Northland Tag | The Ring Finders

Heirloom Signet Ring lost at Taupo Bay – Huge potential area, Found by Experienced Ring Finder

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Got a message from Krista
” Lost my ring at Taupo Bay today”.
After delving deeper, it transpired she might have lost her treasured heirloom rose gold ring at one of several locations: Washing the car, washing the dog, Potting/manuring some plants, swimming with the dog at one end of Taupo Bay, or when a boogie board was taken from her at the other end… HUGE potential area and with no start point. This is where experience takes precedence over ‘brute force’ (eg trying to cover every square centimeter). I met Krista  at her home, quickly eliminating the car/dog washing areas and the freshly manured garden plants as I waited for her to get ready to head down to the beach, although I already had a hunch where the lost ring would be found… I then followed her to the beach.
There were two locations of interest here, where she went into the water with her dog, and where a boogie board was taken off her. I chose to clear the latter first as it was at highest risk of being picked up by a casual holidaying metal detectorist as it was in the dry sand zone above the high tide mark and this time of year, coils are prevalent…
I cleared the highest probability area of the dry sand and with the tide about to turn shifted my focus to where she had taken the dog into the sea. I could return to complete the dry sand with a high intensity search if necessary.
At the swim spot at the other end of the bay, I asked Krista to retrace her movements and interactions from when she parked the truck. I mentally marked out the highest probability area on the sands as she retold her activities that afternoon and I settled in for a long search into the evening… I typically allow a minimum of four hours which, from experience, is sufficient to recover 90% of items. If the item is at a high risk of being lost to other detectorists, casual passers-by or a dynamic environment, eg surf, I often extend the hours to try and secure the lost item in the initial search phase.
After several circuits of the search pattern, I hit a nice solid tone at the waters edge – 3 inches under the surface lay her heirloom signet ring. It was outside the area she thought it would be [Trust No-one, Assume Nothing, Check everything] but the important thing was – It had been found.
I held it up and started to walk back towards her, a big grin on my face, a grin matched only by hers once she realised it was actually her lost ring and not someones elses.
All done, I packed up and headed home to get ready for my day job.

Grandfathers Gold Ring Lost in Sea at Tutukaka, Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Erin was enjoying a swim at Kowharewa Bay, near Tutukaka when he lost his grandfathers signet ring.
The ring was given to his grandfather on his 21st birthday, and had been passed down to him. One of those things that is truly irreplaceable.
His wife contacted me, and I arranged to meet him at Tutukaka the following day to try and recover this precious part of his family history.
I was on site a little ahead of him, so set about lining up landmarks from a photo his wife had sent me and estimating how far out he would have been given the state of the tide and the 90 minute window they were there.
Kowharewa Bay has a very shallow contour below low water mark, so “waist deep” is potentially a huge area. The timestamp on the photo was invaluable as it told me exactly what the tide level was at the time around loss.
Once that was done, I headed back to the car to get the wetsuit on and make a start.
It was still well before low water, so did a quick calculation of how much extra depth to allow – which ultimately meant the curious onlookers on the beach could only see a pair of headphones and dive mask gliding backwards and forwards through the waves, occasionally sinking out of sight to investigate a potential target.
I finished the first search pattern out to one side of the estimated location and was just turning to head over and start a second run on the other side when the coil drifted over a solid tone off to my side .
Slipping underwater, I fanned the sand away to reveal a well worn signet ring.
Ring recovery is a “Game of Inches”. It’s a slow, methodical, extremely disciplined procedure, when there’s a lot of trash signals it can be extremely mentally fatiguing as well as you listen to and analyse every response.
Get lazy with just one sweep of the coil and you could miss the target and walk right past it.
Had the coil not just grazed the ring in this instance it could have been a long 4-6Hrs in the water into the night until the search pattern opened up far enough to include it.
I waded ashore and phoned to let Erin know I had something for him!
He turned up about 5 minutes later and quickly had the ring back on his finger.

