Northland Tag | The Ring Finders

Gold Earring Lost in Sand at Whangaroa, Found and Returned.

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

I got a call late last night from Sophie, asking if I was able to find a lost gold earring in the sand.

She had been playing volleyball on the beach at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa in the Far North of New Zealand, and at some stage in the rough and tumble the earring was lost into the sand. A fellow camper at the Tauranga Bay campsite had heard of or witnessed my successful recovery of a lost engagement ring there just a couple of days ago. It was a simple matter to track down The Ringfinders to save the day (well, night)

It was just about low tide when she phoned, dinner could wait but time and tide waits for no-one, it was 50km away and night searches in the water aren’t fun. I threw the water kit in the car and headed off.

They had left the net up so I could see where they had been playing, but the giveaway was the parallel lines and grubbing about of what looked like a group of people doing a shoulder to shoulder contact search through the sand. It was just on sunset when I started and worked the court area and the principle traffic area back towards the camp.  I became aware of an audience in the dark, comfortably seated and watching what must be the most boring spectator event ever!  However they were to disappointed as the only two targets found were a hair clip and a 10c piece.  Confident I had cleared the site, it was either deep or not in the indicated area.

After confirming clothing etc had been checked to make sure it hadn’t been caught up, I said I would return in the morning with a deeper coil.

Up at 4am to drive back to the beach. Aside from a few torches of bleary-eyed campers stumbling around the campsite it was just me and my detector.  I re-ran the original grid, picking up some deeper junk targets before widening the search area.   I dropped over the change in contour where the waves had lapped on last nights high tide and off to the outside of one corner of the original grid I picked up a quiet ‘double-thud’ of a circular object – but could be an old can pulltab down deep.

Yes, it was deep, nearly 30cm down, but it wasn’t a pulltab as my fingers closed on the familiar shape of a sand-filled ring in the dark. Verified in the headlamp, and Job Done!

I scratched a message to Sophie in the sand: “FOUND IT! Back at 4pm” and headed off to work.

Later that morning I got a TXT from Sophie who had seen the message and was overjoyed at the retrieval of her lost earring.  By 4pm, it was back in her hands (to be put safely away with the other one for the remainder of their holiday)

New Engagement Ring Lost in Surf – Found and Returned, Tauranga Bay, NZ

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626
Every ring has a story. This particular story was nearly cut short after it had only just begun!
One day into her engagement, Alexis was enjoying the water at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa in New Zealand when she got hit by a large wave. Once the excitement had subsided, she realised the sea had pinched her brand new engagement ring!
Fortunately others nearby recommended me and she called immediately, before the wave action could bury it too deep.
On arrival, it wasn’t hard to see where she was in the crowd by the shoal of snorkellers searching in the shallows. After a quick Q&A, I had a good idea of the search area and started the first run.
Quick contact from Alexis and careful noting of her location enabled me to recover and hand back her lost ring within a few minutes – to screams of relief and joy echoing around the beach.
Alexis turned to her fiance, “Are we still getting married?” 😆
And the ring added a chapter to its story.

 


Diamonds lost in sand, found within two minutes

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Sarah was enjoying the summer with her family at Taupo Bay, a lovely ocean beach in the north of New Zealand.
Taking her gold and diamond wedding ring off to apply sunscreen to her son before a swim, it wasn’t until she got back to where she was staying that she realised the ring was now absent.
Fortunately, I had only recently posted in the local community Facebook page trying to find the owner of a couple of silver rings located during a casual hunt there, Sarah saw this and contacted me.
I met her on site the following day and she went through the what’s and where’s surrounding the loss of her wedding ring, indicating where the group had been spread out. A scoop hole nearby didn’t bode well, but this is a game of inches and there was a good chance a casual detector had missed it.

