Metal Detector Rental Lexington Virginia Tag | The Ring Finders

Lost Ring – After a year Lost, Leesburg Lake Reservoir Virginia…Found

  • from Lexington (Virginia, United States)

9/6/2019  So, this find, was one that I am so proud to have accomplished.  Last year almost a year to the find date, but back in 2018, I was called out to the Leesburg Lake Reservoir that feeds into Smith Mountain Lake here in Virginia.  It is a lake that while mostly clean for swimming, boating and fishing, has a lot of movement of the water that keeps it dark with no visibility as the lake height changes.  Needless to say, it’s very dark down there and there are big critters swimming around in the dark.  I spent 9 hours under water that day trying to find a lost wedding ring for a woman and her family who wish to remain nameless. This ring was the Husband’s, Mother’s wedding ring, and to my understanding is not with us anymore. The ring was lost while catching a waterlogged nerf football while floating in the lake approximately 30-50 feet from the dock. The lake was high at the time, higher than most times of the year at the time of loss, and the dock when I arrived was considerably lower as was the lake, by almost 15 feet in depth difference from when they said it was lost.  As with most client’s you search where they prefer you to, because they know they lost it in a specific area, but, as it sometimes goes, with the tragedy of losing the item, the view can get a little skewed, as does the memory.  To make matters a little worse for the search, the family had attempted prior to my arrival last year, to search for it with two other divers, and a detector, and they were not able find it.

As I said I dove for 9 hours that day, and did not find it.  All I was able to come up with was about 40 lbs of trash that individually, if only the size of a quarter, would weigh as much as a piece of beer can that size.  Needless to say, it was a minefield down there, and I had to dig every target.  After that dive, I was not very happy with myself that I had not found it.  The whole ride home and for the next year, this ring plagued my thoughts.  “I know it’s there, it has to be”.  Its amazing the things that get you thinking maybe it is really gone or not findable.  1) I had a fish grab my fingers when I held them up to my flashlight trying to see if I had found something.  2) I had multiple catfish (bottom feeders) get in my way, could they have moved it?  3) I had a really big alligator snapping turtle run right into my mask as it was swimming, undoubtedly spooked and not being able to see me, colliding with my head and really giving my bell a ring.  4) At the end of the day, she asked me if I thought a fish could have took it, like a shiny lure.  I told her, it is there somewhere, and I promise I will find it for you, even though I was starting to wonder the same.  5) We also had the possibility of displacement from the previous divers, which I didn’t even want to mention to her, because a couple of good fin kicks could have seriously moved it.

I was going to enlist the help of my friend Craig in Michigan, mainly because of the amount of trash down there as well as bottom time needed if the lake rose again (which it did by 20 feet). For awhile the plan was going to work, but things came up for Craig’s family with an emergency for his newborn and he was not able to make it, and I had committed to searching again before September 14th of this year.  My Wife and I run two small businesses, so lining up a schedule to look again was also a challenge.  But I was able to make it out a week prior to when I said, and this time she was not able to make the trip due to work.  I told her if I did not find it that day, I would come again the following weekend to search as well.  We talked on the phone to review the details again for about 15 minutes.  I evaluated the dock and rise of the water for about another 20 minutes from what I could remember the year prior (the memory of mud on the shore last year helped as there was none this year).  I suited up and chose a spot a lot deeper and further out than she had mentioned, because my instincts were, this ring has to be further out than originally thought due to the rise and fall of the lake.

As I conducted my lined circle search for every 5 feet, I noticed in this area, I was not coming across any trash, and to my delight, if I was close enough to the bottom with my face (about 1 foot, I could see just a little before my detector stirred everything up and I lost visibility again.  I came across a signal, low tone, like a gold ring, and got excited.  There was a fist sized rock in the way so I picked it up and moved it, swung back over and, no tone.  I couldn’t believe it.  I actually wondered if I had made it up in my head.  So I stayed in that spot for about a minute, swinging and nothing.  I then had a thought, and looked at where my hand would be even though I couldn’t see it, and swung my detector over my hand and the rock in it.  The rock to my dismay, made the tone.  I carefully laid it on the bottom to reinspect it in case when I picked it up, the ring, any ring, or anything, was stuck to it, or in my hand with the rock.  Nothing.  Swung over the rock again in my hand and it gave the tone again. I carried it with me in my hand along with my line as I kept moving inch by inch. Another low tone.  Another rock, with the same mineral properties.  By the time I made it around to start going out to 10 feet, I had pushed almost 40 fist sized or smaller rocks into the inside of my search circle and piled them up.