Lost Silver Ring in Tauranga Bay Sand Dune – Found by the Ring Finders!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
First recovery for 2022.
Andy was enjoying New Years Eve on the beach at Tauranga Bay near Whangaroa Harbour, and as he kicked back to make himself comfortable in the loose sand of the dunes, he felt his jandals slip off his feet. Over the hours, they got progressively buried in the steep and mobile dry sand dune.
But this isn’t a story of a jandal recovery.
In the pitch black, as he sifted through the sand looking for his now buried jandals, he felt his precious silver ring slip off and vanish into the sand.
He gave me a call today just as I was getting prepped to leave for another lost ring in the sea at Cable Bay an hour further north.
I made an earlier start and detoured out to Tauranga Bay en route.
Searching the area was a matter of trying to maintain tight control of the coil in a controlled slide down the dune, followed by a hard three steps up- slide two back, slog up to the top again. Great exercise in the midday summer sun…
I cleared the initially indicated area, and as Andy wasn’t exactly sure where he had been, I started to open up the search pattern – keeping a half eye on the time as I had to catch low tide up in Doubtless Bay for the other lost ring recovery. If necessary I could return to this one, but time and tide waits for no-one.
Halfway down the dune, about 6 or 7 metres from where Andy thought he had been, I picked up a bright silver tone.
The scoop went in, the dry sand flowed out through the holes like water leaving a lovely bark-textured silver ring behind.
Holding it up to Andy, it was met with a huge grin!
Then into the car, and off to Doubtless Bay for recovery number two… leaving Andy to continue to look for his jandals buried in the sand at the new location where I had found the ring
.

Silver Ring Lost While at Work – Found in Kerikeri Orchard

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

Just after sunrise this morning I was meeting Sinead at a local commercial orchard near Kerikeri, with the objective of finding her silver ring lost the previous day.
She had taken it off and put it a pouch with her phone while planting new vines. But later in the day, discovered it had disappeared.

Fortunately she had a good idea of which rows it would be in, although a dedicated group of fellow workers on hands and knees had failed to find it yesterday.
On arrival at the block, deep in the orchard, Sinead recounted how she had taken her ring off and put it in the pouch with her phone at the start of work.

We started the search in the row where she had taken the phone out of the pouch to answer a call.

Going was very tough with lots of chatter from buried offcuts, wire staples and similar chaff that you find on any established commercial site, however the ring would (should) be a good signal and I was able to move reasonably fast.
As the coil wiped the dew off the grass it gave an excellent indicator that I was getting 100% coverage. Who needs GPS!

First row finished after about 45 minutes with only a couple of too-close-to-call possibles investigated.

We moved onto the second row, I was suddenly now conscious that this orchard covered several square kilometres…

Sinead mentioned that she noticed she had dropped her headphones here…or maybe that row over there – I took her word for it, they all looked the same to me!
I started in the area where the headphones were found, nothing. Opened the search a bit wider and…a good repeatable signal.
I parted the grass and saw the silver edge of the ring pressed into the topsoil.
Leaving it there, I beckoned to Sinead to come over.
“Oh, Wow!”, as she excitedly picked up her ring from where it fell and put it back on her finger.

 

Lost Gold Signet Ring in the Sea at Russell – Found After Three Years of Searching!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

Three years ago, Connor was swimming at Long Beach near Russell and he felt his gold signet ring slip off his finger.
This was a one-off piece, well sort of, as each of the family had one made with the family crest embossed into it. Effectively irreplaceable.

I met with Connor at the time and spent some hours looking for it in the surf and on the beach, however came back empty handed.

It was highly unlikely a casual detectorist had found it in such a short time, so it had to have gone deep with the sand movement.
It became a thorn in my side, knowing it was there…
Any time I was in Russell since then, I had a look at the beach – Some days the sea and sand were favourable so I spent a few more hours looking. As I do with any outstanding recovery.
Other days, there was obviously a lot of deep sand overburden, so any attempt wouldn’t be productive.
About three weeks ago, I stopped by as had become habit (bordering on obsession) whenever I was on the peninsula.
I saw a very shallow and subtle shift in the beach contour so I kitted up.
The first hole produced a very old and white-oxidised lead sinker, this looked promising – but had someone else beaten me to it with the ring?
Second signal was a clean low tone, but very faint. I dug the scoop in deep, but the signal remained in the hole.
Second scoop took me down to around 40cm deep, the hole was silent so whatever it was, was in the scoop.
Expecting another sinker, I shook the sand out of the scoop in the water, looked in and there was a beautiful orangey-yellow of gold, just starting to get that water-aged tone.

Three years… and fifteen days, after it had been lost.

I emailed Connor that night with a photo. His reply was that of amazement, disbelief, and lots of exclamation marks.

Today he drove up from Auckland, and I handed his family ring back to him, smiles and handshakes aplenty.

