with the loss of his ring, but it really hit him hard on the drive home. He knew he needed it back! Trying to figure out how to recover it led him to a Google search and, ultimately, discovery of The Ring Finders Metal Detecting Service website.
Jonathan helped me load up my dive gear onto his speed boat and we were on our way! It only took about 5 minutes to arrive on location of Jonathan’s waypoint he titled “MY RING OFF STARBOARD” (picture below). Jonathan dropped his anchor and I started setting up my dive gear. Shortly after, I was in the water using my Blu3 Nomad Dive System and Minelab Excalibur metal detector. The water temperature was about 55 degrees, but I felt very comfortable in my 7mm wetsuit, dive hood, and dive gloves. I decided to use a circular grid system due to the open area location of loss. I made my descent and attached my grid line. Visibility was better than I thought, but not the greatest. I could see about a foot in front of my face and would lose some visibility once the bottom started stirring up. I started my circular grid rotation. I checked 2 targets, but could not recover the items. I assumed that they were too deep and could not be Jonathan’s ring. The third target had a good ring to it (pun intended lol). I started feeling with my gloved hand and felt like I had the target in my grasp. I thought it might be a clam shell, because I had already found a few of those on the first two signals. But I soon realized that it wasn’t a clam shell. I started feeling the shape of a ring! I brought it closer to my face mask and saw that beautiful glimmer of gold and gleam of the emerald stone! Wow, what an incredible moment!!! I was almost in shock! I shook the muck off the ring and studied it for a minute. I immediately thanked the Lord for what seemed like the miraculous recovery in the middle of a massive lake!
I put the ring over my gloved ring finger. It felt snug, so I felt comfortable keeping it there until I was topside. I turned off my detector and made my ascent. Jonathan took my metal detector and I swam over to the ladder. I said, “hey Jonathan, BAM!!!” and held out my clenched fist with his ring. He went nuts with excitement! My favorite part of every ring recovery! I took Jonathan’s sentimental UIW college ring off my finger and handed it over to him. He said that he couldn’t believe it! He helped me onboard, and we celebrated! We took a moment to reflect on how this ring was recovered. Something so small, in such a large lake, found 2 days later by a waypoint grid (which I’ve been told that waypoints can be off by about 20 feet or so). But this one was spot on! I was only about 5-7 feet from my downline. I was also only underwater for 17 minutes according to my Shearwater Peregrine Dive Computer. I believe in my heart that this ring was found by divine intervention. God is so good, and He deserves all the glory! It was such a beautiful day, and the dive recovery went as smoothly as I hoped and prayed for.
I packed up my dive gear while Jonathan got a few casts in. His ring was lost while practicing for an upcoming bass fishing tournament being held on Saturday (April 9th, 2022). I wish him all the best in the fishing tournament!
We set out on the water that day to the “X” on Jonathan’s map and we found gold, baby!!!
If you or someone you know has lost a ring, jewelry, or other metal item, please contact a member of The Ring Finders.