Northland Tag | The Ring Finders

Fathers Gold Ring Lost – and Found.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Last week, Mike was clearing out some perishables prior to heading away for a few days, throwing the bread from his deck out to the feeding frenzy of seagulls on his front lawn.
Afterwards he noticed his irreplacable gold and pounamu (Maori: NZ Jade) ring handed down from his father was missing from his finger.
A search of the lawn failed to locate it, so he turned to me for help.
Mike had to start his journey south, so he sent me the address of his property and I would travel up after work that afternoon.
On arrival, I was met with a very short and well manicured lawn – Nowhere for a large ring to hide, although rings can settle in unusual orientations, or bounce and tuck themselves under vegetation to break up the typical ‘ring’ shape that the brain doesn’t register when visually searching.
I quickly cleared the likely area where it may have landed on the lawn then started to work outwards – garden edges, against the fence and in amongst the shubs.
My concern was that a seagull may have picked it up with, or instead of bread only to drop it in a random direction and distance.
I had just about cleared the entire area in front of the house when I picked up a strong signal beside the gate at the entrance, and there it was.
Another couple of feet and it would have been on the public grass verge outside the property, another few yards and it would have been on the road…
It seems the seagull theory may indeed have been correct!
I texted Mike the good news that his ring was now safe and secure, he replied that he would collect it on his return.

I had about 30 minutes of light left so headed to the local beach where I have a couple of outstanding historical losses. Unfortunately I have many people who only learnt of my service months or even years after their loss of a precious item of jewellery on the local beaches. Whilst most are not viable for an immediate search effort, they all get added to my ‘Black Book’, and any time I am in the area I try to commit some time to searching for these. In the dynamic marine environment this is definitely a waiting game until sand and tides conspire to put the ring or necklace within range of the coil. This has taken up to 5 years for one particular ring, 3 years for another… Unfortunately sometimes they may also be found and ‘collected’ by a non ringfinder metal detectorist and added to a private collection of ‘treasure’.

The sand was silent on this occasion, although a few dozen pieces of metallic litter were removed from the environment (can pulltabs, corroded cans, bottle caps, fish hooks and an old fishing knife…Any litter found is always removed, primarily to improve the environment, but also to enhance current and future search efforts).
I was privileged though to be able to view some awesome transient ta moko sand art by an unknown and very talented artist, already partially lost to the stream flowing over the beach by the time I encountered it. It was still pleasing to see that people were consciously walking around, rather than over the design.

A week later I caught up with Mike as he made his way home. During a poorly timed torrential downpour, it was a very swift handover but I managed to get a quick photo for my collection of folks I’ve reunited with their lost taonga (Maori: treasure).

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.

 

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.

Wedding Ring Lost When Boat Capsized in Surf – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.