I sat in the car afterwards, and put a line through his entry in my little black book and wrote, with immense satisfaction,

FOUND! 11/02/21

 

Gold and Diamond Ring Lost Swimming at Tutukaka 5 Weeks ago – Found.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626
When I hear about a lost ring, I do whatever I can to get it back to the owner,  This has become something of a ‘domino effect’ this month.
Liz was enjoying a swim at Kowharewa Bay in Tutukaka when she felt her ring slip off her finger and disappear into the water.
Efforts to visually locate it at the time were unsuccessful, so she posted on Facebook in the hope someone had/would find it.
Five weeks later, I was in the area delivering another ring back to a happy owner, and since I was so close…Well, it’d be rude not to have a go.
The bay was relatively shallow with a fine silt bed, perfect to swallow rings as soon as they touched the bottom. In amongst the Eagle Ray feeding holes were scattered scoop marks. I knew another trusted detectorist had had a go in the shallows, although he had been unsuccessful. I decided to concentrate my efforts wide of his earlier search, as I could always re-search his area once the incoming tide forced me in closer.
The water was calm, warm and clear which made a very pleasant change from my normal water searches in surf. I was enjoying not having to use the scoop, and instead just sinking down onto the seabed and fanning the silt away with my hand, to find yet another fishing weight, or pull tab off a can.
Accompanied by a school of fearless and inquisitive juvenile fish, I systematically searched the bay in the area where she thought she lost it. The pouch slowly filling up with lead and tabs along with assorted ancient car keys and bits of brass from boats that had passed by over the years.
About 2 hours into the search the phones whispered a bright, clean tone that (nearly) always tells me my search is over. I once again sank under the surface and wafted away the silt – my entourage of followers darting in instantly for any unlucky invertebrates lifted up into the water. As the cloud of silt and fish dispersed, there was the unmistakable outline of the edge of a ring in the bottom of the depression.
I picked it up, and the diamonds flashed in the sunlight, I discovered diving masks leak when you give a huge grin…
It was another fortnight before I could hand Liz her ring, completing a bizarre sequence of connected ring reunions:
I originally travelled down to Tutukaka to recover Merryns ring, lost in the surf at Whangaumu Bay.
After meeting Merryn at Tutukaka later to hand the ring over, I decided to have a go at recovering Lizs ring nearby that I’d read about on Facebook.
Two weeks later, and I’m back in Whangarei to hand Liz her ring, but I travelled down early and successfully recovered Karens ring, that had been shared on the local Metal Detecting Facebook group.
So, one recovery request leads to three separate recoveries and a trio of very happy people, none of whom have met, but all with a connection through TheRingFinders.

Wedding Ring Lost at Ocean Beach, Found after Two Months in the Sand

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

At the end of December, after a day at Ocean Beach near Whangarei, Karen arrived back home to realise she had lost her ring back at the beach.
She had taken it off to apply sunscreen and presumably left it on the towel, and flicked it off when she packed up.
She drove out again to try and find it with her friend who owned a metal detector, but had no luck.
Successive attempts by various people with detectors were also unsuccessful, and she had all but given it up as lost.
As is often the case, it was the sentimental rather than the monetary value that hurt the most.

I was in the Whangarei area to hand over another previously found ring and had come down very early to spend some time at Ocean Beach to see if I could find her lost wedding ring.

Sitting in the carpark just before dawn, I went through her Facebook post again. She had noted several crucial times: When she was at the beach initially, and also when she went back to look and found the tide had covered the spot. Quick flick back to the December tide tables allowed me to work out how far below high tide mark she had been sitting.
She had also had the presence of mind to take photos of landmark alignments which while giving a relatively accurate fix, could equally work against us if a casual detectorist had intentionally sought to pocket it.

A very small white gold ring, lost on a popular surf beach with nearly a two month headstart and an accurate description of the location posted on social media, I wasn’t too optimistic to be honest – but you have to believe it’s there… having that valuable edge of experience to sway the odds in your favour helps.

It was still dark and no moon, but I could see the silhouette of the landmarks against the city glow behind the hills. After a few dry runs to get the best of three guesses as to location, I took the average of the three and started the grid.

Within fifteen minutes, I had the ring in the pouch.

I posted a photo of the ring as a reply to Karens original post, and hoped she would see it before I had to head back north. She did, and several hours later, I met up with Karen and handed her ring back to her.

Two rings handed back in one day – It’s a good feeling.

