METAL DETECTING LOST ENGAGEMENT RING OF BRIDE-TO-BE IN ATLANTIC OCEAN…FOUND
August 2, 2019
Hannah’s 14 karat White Gold, 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring
It was Hannah’s bachelorette party weekend with the girls in Ocean City, Maryland! Her wedding day was two weeks to the day of that unforgettable summer afternoon! With such fun and celebration in the air, also came a time of heartache and despair. While Hannah was out in the Atlantic Ocean with some of her entourage, the bride-to-be was hit by a wave, causing Hannah to fall over into the water. As a result of the wave striking her and with her having to push herself off the sand, the bride’s beautiful fairytale-like engagement ring slid off her finger and landed somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, forty yards away from the shore.
Hannah was in a panic. She called Derek, her fiancé’, and told him everything. He kept it calm, went online to see if he could find a metal detecting service, and that’s when he found THE RING FINDERS and Brian Rudolph. Hannah was given all of the contact information and then she called me. I was just coming into Ocean City to do a search on 101st Street for an iWatch that had gone missing in the Ocean. As I was entering into the city limits, Hannah gave me the story of what happened. I explained to her that she had a great chance of getting the ring back because she was calling me just 45 minutes after the Ring settled to the bottom of the ocean. Rings can be found days later but she had the best chance because of how quickly I received the call and her group’s clear recollection of where the ring came off.
We talked about what she needed to do in order to remember approximately where she was when the ring slipped off her finger. I asked her to count how many feet out into the ocean where she was in relationship to where the lifeguard chair was at the time. I asked her to walk down the beach from the lifeguard chair and count how many feet over and then to count how many feet out into the ocean. Thanks to Hannah, her mother, and the other bachelorette party girls, they all agreed on a particular area for me to do the search.
After I finished the search for the iWatch, I headed over to the beach side of 47th Street, in front of the Gateway Grand condominium building where I met Hannah, her mother and all of the bachelorette crew. She took me through each step of what happened and so did the other girls. Then, Hannah walked me from the lifeguard chair area out into the water where she was accompanied by her friends to show me where they believed the ring may have come off. When the loss happened, her mother had been sitting on the shore watching the ladies out in the ocean when the ring came off and so she gave a very good idea as to the hot zone where I should start my search.
Once I got all of the information down while we were standing in the ocean looking out to the area where Hannah’s ring may have come off, I felt confident as to where I needed to begin and the yardage from left to right where I needed to search. It was looking like it would be a 40 yard area from left to right and 30 to 40 yards out in the Atlantic.
We all came up on shore and that’s when I got my gear and did a two-hour search even though it was during high tide. I thought maybe I would get lucky, but there was no way to get that far out because the waves were just way too aggressive. I would have to wait until the middle of the night when low tide would arrive again.
Everybody on the shore in the bachelorette party, including two guy friends that were in town at the time of the unfortunate incident, all took off to get ready for the evening fun. I knew that Hannah would be extremely preoccupied with the loss of her ring and I tried to comfort her and encourage her to go out and have a good time and that if anybody could find this ring, with the help of God, it would be me that could recover it for her. I told her later, that I never do tell people how difficult this kind of thing is to find a 1-inch piece of jewelry out in the roaring Atlantic Ocean. But, I knew that if I used my skills correctly and if I was divinely-guided, it was a good chance I could get it back for Hannah, just in time for her wedding that was two weeks to the day!
The two hour search that ensued that evening was very difficult and I didn’t even find a single target to scoop up. I resolved to leave the beach and return at 4:15 a.m. at low tide. I left the beach knowing that Hannah’s ring was left behind, buried far out in the water and sand, way out in the dark, needing to be recovered, as I headed to my car.
I think God woke me up in the middle of the night because both of my alarms failed to go off on my phone. I happened to wake up at 3:45 a.m. and I was so glad that I did not oversleep the low tide hour. I quickly got my wet suit on, geared up and headed for the sand in total darkness. I prayed for God’s help and guidance as I did the night before, to take me to the spot where the ring rested below. Throughout my search, I prayed and asked God over and over to bless Hannah with the recovery of the ring. I prayed to Him out of compassion for Hannah and Derek because of the disappointment that this loss weighed upon them. I fully identified with them regarding the feeling of losing something so precious and wondering if it could ever be returned. It’s a helpless feeling and all of the “what ifs” attack you over and over again.