Kids had since excavated a massive crater in the beach in the two days after Sarahs visit, and I was fully expecting to have to return here and manhandle a few hundred kilos of sand back into the hole to get to the original beach surface under the pile of sand around it…
Luck was with me today though, another dozen paces and I got a nice “dig me” tone.
The scoop went in, I emptied it across the surface, and a line of diamonds wrapped in wet sand twinkled in the early evening sun.
Sarah was overjoyed –  and check out the cheesy grin on her son  🙂

 

Gold and Diamond Ring Lost at Kerikeri, New Zealand – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Barrys wife was swimming and playing with her grand-daughter in the sea in the Bay of Islands, NZ, last night.
As she went to do a handstand she felt her precious gold and diamond ring slip off her finger and into the cloudy water.

Instantly lost…

Fabricated from her mothers jewellery, she was understandably very distraught – returning with a torch that night to search for the lost ring.
Again she tried, at sunrise this morning, she was back with a mask and snorkel – but to no avail.

Shortly afterwards, Barry found me through a web search for ring recoveries, finding lost rings and metal detectors and gave me a call.
As luck would have it, it was just approaching low tide and I was only 30min away so threw the kit in the wagon and headed out.
On arrival, I saw she was standing diligently at ‘Spot X’. I went through the backstory of how she lost the ring, state of tide, depth of water, whether she was on shingle, sand or silt underfoot etc and started to work the grid.

Starting in the water, I worked back and forth along the beach. Ploughing my way through the many trash signals, digging a few that were too close to call. Eventually I emerged onto the beach and continued up past the depth she had indicated (Assume Nothing, Believe No-One, Check Everything)

There was evidence of recent detecting with scoop holes in the water and backfilled holes on the beach, as expected at this time of year with the influx of holidaymakers, although they were unlikely to have been created in the short period between time of loss and my arrival.

Initial search area was eventually cleared with no result, I discussed the search with them and we shifted slightly to one side towards where they had come down onto the beach.
Seconds into the new area, less than a metre outside the original grid boundary(!)  I caught the ring, tucked snugly into the gravel about 2-3 inches down – To an ecstatic cheer from it’s owner…and I went home to finish my lunch 🙂

Wedding Ring Lost When Boat Capsized in Surf – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Tim had lent his boat to his mates for a fishing trip out from Matauri Bay in Northland, New Zealand.

Tragically the boat went broadside and suffered a capsize as they were coming back in through the surf and was, shall we say, pummelled.
His gold wedding ring had been in a cupholder onboard and during the subsequent carnage in the waves, was lost.

Spin forward three months.  Tim made contact with me and asked what the chances were… Matauri Bay? Ocean beach, with such a big head start? I wasn’t too optimistic – Until I heard that the guys in the boat had taken note of the approximate location which at least gave me some sort of start point, and I knew there would be other items lost such as fishing gear which would assist me in pinpointing the exact location. The time elapsed was still a real concern though, as we had had a couple of good storms including a 1 in 500yr monster that wrought destruction across the region – with seas to match, and Matauri has no significant shallow hard bedding layer for the ring to settle on.
I let him know the odds were less than great, but would have a look to gauge whether it was worth actively searching or adding it to my ‘cold-case’ book.

I met Tim onsite the following day, and recapped the events of the day with him.

Without having one of the guys actually involved in the capsize there, it was Chinese Whispers over the phone….describing a featureless beach.
You have to start somewhere, and I had already started working a grid when he arrived, initially focussing on locating any concentration of targets.
It was not to be, and an endless stream of light targets of bottle caps, aluminium can tabs and corroded foil told me the sand was now deep over the site. Winding the machine to “redline” gave a few very rusty jigheads from a long way down but they looked too old – and I can guarantee Tims boat wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last to get trashed here.

