Lost Gold Wedding Band in the Ocean on Caswell Beach, Oak Island NC, 100th Return!
This ring call came as I was walking out the door en route to help find a lost Rolex watch, which wasn’t found and turned into a much longer search than I anticipated. When Matt first called, I explained the situation to him, but told him that I expected to be finished in time to meet him at his location during low tide. By the time I finished the first search, and arrived at the beach, where Matt had lost his gold wedding band, it was an hour and a half before high tide. I met Matt and his wife, Mary and we walked out to the beach. Matt pointed out the area he lost his ring, and told me he and a friend had been playing catch with a football. Matt said he noticed his ring felt a little loose. A couple of catches later, he felt his ring slip off his finger and disappear in the ocean. Matt was savvy enough to immediately get some land marks, which helped. From his description on when and how he lost his ring, I knew I didn’t have much hope of finding it on this trip. I went ahead and started a grid line, trying to get out as far as I could without dying. I checked with Matt on whether I was going out far enough and he said both Mary and her friend thought he was farther out when he lost it. After being hit and thrown by three consecutive waves, the last one, making me lose my grip on both the scoop and detector, and having my swim suit down around my thighs, I decided to call it a night. I felt so bad that I wasn’t able to give Matt a descent effort in finding his ring that I promised him I’d be back at the next low tide, which just happened to be at 3:24 a.m. We had one more chat before I left so I was sure I had all the details.
I got back to the search area at 2 a.m. a little tired but ready to go. We’re in the moon phase just after a new moon, so there was absolutely no moon light to search by and it was darker than dark out there. I started a grid line search trying to keep the lines straight and in line with each other with the aid of my head lamp. I went from an invisible line I had paced off earlier, from the top of the beach next to a “Keep off the Dunes” sign. I knew then the beach was going to be a lot different almost 6 hours later. I started a little west of the landmark Matt gave me and went back and forth from the top of the beach to the low tide line and nothing. I kept expanding the search area both east and west and still came up empty. By now, it’s 4 a.m., I’m tired, sweaty, and sore, I’ve done close to 4 miles of walking in two separate searches. I’m 100% positive Matt’s ring was lying in the sand someplace on this beach. So, I was having a little chit-chat with the Big Man upstairs and I was a little cranky, to say the least. So out of nowhere, the idea of searching the area again, doing a cross grid popped into my head. I cut the search area down; concentrating on the area Matt gave me in the first place. On my third line, BOOM, I got a solid signal. I dug a scoop of sand, dumped it on the beach, and spread it out with my foot. I ran the coil over the area, found the signal and scooped it up. There it was, all covered in sand, but I had it. I looked at the hole and saw my grid line that ran right beside it, so I had walked right over the top of it and missed it, so I must have zigged instead of zagged. Matt told me the inscription on the inside of the ring, so I had to go back to the car and use the light so see it. It was a perfect match. I had asked Matt earlier if he wanted me to text him if I found it in the middle of the night, or hold on to it and contact him a little later in the morning. I knew his answer before I asked but I let him make the decision. At about 4:20 a.m., I sent him two pictures of his ring, one of them the inscription, with a text saying: “Good Morning Sunshine, I’m sitting in the parking lot, let me know you’re awake.” I got an immediate response “I’m up, be down in 5.” As soon as I handed Matt his cherished ring, all my self-pity disappeared and I remembered exactly why I do this. There’s no better feeling!
Matt and Mary, thank you so much for trusting me to find your lost treasure. Have a great rest of your vacation and a safe trip back home. This is another chapter you two can add to the long story this ring will carry.