3 Day Ocean Search For Lost Wedding Chain, Port Beach, Western Australia.
Zosia had just dived through a wave when she discovered one of two heavy gold chains she was wearing had not also made it through. She’d felt a tug on her hair as she went through the wave and instinctively checked for the two chains when she stood up. To her utter horror she found the longer one joined with
a wedding ring was gone. The worst part was that the chain she’d lost was not hers, it had been left with her for safekeeping by a close friend.
When she rang me I could tell she was feeling destroyed about it. After hearing what had happened and where I said try not to panic Zosia, I’m on my way!
When I arrived we marked out the search area and I had to explain that 18 kt gold chains were notoriously difficult to find because a metal detector does not ‘see’ the chain as a solid mass as people assume it would but rather each link in the chain and there is a limit to how fine a ‘low conductive’ chain link a particular metal detector can find. The positive I went on to say was that the chain was joined with a wedding ring which although also a link in the chain has far more mass than any other link making it much more detectable.
I spent about three hours searching the water that day until the tide was too deep to continue, without success.
I had been thinking about the search overnight and felt that I had searched the right area as Zosia had had the presence of mind to land mark where she had been in the water. I decided to repeat the search the next day rather than extend the search area as I could not be as sure as usual that I’d not missed it.
Unfortunately the sea conditions were no where near as good the next day with plenty of loose seaweed to further frustrate the search. After just 20 mins in the ocean the surging drag on the seaweed wrapped around my detectors coil was so powerful it snapped my detectors shaft, which is not easy to do and I was forced to drive an hour home to repair it.
Day three. Well they say “third time lucky” in hope don’t they? I try to rely on ‘good science’ rather than good luck but I did murmur those words I’m sure..
Conditions were better again, I started on the south side this time. After 30 mins with no targets I was up to my shoulder deep when I heard a faint scratchy signal in my headphones. It’s was only semi-repeatable so I walked forward a few paces and back again. When I swung my coil over the target again it sounded louder and then as I turned to listen on a different angle a solid tone appeared in the middle of the scratchy signal. As the sound had changed by standing on it I knew it was fairly shallow. Both were great signs so I held my breath as I lifted my scoop with its first bite of sand and there it was.. Zosia’s friends gold chain draped over the end of my scoop.
I rang a delighted Zosia who is a cook at a fly in fly out mine with the great news. She was so happy as she’d been feeling very ill since the loss and 2 weeks later we met back at the beach to return her chain and take a smile pic of a much happier woman than the one I’d first met.
Love what I do..