I had the pleasure of helping out Joe Hess the other day. Joe and his family were down visiting Gulf Shores from their home in Indiana. Joe had been on the beach throwing football with his son when his wedding ring came flying off and quickly buried somewhere in the sand. Joe and his wife have been married 20 years so everyone began looking for it to no avail. With the tide rising in the afternoon they found me online and had me come over from Pensacola. My wife and I loaded up and quickly made our way over and met Joe on the beach. I started looking in the area he thought it was and quickly realized this was going to be a bigger search than Joe thought. My wonderful wife went to the car to get my biggest coil to cover more ground while I asked Joe more questions. Joe ended up telling me that he was using his left hand to throw the ball because his right was hurt and I worried that he may have flicked his hand awkwardly towards the water. I changed coils quickly and started a search where the water was coming in with the tide. I made one pass and as I got halfway back in the edge of the surf I heard a really deep tone. I took a huge scoop and drug it up on the sand to be safe. As soon as I broke open the sand with my hand I saw Joe’s gold band and turned around with a big smile. I’m so glad that Joe called quickly and we found it even quicker. That ring was too important to lose to that incoming tide. Congrats Joe!
The other day I got a late message from Randi asking for help over in Orange Beach. Her husband Brayden was throwing a ball out in the Gulf and when the ball hit his left hand he watched as his wedding band dropped into the Gulf. They enlisted the help of some friends to look for an hour but didn’t have any success. When I spoke to Randi on the phone I told her that was my specialty and I’d be glad to help. That afternoon I drove over to Orange Beach and realized that it was at Romar House. They are wonderful people there and sure enough when I went inside they remembered me helping some other guests and immediately gave me a temporary parking pass. When I came back out I met Brayden and he quickly filled me in and explained that he had only been married since October. I told him that we had to find his ring and it was so new it was still shiny. 😃 When we got to the beach, Randi and several of their friends were lined up in their chairs ready to watch “the show”. I waded out with Brayden and one of his buddies waved us a bit more East. I took about 4 more steps to the East and then based on the tide charts, I took three more steps to the South and yelled over to Brayden not to move so I had a reference point. I literally went about 5 feet and heard a great tone. I got it on the first scoop and yelled over to Brayden, “It’s that easy” with a big smile. I didn’t realize that Randi was videoing but it definitely shows the excitement better than I can explain it. Thanks Brayden and Randi for trusting me. Now you have an awesome story for the rest of your long and happy marriage.
I owe Matt and Elise an apology for taking so long to post their story but I wanted to make sure that I did them in the right order because Elise’s rings ended up being the 99th and 100th official return since I started doing this. I love thinking back on all of the people I have been able to help. Matt and Elise are the perfect ones for lucky #100 because not only do they have a great story but they are wonderful people! They have been married for 15 years and were down in Orange Beach with some friends and their family for some well deserved vacation. Elise had gone out in the Gulf with her youngest son William to throw the football when all of a sudden both of Elise’s rings came flying off with the ball. This was the first day of their vacation and it had taken an immediate turn for the worse. Elise noted where she was and came up to the beach and she and Matt immediately began looking online for someone who could help. Luckily, Matt called me and I was eager to help. I made the hour drive and brought my wife Jeannie. She has been my lucky charm and I thought it only right that she be there for the potential 100th return. When we got there Matt and Elise pointed out where they were and I quickly realized that the knee deep water was out where the sand bar drops back off into the Gulf. Nevertheless, I set a bearing on a distant condo and began my grid search. Meanwhile Jeannie talked to Matt and Elise and tried to calm their fears. She learned that they had a true love story. Matt is a farmer and back years ago he saved his money and went and bought these rings for Elise and got down on one knee. Now it had been so long that Matt didn’t even remember what the rings were made out of. I think that is a perfect example of the kind of irreplaceable things I get to find. It doesn’t matter what they are made out of or the monetary value. It’s the memories and the sentiment that make them absolutely invaluable. Meanwhile, back in the Gulf, I had my machine turned wide open so I could hear everything and I was on a mission. An hour later though, I only had one dime to show for it and everyone was getting worried. A man waded out to talk to me and explained that he was going to try and find it with his feet. I tried to be nice and explain that he was kind of hurting the situation and not helping but he was not to be deterred so I went around him. After expanding the area a bit I had Elise go over again where she thought it might be. I told her that there was no way it had rolled up the bar but if she had flung it far enough it might be a little shallower. The man had finally left after a fruitless search so I started there and proceeded to work shallower. Finally, out of nowhere, I hear the screaming sound of gold in my ears. In a millisecond, I knew that not only were these the rings, but they were together, right on top and they were almost certainly gold. I very gently scooped down deep to make sure I didn’t scratch one and pulled out both rings in one scoop, together like they were meant to be. Y’all, I can’t even explain the excitement and the disbelief and happiness that proceeded to radiate from that beach when I walked out. I hope the next 100 are every bit as meaningful! By the way, the rings are 18k and diamonds, just as awesome as the people they belong to. Congratulations Matt and Elise and thank you for trusting me with your memories.