Not a soul was on that beach. It was just me, the ocean, and Hannah’s ring which was somewhere out there. Pardon the pun but looking for a ring in the ocean is like looking for a needle in a haystack when doing a search of this magnitude. When you’re out there in the water, with the waves coming at you in the dark and all you have is a headlamp on, it’s a weird lonely feeling. A metal detectorist just has to get over it and focus on what the mission is and not think about the loneliness and the improbability of finding such a small target out in the middle of so much territory.
You are not only battling the darkness, but you are facing so many different factors at one time. You’re dealing with the waves, the current, the noise of the ocean while trying to listen to your detector, the pounding pressure from the water that is constantly going against your coil as you’re trying to swing to the left and to the right. You have to hear and read signals correctly. You’re fighting against the tide and the clock, because you have a small window of time to search farther out in the deep. You constantly deal with doubt and wondering what actually happened to the ring when it fell to the sand below. You are hoping the estimations of where the ring disappeared are somewhat accurate. You’re hoping that the ring stays in one place and that it did not get carried some distance away by chance. You are wondering how much sand may have gotten piled on top of it and if the metal detector will even be able to reach the depth where the ring rests below the sand. You fight your own pressure of knowing that you are the only one that can bring this ring back with the help of God. If I failed, that bride won’t be wearing her engagement ring for the upcoming wedding in 2 weeks. Love and compassion must be your drive to get you past all of the adversity that you face out there in the dark.
So I searched that morning from 4:15 a.m. until 7:45 a.m., detecting the ocean as the sun came up and I only got a few targets to search, and none of them were Hannah’s ring. After all that time I was physically worn out, as well as disappointed that I had not pulled the ring out of the Atlantic…but I didn’t give up. Once again, I resolved to return in the late afternoon during the next low tide to give it my all and see if I could get the ring back.
Once it was later that morning, I would call the bride-to-be and let her know that I was unsuccessful at my second attempt in finding her ring. I could hear her disappointment on the phone. We agreed that I would do another hour and then she would tell me what she wanted me to do next – to keep searching or to let it go.
That afternoon, I got back out onto the beach after resting up for a few hours that late morning and early afternoon. I was mentally strong and ready to attack the water once again. Just seeing all of the people on the beach and in the water made for a completely different scene from the night search. The beach was alive again, teaming with people everywhere. That made me happy.
I got my detector ready, geared up and once again headed for the same water that I got to know quite well in the middle of the night. I was not going to rest easy and allow the water to keep what rightfully belonged to Hannah. I would give it all I had and hoped that I could find her beloved engagement ring.
The tide was helpful to me, as was the tide in the middle of the night. However, the waves really battered me like a rag doll every time I was getting as far out in the deep as I needed to be. There was one thing I didn’t have to deal with which I dealt with in the middle of the night, and that were a few small sand sharks that were bumping into my leg as I metal detected through the night. It’s kind of eerie because you can’t see them but you can feel them every so often pumping and brushing up against your wetsuit.
Each target that I came in touch with ended up being a disappointment, one after the other. I would get hit by a wave, my headphones would go flying off, and my hat would go swinging to the back of me because it was tethered to a cord around my neck. Between the waves being aggressive when I was up where they broke, and the depth of many of the signals, it took quite a while to be able to get to each of the targets that were buried below the sand.
Finally, just before I reached the end of the first hour of searching that afternoon (my sixth hour in total), I got my 7th target signal. This signal was very weak and almost unrecognizable. It was the kind of signal that you could just walk right by if you weren’t listening extremely carefully because you’re dealing with the noises of the waves, and the headphones can only give you so much volume. Also, those low tones that you are looking for to detect white gold, are masked by false signals that sound the same when your detector coil is brushing up against moving sand in the water. So, you almost can’t tell the signals apart unless you stop and test whether or not there is something deep below that is made of metal.
Though I wanted to pass this signal up because it really didn’t sound like it was anything important, I decided not to compromise the search by giving up something that I just didn’t know what it was unless I scooped it up and found out. I attempted to pull the target out several times and it was probably the most difficult time getting to the target because of its depth and the waves were just pounding me. Every time I laid the scoop down into the water, another wave would take me by surprise. I kept going and going, scooping over and over again, until the detector did not read any signal in the hole any longer. I didn’t even think that the object was in the scoop because I had been digging so much that I didn’t believe anything was even in there. But once the detector did not sound off any signal any longer, I took a look in the scoop. I brought it down to the water to get some more sand out of it and then brought it up again. I believe it took a couple of times to do this and then when I got my focus back on the scoop and looked down for maybe the second or third time, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was there! It came into focus! This beautiful princess-like object that was given to Hannah at the proposal by Derek himself was finally caught, cradled by my stainless steel net! It had been raised from the dead and it would be given life again above the waters that concealed it for 24 hours! It appeared from the dark! It was like living a dream because I knew I was looking for the ring but I didn’t know exactly what it looked like. One thing I knew and that was if I found it, I would know it was Hannah’s! After searching so many hours and finding nothing, the reality of finding that which I was searching for, for so long, became very emotional and almost to the point of being overwhelming!
