Russell Tag | The Ring Finders

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.

Gold Ring Lost in Sea at Russell, Bay of Islands – Found!

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

John was out swimming off Long Beach at Russell in the Bay of Islands, and realising he’d forgotten to leave his gold wedding band behind took it off and dropped it inside his wetsuit for security.  All went to plan, until, at the end of his swim and while wading ashore he unzipped the wetsuit and folded it down.  The inevitable happened, however it wasn’t until he was back at the car and out of the wetsuit he remembered the now absent ring.

He spent some time looking for his treasured gold ring in the grass in the carpark and retraced his steps up and down the beach without luck.

I came into the story three days later and made the journey over to hopefully reunite John with his lost ring.

John was up to getting wet again, so I asked him to take one of my marker floats out and drop it at his best guess for the start point.

Starting initially with a spiral search pattern in the immediate area out to 5m, I then ran parallel sweeps back into the beach in the direction of his travel back to the car – pausing to brace into the occasional larger breaking waves.

Once in the shallows, I took a short break to remove the wetsuit and switch to dry gear for the remainder of the beach, continuing the overlapping parallel sweeps back to the car – With no luck.

I always aim to run at 90-95% probability of detection, and the fact I hadn’t found it irritated me. I explained to John that the chances of missing it were slim, so there was a possibility it had fallen out on the hard sand or grass and been picked up. The search corridor marked out allowed for plenty of space either side of his track, so I was confident it wasn’t there.

John accepted the loss, we shook hands and he headed on his way home.

After packing the gear away, I grabbed a coffee from the nearby vendor and sat in the car looking at the beach with the search grid in the sand… I wasn’t happy about something, but couldn’t pin it down.  I needed to have another go on the “Assume Nothing, Believe No-One and Confirm Everything” principle.

What if John hadn’t come in on the direct line he thought he had?  Watching the swimmers and kids splashing around for a few minutes, I saw there was a subtle longshore drift dragging them along the beach. I decided to go back in and extend the search corridor.

Didn’t bother with the wetsuit this time, just grabbed the scoop and detector and headed back to the edge of the previous search area and started adding another 10m to it in the direction of the current.

After maybe 15 minutes, I got that solid gold ‘thud’ in the phones, and the scoop picked it up first time.

I headed back to the car and not having Johns number, phoned his wife to give the good news and ask her to get John to turn around and come back.  He was a very happy chap when I dropped the ring in his hand.

 

 

 

Lost Ring at Russell Beach Found for Christmas

from Paihia (New Zealand)
Contact: 021 401 626

Dec 21st, 2017

I received a call while at work from a very upset lady, the usual story of a slightly-too-large ring and the sea.

The previous day she had gone for a morning swim, and returned to discover she and her ring had parted company.

I knew the beach in question is a very mobile shingle and notorious for ‘swallowing’ rings so time was of the essence. It already had a two-tide head start…

Next low was in two hours, so I cashed in some of my leave and headed away in order to catch it.
An hour and a half and a car ferry later, I arrived on site. Looking at the steep beach angle, coupled with recent wind and wave conditions I could only realistically give her a 50:50 chance of finding it.

After a quick walk through of the timeline and reenacting the whats and wheres leading up to the loss, I marked out the area of highest probability and started searching between the tideline and the waist-deep point where it dropped away to deep water. Figured I’d do the hotspot first before getting the wetsuit on!

A lot of litter signals from can tabs and so forth caused several stops to listen carefully and determine if it was the ring… all were discounted for one reason or another.

Then, on the third line a strong clear tone and the scoop went in for a big bite out of the gravel. I checked the hole to make sure I had the target, dropped my marker float and waded ashore to empty the scoop.

Dumping the gravel onto the beach, sitting quite brazenly on top of the pile of stones was the ring, and in only 12 minutes from switching the machine on (Largely thanks to an extremely accurate start point).

Handed her the lost ring with a smile and a “Happy Christmas!” accompanied by a small round of applause from onlookers.

One extremely grateful, and very relieved couple.

Early Christmas Present

In the space of 30 or so hours, it had already sunk 6-8 inches. I was quietly pleased to have snatched this one back from the beach!