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Jordan for the first time after finding her beautiful canary diamond engagement ring and her diamond wedding band a month ago in Orange Beach. I usually have lots to say but I think in this case, I will let Jordan’s comments speak for themselves. Great advice! Im so happy that I could help. 😃👍💍
“Ben and I had a much needed weekend getaway! The main reason for our weekend trip though was to get my wedding rings back. About a month ago, we went to the beach with our family and friends. While I was in the ocean throwing the football with Ben, the football hit my left hand and my engagement ring and wedding band went flying through the air into the ocean. We looked for it forever. We had even random people from the beach trying to help us find it, but no luck. I had seen where someone with an underwater metal detector had found someone’s engagement ring in the water so I went back to where I had lost it and saved my coordinates hoping I could find someone with an underwater metal detector. One of our friends had sent us a website called the https://theringfinders.com. That’s where I contacted Dave. He went out there 4 days after I had lost my rings and didn’t find just one ring, but both! I was so excited and Ben was in disbelief because he said there wasn’t anyway that guy was going to be able to find it 😂. So if you are ever in my situation, save your coordinates and contact Pensacola Ring Finders”
Bill and Sarah reached out to me earlier in July. Bill had lost his platinum wedding band in the Gulf while vacationing in Gulf Shores. I made plans to go help but unfortunately it was a terrible lightning storm and it was just not safe to go that afternoon. They had already gone back to their home in Auburn but I wasn’t giving up. I got up the next morning to beat the storms and also so I could get it done before having to be at work. The Gulf was a mess and it was all I could do to hold a line in the rough seas. They had put out the red and purple flags overnight. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far when I heard a great tone and quickly scooped up Bill’s ring before the sun even peeked over the horizon. I sent a picture and briefly spoke to Sarah on the phone. I told her that I was coming to Montgomery in a few days for work and she was thrilled because Bill’s Dad lives there. I battled some more storms on the way up which seemed only fitting but I was able to drop it into the hands of Bill’s father and smile as he checked it out. I think Bill and Sarah were a little camera shy but they sent this picture of both of their hands with Bill’s ring where it is supposed to be. They entitled it “Reunited” which I think says it all. 😃
Yesterday, I had already been in the water in Gulf Shores for hours and I was worn out. I got into some dry clothes in the parking lot and started to head back towards my wife in Orange Beach when I looked at my phone. When I saw that I had several missed calls from the same Arkansas number, I knew someone needed help. Before I left the parking lot I listened to one of the voice mails and then called back Whitney who was very nice and very concerned. She was down from Arkansas with her husband Doug and they had recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. In fact, he had just given her a beautiful diamond wrap ring to go around her main ring as a gift and they had just had it soldered on. So you can imagine her dismay when she was messing with a boogie board on the second sandbar and the rope quickly snatched her ring off sending it flying into the gulf. I ended up only being a few miles away and told them that I would come immediately. When I got there, the tide was going out and they were really concerned because the sandbar was obviously moving. They only had hours until that sand swallowed up her heavy ring and it had already been three since she lost it. Luckily Doug had acted quickly when he saw Whitney panicked in the Gulf and called out for her not to move. He came out and got a great frame of reference off a building and even threw out a few quarters as markers. When I got set I quickly found the quarters but unfortunately the ring was nowhere to be found. I started to see everyone get really down as I made lap after lap but I tried to keep them positive and told them with moving sand and waves, sometimes you just have to put your time and effort in. I had about one or two laps left until I knew Whitney would know we were out of space and I could see it in her eyes that they were resigned that they were going to lose her precious ring. That’s when I heard that beautiful sound in my ears. I looked up and saw that it was close to as far out as they thought but a bit west. I couldn’t help but get my hopes up as I realized this could be it. I very gently placed my scoop so I wouldn’t scratch it and as soon as I saw the flash of a diamond I reached down in the scoop and grabbed it letting the sand rush off in the water. I held it up with a big smile and Doug came running first. He held it out to Whitney and I got to watch tears of joy show just how special it was to them. I’m so glad I could fix the first day of this trip Doug and Whitney and I wish you many more happy decades together.
