A great weekend away fishing at our little shack on Yorke's Peninsula suddenly turned into a nightmare when my beautiful diamond ring, which had been a 25th wedding anniversary present from my husband, 5 years earlier, flew off my finger and into the choppy sea!
The events unfolded after I had rowed our dinghy out to the weed-line some distance from shore but still only in about 2 metres of water. Having tossed the anchor overboard I proceeded to bait up my hand line and having just caught a slimy trumpeter, flung out the newly baited line once again. This time though, my heart stopped as I realised my ring had flown off my finger along with the line. I had recently had the ring resized as it was a little tight and as my hands were slippery, it made for the perfect storm.
Not knowing what else to do but also not wanting to lose the position of the dinghy, I launched myself over the side of the boat and arrived back on shore completely drenched, initially to my husband's bemusement until I explained what had happened. Sadly we had no goggles or snorkels at the shack and my efforts to peer through a plastic container into the water around the dinghy proved fruitless. Having to head back to Adelaide later that day, we towed the dinghy back to the shack and had a very long, sad drive home.
The thought of never seeing my beautiful ring again filled me with immense sorrow and although a long shot I knew our only hope of finding it was possibly with the use of a metal detector.
Luckily for me, a very good friend managed to secure the loan of a Minelab CTX 3030, calibrated for gold and able to be used in sea water.
On a wing and a prayer (to Saint Anthony), my husband, oldest son Hugh and I set off two weeks after losing the ring, to try and retrieve it. It was to be our only opportunity to get over there as we had an o/s trip planned for the following week.
Having checked the tide times we knew there was to be a very low tide the following morning and we had a 2-3 hour window of opportunity to find it.
We woke up to an unusually still morning, the sea flat calm (very unusual, for our little bay) and ventured out an hour before low tide. At this stage we were waist deep in water and having a vague idea of where to search we began taking it in turns to go over the area in a grid like manner. During the next 2 hours we had one false alarm, when a strong signal turned out to be an old anchor chain we had used to attach to a buoy 2 years previously. The buoy had long since floated away and the rusty chain had sunk well beneath the sand.
2 and a half hours later and with the tide on the way in, I was ready to call it a day, realising we had given it our best shot and grateful that my boys had even been prepared to humour me in such a quest in the first place.
Not to be dissuaded, my son Hugh continued searching in an area not even close to where I thought the ring should be!! Then suddenly he had a strong signal, 8 inches under the sand. We started digging spade loads of sand into a big burley bucket we had and after at least a dozen scoops coming up with broken pieces of shell, I asked him to put the detector over the hole....no signal and just as the last spade full of sand was shaken out of the bucket, there at the bottom appeared my ring, shinier than ever after two weeks beneath the sand!!!!!
I am sure my eyes must have popped right out of my head. Apparently I yelled out a very improper word in total disbelief, much to my son's bemusement as I rarely swear. All I can say is that moment will live with me forever as one of the most amazing moments of my life.
My ring is even more precious than before and I will remain forever grateful to the very special people who helped me find it, including Saint Anthony!
Many thanks also to Minelab for creating such incredible technology, it really does make it possible to find a needle in a haystack, or in this case a small ring under eight inches of sand after two weeks in an enormous ocean!
Our plans to become Gray Nomads in the near future, will definitely include purchasing the CTX 3030 to add another element of fun to our adventures.
Glenys - South Australia