At this point, I moved to the 10 foot mark of my line, and immediately it got colder due to the thermocline, and the bottom started sloping steeply, right into some big rocks that might have been put there for erosion control in the past.  Needless to say, the rocks were going to be another challenge altogether, in the dark, in the silt, about 21 feet down or going deeper, and hard to swing my detector without banging it to pieces, because the only indication I had of these rocks being there was by feel.  As I started my search, and was just about to start back up the slope, I got a low tone. I got really close to the coil as I always do to make sure I didn’t drift, and made two swipes with my hand.  Just the slightest little glint of light shot back at me from my flashlight, and I knew, I had found it.  I laid there on the bottom, thanking God, and staring at the ring just sitting there in the muck for a few minutes, glad I had not lost the perseverance that has driven me my whole life, and that I could give it back to this woman and her family.  It was the ring find of a lifetime up to this point, and knowing I was going to take the signature photo I always do with it in my fingers from the water, I held it as tight as I could in my fist as I ascended to the surface, and then put it in my fingers carefully, showed it to the camera, and the shocked look on my Son’s face who goes with me sometimes to help and learn, the slow motion of it all, and your mind racing, it was all worth it.

After I got back onto the dock, their neighbor came over and jokingly asked if I had found it, and when I said I did (in about an hour) he stopped in his steps, looked at me in utter shock and in disbelief.  I showed it to him, and he said, “You just made a lot of people really happy today, you have no idea.”  I took a picture of the ring in my hand, and sent it via text to the owner, and told her in jest “Hey, look what I found ;)”  She couldn’t believe it either, and took a picture with it back on her hand (below) when she received it.  (She was unable to meet me due to work about 3 hours away I believe).

I wanted to write as much as I could about this ring find, because the meaning, not just to the family, but to me as well, was so heavy and inspiring.  I will never forget this find. I know we can’t find them all, but if we are willing, we can give it one hell of a run, and who knows, you may just find it.  Thank you for reading, and I hope this helps inspire the rest of us ring finders, as it does me.

Lost Dock Equipment – Mitchell’s Marina / SML Boat Rentals Smith Mountain Lake Virginia…..Found

  • from Lexington (Virginia, United States)

9/2/2019  This adventure starts from the where the last post left off with the “unique” wedding ring recovery for Tom & Kitty Sparhawk.  After finding their lost ring, and their dropping me back off at Mitchell’s Marina at Smith Mountain Lake I wanted to drop off my business cards and see if the Marina would allow it.  What better way to ask then to have satisfied clients with their ring found right there to verify who I was and the service I could provide.  I remembered seeing a “Retired Marine” sticker on a truck when I first pulled in, and inquired who that was.  It happened to be the owner who was a Retired Marine Lt.Col (Jeff) and former CH-46 Helicopter Pilot.  After meeting him, introducing myself also as a retired Marine with my former background, and introducing him to Tom & Kitty and seeing their ring, he immediately said, “I have a job for you!” and proceeded to take me back out onto his docks and explaining the job he said, “No one has ever been able to accomplish”.  Jeff explained he had owned the Marina since 2009 when he retired out of the Marines, and in the time and before with the previous owner, many expensive galvanized dock parts had come up missing or could not be retrieved, due to people coming in a little too hot and damaging the dock and breaking off the equipment with their boats, or making it loose, where it fell to the bottom while still being attached around the mooring poles. Needless to say, this was a search and recovery / salvage mission.  I spent roughly 11 hours underwater, but recovered all parts and some older galvanized chain mooring that the previous owner had used, as well as hand tools, and some boat parts. Some of the parts weighed as much as 75 lbs each, and as stated earlier, had to have some serious underwater wrenching take place, as well as digging to free them from their underwater bonds.

After completing this mission, I was allowed to dive and look for gas caps to boats, cellphones, and even found one ring where they refuel the boats.  I was told I could come back anytime I wanted to look for anything I could find to help people who lost things as well as make some money on the side if I could.  I made good reward money for this dive, got offered acreage to hunt on, to bring my families down for their celebrations, and of course, got to put my business cards in the Marina 🙂

This looks to be an annual event at the least, and I am glad to have met Jeff, become friends, and become the Marina’s goto Diver.  It was truly a great thing to happen in my life that I never saw coming.