Last weekend, I got a text late in the evening from Samuel’s Mom asking about whether or not I could help her son. He was out in the water at that very second searching frantically for his Grandfather’s ring that he had accidentally slung into the Gulf while skipping sand dollar pieces with his friends. I realized that this was an important one so I gave her a call and she patched in Samuel so I could ask him some questions. I went over some info and asked him some questions about water depth and how the ring had come off. Most importantly, I had him drop a Google Maps pin where he was on the beach and then where he thought it might have landed. I told him that I would reach out the next day when I got to the beach. We got our signals a bit crossed and when I called, he was still about 45 mins away. I told him that with his permission, I would go ahead and start searching. I thoroughly did the area where I thought it might be and even found another ring. Unfortunately, I knew that it wasn’t Samuel’s so I prepared to keep looking. About that time, one of Samuel’s friends walked up and said that she thought it was a bit farther west. I promptly relocated and began doing my grid search there. I spent a lot of time in that area and found all kind of things that were not what I was looking for. I spoke to Samuel’s friend again and she mentioned a sign that was a little back towards where I had been earlier. Samuel had also mentioned the sign. I decided to go out deeper and make that my center point. I started heading towards the beach and about the time I did, I saw what had to be Samuel jogging across the dune trail heading my way. Samuel’s friend told him that we hadn’t found it as he waded out. As he was walking out to me I got another good tone. I scooped it up and looked inside the scoop and told him that maybe he was good luck and held it out to him. He looked in the scoop and couldn’t see because of all the shells. He said, “is there something in here?” I told him to take another look and watched as he saw it. I love watching people go from concerned to absolutely thrilled in a split second. 😃. Congratulations Samuel! I’m so honored that you and your Mom trusted me to go find your Grandfather’s ring for you. 👍
Bryan is a Police Officer from Tennessee and brought his whole family down to Perdido Key to enjoy a well deserved vacation. They decided to rent a boat and headed down the waterway to the East and finally settled at a place where a lot of boats pull up close to the shore and enjoy the water and sun and sand. Bryan’s wife took her ring off to apply sunscreen and put it down on the boat and quickly forgot that it was there. It was only later in the day after they had moved the boat a couple of times and started to head back to the boat rental place that she had the panicked realization that she didn’t have her ring on and it was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, when they got back, a kind soul saw them distressed and suggested that they reach out to me. Bryan wasn’t completely sure of the name of the place and as he described it, I got a knot in my stomach. All National Parks, National Seashores and Florida State Parks have made it illegal to metal detect. To make matters worse, this was very close to a National Historic area and that makes it crazy illegal. I explained to Bryan that I couldn’t go there and of course he understood. Over the years, I have had this happen a few times and I’ve learned that the best way to approach it is to have the person who lost the ring reach out to the Park services. We spent the next few hours googling and ultimately finding some contact info. It wasn’t long until a contact that Bryan spoke to in Ohio of all places was able to put him in touch with the Chief Ranger here in FL and before you knew it, we had written permission to go on an adventure. Bryan lamented that they no longer had the boat and were leaving for home on Saturday. I was so vested in this ring now that I told him I would not only take vacation from work on Friday but I would also take him out there in my own personal boat. We made plans to meet Friday morning and I called my Father-in-law, Tom and asked him if he wanted to go on a big search. As always, Tom was ready to go. The three of us headed out this morning in my boat and enjoyed the calm water and the dolphins rolling. We even had a big spinner shark put on a show in the air off the starboard bow. We were on a mission though and as soon as we dropped anchor we all piled off into the water. Bryan had a pretty good idea where they started the day but as I mentioned before, they had moved the boat a few times and weren’t sure where it had fallen off. I told Tom that I would start on the right and he took off to the left. We both started our grid searches and it wasn’t long until we realized just how big this area was. I learned more about Bryan though as we walked along and determined that regardless of how things went, I would consider him a friend. After about an hour, I sent Bryan over to check on Tom. I saw from a distance that Tom had a signal and I stopped to watch since targets had been few and far between out here. Tom gently scooped a couple of times so I knew it was deep. He held out the scoop to Bryan and pulled something out that I couldn’t see from that distance. I yelled “Did you find it” but I needn’t have bothered. Even at that distance I could see Bryan’s expression change to one of shock and disbelief and gratitude all rolled into one. Bryan had his wife’s ring back! It was an awesome ride back with more dolphins and a huge group of jet skiers but the best part was facetimeing with Bryan’s happy bride. Bryan, you are a good man and I thank you for all you do for your community. I’m glad we could make that drive back to Tennessee a little bit easier tomorrow. Nice Job to you Tom! I’m glad you are on my team.
