lost ring set Tag | The Ring Finders

Ring set recovered in Oconto County Lake

  • from Green Bay (Wisconsin, United States)

My fellow Ring Finder friend, Jeff Wettstein received a voicemail on Tuesday, August 22nd, about 9:45 PM
from Judy sharing that her mother lost her wedding ring in the water by her lake home in Oconto County.

He called her that evening to learn the specifics like how was lost, where it was lost, asking
“Are you sure she lost the ring in the lake?…etc. Judy’s mother is 95 years young and still swims in the
lake with a pool noodle and does have some memory loss. Jeff learned that Judy’s brother from Virginia
was visiting and had been with their mother during the time she was swimming. He also learned the ring
was lost the last week of July…about 3 weeks before Jeff received the call to see if he would be willing to
do the recovery. Jeff was sent a picture of the ring.  It turned out to be a two-ring set, wedding and engagement, soldered together, worn since 1955, which made it even more imperative to be found.

Jeff carefully searched the shallow area first for about 5 hours covering all he could before the water was over his head.  He  found all the usual suspects of junk, a few coins, and a mood ring.    Jeff received more details from Judy’s brother on the path where “Mom” swam. He mentioned to Judy that he would come back another day and would dive for it.

Jeff then reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to participate in diving for the ring since it was not in shallow water.  Jeff has a hookah pump and 60-foot hoses, so we don’t need SCUBA tanks, though we are both certified divers. The regulators and buoyancy compensator (bc) vests are the same as SCUBA, as well as the masks and weights.  One person must stay “up top” to make sure the compressor is operating and the air hose is guarded from curious boaters and jet skiers.

 (They should stay 100′ away, but they don’t always.)I let air out of my vest, but couldn’t go down. It turned out I needed 18 pounds of lead to sink, and I used to need 12, which means I’m fatter, or maybe it was the extra neoprene vest. So, a few more lead shot bags tucked into my bc pockets, and I was ready to work!
We sank a search grid and covered her path, moving the grid after each full sweep. She had swum from their dock to their swimming raft to clean the cobwebs off of it. maybe 60 feet or so.

The water was between 8 and 10 feet deep, and I was submerged at least two hours. I liked it down there, but was searching blind because the silt billowed up. It was all by feel and sound. I followed the white grid pvc pipe with one hand and pressed a metal detecting coil into the lake bed with the other, waving it back and forth. There weren’t many signals, but you have be thorough. After a few false alarms, a nail and a few cans, I heard a signal near the raft and started feeling for it in the silt with my fingers. The signal kept sinking through the pudding, then slowed it’s decent


The beautiful recovered ring set!

The dive team, mom, and daughter.

when it hit thicker layers of mud. I lost it twice, then it stabilized about 18 inches deep in some cold clay. I started grabbing for it and waving handfuls of clay over my coil, hoping the signal wouldn’t sink too deep to recover. Finally, my fist beeped, so I knew something was in there, and it felt like a ring set. I finned to the surface to examine the object in the sun, and there it was! Jeff presented it to the family. Everyone was smiling, so our day was made!