Lost Ring – Smith Mountain Lake Virginia….Found

  • from Lexington (Virginia, United States)

9/2/2019 – Got the call from Tom Sparhawk and his wife Kitty, they had lost his “unique” wedding ring in a cove in Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia in about 5-7 feet of water.  We met at Mitchell’s Marina on Smith Mountain Lake (SML Boat Rentals) where they picked me up in their boat and drove me out to the cove. While they were pretty sure they knew almost exactly where it was, even standing in the same spot they thought I was unable to find their ring in that location.  I had roughly 15-25 feet of visibility and calm waters, and heavy silt that would settle quickly, so visibility was not an issue.  They had shown me pictures through email in regards to positioning of their boat when the ring was lost swimming, but I knew the ring could not be in that location.  I asked if they had any more pictures, and THAT is where my suspicions were confirmed.  Among the many pictures they took, there was one that showed some dead trees across the cove on the shore (roughly 150 yards away) that should have been to our left about 40-50 yards, when in fact they were to our right roughly the same distance.  Now to most people, this would not have been a feature anyone would look for or notice, but this was similar to reporting I did as a Reconnaissance Marine back int he day when doing Beach Landing Site, and Scout Swimmer Surveys for incoming forces.  My confidence in finding it immediately spiked, and I told them I was going to go out in another direction after explaining to them about how the “trees are in the wrong place in relation to our location”  Literally 5 minutes later, at 7 feet, and roughly 40 yards away, success!  Not only were they very happy to have it back and gave me a healthy reward, this whole experienced turned into a dive job at the Marina they picked me up at.  The Owner who is a retired Lt.Col Marine Helicopter Pilot upon hearing of my success and finding out I was also a retired Marine immediately said without missing a beat “I have a job for you!” But that will be in the next post 😉  Thank you again for your trust Tom & Kitty.


Lost Ring – Grove City Ohio….Found

  • from Lexington (Virginia, United States)

8/17/2017  in the Big Darby Creek at  in Grove City, Ohio.  Craig Ziecina and I traveled and met one another (He from Michigan and I from Virginia) to find Janelle’s lost ring.  The story is as follows as best I can remember:

Janelle’s house burned down and shortly after her now Husband proposed to her with his Mother’s engagement ring.  They decided to go to the canoe livery (they live in Columbus, Ohio) to try and relieve some stress from the house fire.  No sooner had they put in, the canoe hit a log and flipped over and when she came up her ring was gone.  While her coworkers and even her boss told her not to call any of us (which makes no sense) for fear we would steal the ring (or it would stay lost right?) she did.  She told me that it was lost a month ago in the river, when actually it had been 4 months but she was worried that I wouldn’t try to help her.  After explaining that we find things lost for years etc., I started to get information about this place form her point of view and where the canoe flipped, the bottom composition as she remembered it, and the speed/condition of the river at the time.  She mentioned that the river was very high and moving very fast. When we arrived months later it was a lot lower however still very strong.  I called Craig to help me dive for this, because as we all know, fast moving water is a hazard in and of itself.  Getting trapped was not what I wanted of course.  While the river was very low and we probably looked like a couple of morons with tanks sticking out of the water, I knew it would be the best way to keep the search going, knowing the bottom composition would change rapidly and in eddies, the silt etc., doesn’t just flow downstream.  At any rate, the ring was found by both Craig and I (checking each other’s signals) in a pocket 5 feet away from where she flipped (gold is 25X heavier than water).

Janelle couldn’t believe it until I sent her a picture of the ring (after she described it again) and we met an hour later down the road.  She brought reward money, “This is all we have for the rest of the month” and with her baby in her hand and knowing her story, I declined any payment.  It was a great experience, and again, paying it forward.  By the way, I also found this little guy (the turtle) about 10 feet away from the ring and surfaced with both. 🙂

Lost Ring – Smith Mountain Lake Virginia…..Found

  • from Lexington (Virginia, United States)

6/2018 Since we moved to Lexington, Virginia the ring finding has been pretty null and void as most people aren’t aware of our capabilities and give up before asking for help.  Yesterday I got a call from Veronica while I was in an Instructor Class and she seemed hesitant but also wanting to receive my help.  I kept in touch with her throughout the day through text to get information while I was in class.  I went out early this morning to Smith Mountain Lake, VA to help Veronica find her white gold 1 carat wedding ring she lost a couple days ago.   She mentioned her party did try to buy a metal detector on craigslist yesterday (not waterproof) for about $100.00 to try and find it and were not successful.  I explained to her how this is not just something anyone can do with the wrong equipment let alone lack of experience and explained some of the processes that some of us use to build rapport and make it less of a business transaction and more personal.  I found the ring in about 20 minutes which was awesome, but I also came up out of the lake with a ton of metal trash in a very short time, of which I showed her.

So glad I could help her out before they had to leave around noon today. She was very grateful, learned there are still some honest people in the world, and I really appreciate the reward she gave us for finding the ring. First find of the season and a success.   She also doesn’t live too far away so hopefully word of mouth will get the ball rolling.

   Thank you again Veronica!!