I got a call from Alan this past Sunday that started out with “we need you to save Mother’s Day.” Needless to say he had my attention. It turns out that Alan and his family had taken his Mother to the beach to celebrate the day and had a wonderful time until it was time to go. Alan’s mom had wisely taken off both of her rings and put them in the small zippered compartment on her beach chair. When it came time to put them back on, something had happened. These are beautiful rings. One was a present for a previous Mother’s Day and the other had been an anniversary present. These rings were honoring her as a Mom and it just wouldn’t be right to lose them on that day. Alan and his Mom called and explained what happened and where they thought the rings were and I asked my wife if it was ok to go. She has a soft spot for anything to do with rings for marriage and family so not only did she say yes but she joined me on the trip. I always say that Jeannie is my lucky charm on these hunts. She has a great track record. When we got to Orange Beach and met Alan the first thing you notice is that he is really tall. He is a basketball player and makes me feel short. 😃. The second thing that you quickly find out is that Alan has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met while doing this. He showed me where they were and we made our way over. I was just about to introduce myself to the family next to us and apologize for being so close when she said “I recognize you from Facebook and the Ringfinders.” That made me smile and I took it as a good sign. I started gridding out the area and Alan stayed right with me. He wanted to know all about the machine and how it worked, he asked about the coolest things I’d found while diving and we talked about what it looked like for him to go to Europe to continue his basketball career. He also uses his degree to help people write books and gave me the nicest compliment when he suggested that I should take my stories and write one myself. Meanwhile my wife had an idea and asked Alan if he had any pictures from earlier. He handed her his phone and it wasn’t long until Jeannie found a selfie and triangulated where she thought the chair was. Being a wise man and always listening to my wife, I walked over to the spot she was standing and immediately heard a gold tone. I scooped it up and held it out to Alan and as he started to freak out on the first ring, I could already hear the second one in the sand. When I got it out, Alan was already FaceTiming his Momma. When she saw them she was absolutely beside herself and I came over to wave hello. She was crying happy tears and Alan was ecstatic. Jeannie came over to wave hi and Alan said sorry, she ran off for just a second. When Jeannie looked puzzled, Alan said that she was so happy that she had to run around the house and take a victory lap. Haha, now that is the reaction I want every time! Alan, it was an absolute pleasure to spend some time with you and I am so glad we got to “Save Mother’s Day!” ❤️😃 God Bless!
P.S.- my favorite picture is the one he is FaceTimeing his Mom in. 😃
I have been doing this for awhile now and I realized the other day that I was coming up on my 80th return. I was hoping that number 80 would be a special ring and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The other day I got a call from a Pennsylvania number and I answered to hear Terrie tell me that she needed some help. Her family was down vacationing in Orange Beach and when they were docking the boat in the marina, Josh, her son-in-law dropped his wedding ring in the water next to the dock. To make matters worse, the water depth where he thought it came off was about 8 or 9 feet deep. This was definitely going to take some dive gear to search for it. I agreed to come out and meet them and called my friend Charlie to see if I could use his Hookah dive rig. My gear was in for its annual service so this different setup would be a new experience as well. (Thanks Charlie) When I got to the dock, the whole family was there to greet me and Josh showed me the general area he thought the ring had come off. He also explained that this was an heirloom ring that his father had given him. That made me even more determined as I jumped into the water. I brought along a 30lb weight belt to try and offset not having a steel tank while wearing my drysuit. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be able to stay on the bottom. Imagine wearing a giant life vest and trying to swim to the bottom of a pool. It’s almost impossible. I wanted to use my drysuit because spending a lot of time searching on the bottom in murky marina water will freeze you to death but I decided the only way I was going to find this ring was to take off my drysuit, strip down to my bathing suit and bite the bullet. Now with the heavy weight belt I plunged to the bottom and oriented my gear. I had to look up occasionally to get my bearings by seeing Josh’s silhouette against the sky. I found a few different junk signals and then I heard a much stronger solid tone. I maneuvered over where I could see the bottom through my mask and waved my hand hard to clear the silt and sand. When it finally settled, there nestled amongst some oyster shells was Josh’s ring, safe and sound. I surfaced and started handing gear up unable to talk yet with the regulator still in my mouth and the weight belt dragging me down. I handed everything up including the sonar cover for their boat that had gone over during the mishap. When I finally got the weight belt off and was able to take the regulator out I got a huge smile and handed Josh his heirloom ring back. I swam over to the boat to use the ladder to get out and the whole time the family was cheering and celebrating. It’s such a great feeling to be able to help people with this hobby. Terrie said it best when she texted me that evening that Josh was back to happy with a pep in his step and I had put their vacation back on track. I’m so glad I could help! Terrie and Josh you have a great family. 😃