Ring Lost in Surf at Whangarei – Found after Four Days

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626
Merryn was having a swim at Whangaumu Bay near Whangarei in New Zealand when she felt her wedding ring slip off the finger. The water was too murky to see it, and it would have buried itself in the fluid sand instantly anyway.
It was with a heavy heart she walked away from it.
Shortly after, Merryn happened across a detecting mate of mine and mentioned it to him. Steve wasn’t able to help as it was a marine recovery – but he knew I could as an experienced ringfinder, and passed on Merryns details.
Four days after the loss, I arrived at Whangaumu with a rough verbal guide as to where it was, to get me started until Merryn was able to get there and pinpoint the spot.
I walked the dry sand above the high tide line looking for evidence of where she had been, and spotted two old towel marks in the sand. Must be the spot and I started work.
After a couple of hours being slapped and dunked by the surf, Merryn arrived and confirmed I was in the right place, but the towel marks weren’t hers! It was pure coincidence or human behaviour unconsciously picking the same spot for whatever reason!
The surf was quite dumpy with a lot of sand flowing down the beach. I told Merryn that in these conditions with the four day head start, odds were getting slim. She had to leave to go to another commitment so after watching anxiously for several minutes, left me to it.
Thirty minutes after she had driven away, I picked up a deep tone. Fanned the sand away with my feet and looked down through the suspended sediment to see the outline of her ring in the deep crater.
I scooped it, switched off the machine and headed straight back to the car to TXT her that her ring was now secured 🙂
This morning, I met with her to hand back her freshly polished ring…
Then promptly headed off to find another one nearby, this one lost in the sea five weeks ago.
That one was also saved and will be reunited with the owner in a couple of weeks. Watch this space 🙂

Two Rings Lost at Tapuaetahi Beach – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

It’s been a long, hot, and very dry summer – Perfect for beach-goers to relax on the sand, and lose their precious jewellery.

Marion contacted me after hearing about The Ringfinders, and explained how she had been holidaying as a guest at a private beach, notoriously difficult to access and requests from non-residents – Including Ringfinders on a recovery mission, were met with a negative answer.
Marion was also unable to regain access so I knew that I would have to call in some favours on this one in order to get through the electronic gate and be able to find her rings without coming back to find my car towed.
This is when I recalled a discussion with Tim last year after I found his ring at nearby Matauri Bay ( Story here). At the time, Tim had queried the likelihood of finding another ring with a 30 year headstart, lost in a rocky bay while surfing at the same private property. It wouldn’t have moved or been detected, but thirty years… and clefts and crevices would be needle in a haystack. The upside was he could gain access through his contacts, and I would spend some time looking for his ring first.
The duly appointed day arrived and as the gate slid open and I drove through, it felt like I was entering Hallowed ground. It was several kilometres to the bay, surrounded by the residents houses. Fully expecting to be challenged I was surprised to be waved at as I passed walkers and people tending their gardens. I casually waved back while working out a plan B in case I returned to find my car had been towed due to a breakdown in communication…
The bay where Tim lost his ring was a sea of basalt boulders, most weighing 40+ kg. Tim, his wife and I of us spent a full hour, each with pinpointers rummaging in and around, but short of a systematic stringline search taking some weeks, any recovery would have been pure dumb luck. We located the remains of a fishing reel and one fishing weight. Tim conceded his ring had a new home and at least we had spent a cumulative time of three hours on it.

We headed back to the main beach and as I got kitted up at the car, Tim and his wife took their chairs etc down the path onto the sand.
With my experience in Search and Rescue, I have developed a fondness for tracking humans, a skill which has served me well as a RingFinder.  It wasn’t surprising to see that Tim and his wife had set up their chairs in the primary area of interest. Humans can be so predictable in their unconscious decisions!
“You are kidding?” when I asked Tim to move a dozen metres to the right. I briefly explained behavioural profiling and how we, as a species, tend to follow the same instinctive actions. They took it in good humour as they moved their new basecamp.
A few minutes later, Marions’ first white gold ring appeared in the scoop – right where Tim and his wife had been sitting! Tims wife didn’t believe how fast it had been found and as they were admiring the ring, I started the spiral search and less than a metre away, the second emerged.

I texted Marion the good news and as I headed back to the car, a young lad passed me with his metal detector heading for the beach…

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

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Ring Finder – Ring Recovery Specialist…Lost ring? Lost necklace? Lost keys?… Metal Detector Service – Call ASAP 021 401626

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)