Friday, August 1, 2014:
I received this text from Kirk earlier today. “Hey Justin. I lost a wedding band at Kawela Bay this afternoon. Not sure if it was on the beach or in the water.” We setup a meeting time at Turtle Bay at around 9:30am on Saturday.
Saturday, August 2, 2014:
We met up at the Turtle Bay golf course at around 9:30am. From there we drove to a locked gate and had to hike to Kawela Bay which was only about 1/4 mile. During the hike Kirk explained to me the significance of their wedding rings. Kirk’s father gave him his wedding ring and Kirk’s mother gave Kirk’s wife her 10-year anniversary ring. He also detailed the sequence of events that led up to his unfortunate predicament. The previous day Kirk and family were at Kawela Bay enjoying the day. They were throwing around a football for a little while then Kirk started digging his fingers into the wet sand around where the water met the shoreline. At some point during the day Kirk walked out into deeper water that went up to his collarbone. He wasn’t sure if he had his wedding ring on during that time.
I started my search on the dry sand. The area wasn’t big so I went through it quickly. I found a lot of bottlecaps and pulltabs. From there I searched the area where Kirk was digging his fingers into the wet sand. I figured his ring slipped off while pulling his fingers out of the sand. No ring there, just a bunch of nails and bottlecaps. I moved my search to the deepest area as I wanted to get the hard part out of the way. The water was murky and would instantly cloud over to almost zero visibility as soon as the bottom was disturbed so I had to get really close to the bottom to see anything. There were a lot of big coral chunks and rocks so my scoop was useless. I was using lead weights to stay close to the bottom and had to resort to hand-fanning the sand. As I predicted, the bottom was littered with bottlecaps, pulltabs, nails, and aluminum cans. I was literally pulling a target, and sometimes multiple targets, from every square foot of ground my metal detector passed over.
At around the 3-hour mark which was mostly spent holding my breath underwater, I went back to shore to regroup, warm up, and to discuss the loss with Kirk once more. It was then that I got one more clue as to where the ring might be hiding. After digging his fingers into the sand, Kirk went into deeper water (about 3ft) to wash off. While in the 3ft water, Kirk’s brother-in-law threw a football at him which Kirk tried to catch but missed. I moved my search to that area which was about 5ft from shore. I found targets everywhere. The area was only about 25sqft but it seemed like there were dozens of targets buried beneath the sand.
Thirty minutes had passed and by that point I found 35 targets to include 2 fishing weights, a molybdenum magnet, a size D battery ,2 shredded aluminum cans, fishing wire, bottlecaps, and aluminum pulltabs. I could tell by the expressions that all hope was lost. Then I pulled up target number 36 – Kirk’s ring, buried about 6” in the sand.