There was victory, at last! I defeated the elements! I know that it was God’s hand and His immense favor that led me to that target and it was my determination to not reject that which was handed to me! I truly believe it was divine intervention. God loves marriage and loves symbols. Like the rainbow, which God told Noah it would always be a reminder of the covenant between man and God. I believe the ring is similar. It’s a representation of the covenant between two people.
And it was there in the Atlantic Ocean, 40 yards out, that I was introduced to the ring and the ring was introduced to me as my eyes laid ahold of it. Soon my fingers would greet the priceless keepsake as I grasped it out of the scoop! I will never forget how the diamonds and gold treated me so warmly as they reflected millions of brilliant colors back at my face!
I couldn’t hold back the excitement after what I finally found from the depths of the ocean! The impossible had happened and now I let it all out for everyone to hear on the beach! I started running to the shore and sharing my overwhelming joy to find that which had been lost 24 hours prior! People started clapping and some gathered over to see what emerged out of the waters of the Atlantic! This was one of the best “show and tells” that I had ever had! It really takes your breath away when something like this can be recovered! Many people on the beach rejoiced with me, knowing that Hannah was going to get her ring back soon enough! There were even people on the beach the day before who witnessed seeing the bride-to-be’s sadness and how all of her friends and mother reacted to the loss. Now, the same people witnessed redemption, a second chance, a new unbelievable fairytale of how the storybook ring would reappear and be carried back to the princess just before the wedding day!
I gave God the glory and credit for what had taken place. I just felt like I was the servant who He sent to the ocean to pluck that ring out and return it to the one who cried out for help! Apparently, on social media, a prayer group was assembled and requests to God were made known. Yes, the power of prayer! I do believe that God is not all about material things but most importantly, that which comes from the heart. But from my personal experience, I see how God gets involved when love and compassion are made the center points, and not idolatry of an object. This was one of those examples where I believe He divinely intervened. I know my skills and I know what I am capable of. But, in this search, I needed something more than what I was knowledgeable about, and more than the detector that I held in my hand 40 yards out in the ocean. I was thanking God the whole time for what He did to guide me to the jewel!
So, what did I do next? I took a survey from everybody on the beach and it was clear that I needed to do a fake out and make this a surprise worth keeping forever! So, I called her up and I told Hannah that I did everything I could to recover the ring and I just asked her if she would like me to continue beyond the one hour search that I had done so far. We had agreed that I would stop after the first hour and she would reevaluate everything with Derek about moving forward or not. Hannah decided to not continue the search. Had I not found the ring during that hour, it would have stayed out there in the Atlantic possibly indefinitely because the couple decided to let it go rather than to continue. I couldn’t wait to do the reveal!
This was an amazing story that I will never forget. Please watch the video for what happened next! It’s worth watching!
As much as it was a fairytale come true for Derek and Hannah to fall in love and to recover the lost engagement ring from the ocean just two weeks prior to their wedding, it was also a fairy tale story for me, as well. Just a few days after I returned the ring to Hannah, my wife and I received an invitation from the couple to join them in their celebration at their wedding! I was beyond honored and touched by their hearts of kindness! I was able to attend this most amazing wedding and celebration! It’s so hard to describe the emotions that were running through me when I saw the bride and groom exchanging vows and wedding bands! Also, to view Hannah, dressed as the fairytale bride, wearing the engagement ring and now accompanying the matching wedding band, it was simply magical! The set was complete, and so was this beautiful love between the newly crowned husband and wife!
This story was a fairytale-come-true twice over! I will never forget it as long as I live!
Check out the video on my YouTube Channel – THE RING RETURNER, to watch how I surprised Hannah, the Bride-To-Be with the return of her ring!
CHECK OUT MORE SEARCH VIDEOS ON MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL: THE RING RETURNER AT: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmcn09QqWhHrj-7SGqlUBJQ
CHECK OUT THE RING RETURNER WEBSITE AT: HTTPS://WWW.THERINGRETURNER.COM/