Despite this false start, I was confident that I could find the debris field – Given time.
Over the course of many 2 and 3am starts, the big tides are never sympathetic to normal business hours, I started to pick up a few lead sinkers. Then a small tackle box and a large knife, both really deep down… Tim confirmed it was his knife and I could finally put a pin in the map! The only problem was the depth of sand and the now common metal detectors carried by holidaymakers at the local motorcamp just 50m away…

More visits and many night starts made for some looong days at my regular job, although bits of fishing kit started to consistently surface. I needed to clear all the jigs, lead, hooks etc in order to be able to hear the ring which would likely be under all this ‘noise’.

The other morning saw another rainy 2am start to catch the big tides. I settled in on the mark and quickly started digging fishing gear right on the low water line, a pair of pliers, knife, hooks – This was promising, very promising as it was obvious some sand had been lost.
I stayed in that same spot, digging target after target…after target. The pouch was starting to slide off my hips I had so much fishing kit in it. But no ring, and after 4 hours, the tide was chasing me out. I knew that if I walked away now I might lose the chance for another few months, or even years. What started out as wet sand was now wading depth with gumboots long since filled with water! I carried on digging oh, so many, many irritating small sinkers as the first light of dawn grew in the sky, and the cutoff to call it off and head off to work drew closer.

Yet another 1oz weight, check the hole, another, check the hole….a soft tone, down deep. There it was again. A half dozen quick deep scoops lifted it out of the hole and a flash of yellow in the scoop.

Tim was on holiday when I sent him the TXT and photo of the finds, asking why he uses solid gold fishing weights!
Two weeks later, this afternoon and after six months apart, the ring finally made its way home.

Three months head start, and another three to locate it – Ringfinding is definitely not for the impatient

Lost Phone Found Buried in Sawdust Pile – Kerikeri, Northland.

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Lost rings in summer, phones in winter…

Had a call from Greg this evening, asking if I would be able to find his lost cellphone.

Backstory was he’d been working in a firewood yard today shifting logs to be split and last remembered seeing his phone a few hours previously. It was now going straight to answerphone so ringing it was ineffective.
We went through retracing his steps and narrowed it down to a corridor of sawdust and chippings in amongst the logs, maybe 5m wide by 20m long. A 12 tonne digger was sitting on the principle area of interest, so I first scanned the area behind it so he could walk the digger (and it’s enormous metal presence) backwards. As expected in an industrial environment, there were a lot of junk signals messing around in the headphones, with one promising false start that turned out to be a flattened drink can.

Once the digger had been moved, I then started to clear the area where it had been and very quickly picked up a solid ‘phoney’ sort of signal.

Digging down into the sawdust, I gingerly grabbed a very hot, angry and unstable iPhone, crushed by the digger unfortunately and the battery was starting to meltdown, but his precious SIM card was safely recovered – Not to mention averting possible fire issues had the phone ignited later in the evening whilst buried in sawdust…

            Not Rated to 12 Tonnes!

 

 

Kerikeri Phone Lost in Long Grass – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Yesterday, Seans young son was doing some TikTok clips with his friend.

For what ever reason, the phone was flung away to the side – and into the deep mattress of overgrown Kikuyu grass around them.  Efforts by Sean and his son to find the phone failed to locate the phone visually (flat battery, so no ringtones) and so Sean turned to the internet for assistance to try and recover the lost phone.

It was a reasonably straightforward job,  with no interference from electric fences which are very common in this rural area. With a systematic approach, and based on experience with recovering ‘thrown’ items, the phone was quickly located outside the indicated area, as they so often are.

It was a sheepish, but relieved lad who got called over to collect his phone out of the grass.

White Gold and Diamond Ring Found at Kai Iwi Lakes

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Sam and his wife were spending some time at the beautiful Kai Iwi lakes in the Far North of New Zealand.

His wife had waded out to the edge of the drop off for a swim, and when she returned to the car, realised the ring was missing.

Sam met me on site, and we discussed areas, marking out the search limits and I waded out with the marker floats.

I had just dropped the second float when the ring, an absolute stunner by the way, made itself known just in front of me!

One of the fastest recoveries yet, and inside the initial search area for once …Just.

Diamond and Gold Ring Lost While Swimming at Paihia – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Diana was visiting the Bay of Islands for Waitangi Day, and decided to go for a dip to cool off after the drive up.

Sadly, the cold water shrunk her fingers and the ring flew off as her arm came over on the first stroke when she started her swim.   Fortunately her friend was there and made a note of roughly where she was, and current state of the tide.  She contacted me the following day to see if I was able to help.

It appeared to be a relatively easy recovery. I was given a start point and direction the ring was thought to have gone. After 5 hours and covering almost quarter of square kilometre of quiet bay to 98% confidence, including just over 3kg of fishing weights, I decided it wasn’t there.

Falling back to my mantra of “Assume Nothing, Believe No-one, Confirm Everything” I wiped the slate and worked on basis that the only 100% definite was I knew where she had entered the water, and that was the last time she knew she had the ring on.

Very shortly after, I reached down under the coil in the knee-deep shallows and felt the ring sitting under a clump of seaweed on the surface of the rock. Three of the largest diamonds I’ve seen sparkled brightly as they broke the surface of the muddy water.  Job Done.

I would have liked to deliver it in person, but had to settle with giving it a clean and polish, a bit of gift wrapping, and sending it back by courier.

It’s now back on her finger, hopefully for good  🙂

 

Treasured Gold Ring Lost at Russell, Found by Metal Detectorist

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

I had just got home from a recreational detecting session when I received the call for a lost gold wedding ring at Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

All the gear was still in the car so a quick battery swap and on my way.

I arrived at the scene an hour later and Nathan and his wife took me through the scenario.
Nathan had been in chest deep water at the local beach when he took the ring off his finger, I believe, to check the looseness of his new wedding ring.
Whatever the reason, fate intervened, the fingers slipped and the ring sank to the seafloor and into the sand.
Fortunately he had presence to mind to stay put and several nearby swimmers and snorkellers all had a go at retrieving it, although as we Ringfinders know all too well, rings are rather adept at quickly burrowing into the sand with any disturbance.

Shortly after, we were joined by Paul (forgive me if I have forgotten your name) who I award the title of Honorary Ringfinder.

Paul had made a mental note at the time of the initial attempts of a couple of landmarks which would help relocate the Point Last Seen. He was also game to snorkel out to find the depression in the sand from the earlier efforts and drop my marker float. This quick thinking and assistance greatly boosted the odds, and I thank him.

The tide by now was far too high to hunt without SCUBA, so I eliminated the shallows “Believe no-one, Assume Nothing, Confirm Everything” then settled in for a wait as the tide dropped.

I passed the time deflecting curious swimmers, and one jet ski, all of whom seemed intent on moving my critical marker float. Drawn to it like moths to a flame… although it was rather amusing watching the behaviours change as they spotted the marker bobbing around and changed course directly for it, only to be intercepted by a concerned RingFinder rushing into the tide to explain what it was, and to please leave it there….!

After a couple of hours, the water was just under nostril height and I could get out to the Search Area. I found the depression and was concerned by the depth of the crater formed by a well-meaning snorkeller and feared they may have disturbed the bottom enough to allow the ring to settle deep into the gravels. I checked the hole with no results so started a systematic search pattern. I would return to the crater if the ring wasn’t located.

After a few grids, there was a bright tone, I’d heard many of these today which had all turned out to be pulltabs from drink cans, but on a ring recovery you have to dig every target.

On the third bite with the scoop I shook the sand and gravel out and was left with a handful of shells – and a ring. I held it up to show Paul, who responded from the beach with a celebratory cheer.

About an hour later I managed to catch up with Nathan and Anita in Paihia for an emotional reunion.

The ring had belonged to Nathans Grandfather who never took it off following his wedding day. Nathan was continuing the tradition, and I am honoured to be able to reverse what they thought was an irretrievable loss and ensure the story of his ring can continue.