After checking with a couple other local leads that didn't pan out, in a bit of desperation I contacted some friends I had made during my stay at Hammock Beach. I knew that Dieter and Britton were divers (their blog is Diving Into Cruising) and I hoped they would know someone that could help. They replied that they knew someone that has the gear and can do this sort of recovery. Unfortunately, after over a week of trying to get a hold of that person, they were unsuccessful. They volunteered to come up and take a look themselves.
|Dive flag raised in the rigging|
Knowing that Brunswick Landing Marina doesn't have a lot of water flow, just the shifting tide, I could only imagine how much silt was below my boat. I figured a visual search would not stand a chance. I offered to help them purchase an underwater metal detector in exchange for them coming up to help search with it. Since they had thought about getting a detector in the past, we decided that getting the detector would be the best possible chance of finding this needle in the haystack that is the muck under my boat. So, a Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II underwater metal detector was ordered.
Today, they came up with the metal detector to try and find my ring. As is my usual luck, the water under the boat looked cloudier than it had the entire past two weeks. It was also it's usual 55 degrees Fahrenheit. I wish I could wave my hand and make the water clear and 85 degrees...but if I had that kind of power I could probably just make my ring jump back onto my finger. I felt bad about my friends diving in those conditions, but they wanted to give it a try and I did want my ring back.
|What is a project with out a few supervisors.|
We dropped a weight on a line with a glow stick attached where I had dropped the ring to mark the center of the search area. They lowered another similar weight down at the side of the boat to help aid in orientation when down in the muck. As Dieter was getting suited up for the dive, a couple of The Dive Guys (the first people I called) happened to wander by and gave us a rather sarcastic "good luck" as they headed over to do some work on another boat at the dock.
I think the cold water was a bit of a shock as Dieter entered, and it took him a second to get used to it. He initially went down to take a quick look around and came back up and confirmed that the bottom was very soft and visibility was not at all good. Not good news. We gave him the metal detector and he went back down. I stood and the end of the finger pier and watched the bubbles rise as he searched. It seemed like a long time, but in reality it was between 15 and 20 minutes when Dieter came back up.
|Dieter following the target line|
He reported that the metal detector wasn't working well and handed it back to us. He said it was constantly going off on everything below the boat. He then said he was going to take one last quick look but it was Britton's turn to give it a try. He started to make his way back to the line at the center of the search area and then came back. Apparently the water was getting just too cold to continue.
At this point, Dieter confessed. He found the ring! He just wanted Britton to experience the cold water and was trying to coax her in. I think she was relieved that, while she wanted to play with the new toy, she really didn't want to go into the cold water. He said that the metal detector made a distinctly different sound when it found gold and once he found the area with the detector, he ran his fingers through the muck and came up with the ring. So, the metal detector did make the difference.
|Yes, that's my ring on Dieters pinky|
While Dieter went to take a well deserved hot shower, Britton and I rinsed the gear and cleaned up. I guess The Dive Guys stopped by the truck while Dieter and Britton were loading up their gear. I wonder what the Dive Guys thought when they found out the ring was so quickly found. After the gear was loaded, we all went for a walk downtown for lunch and to celebrate the success.
|Cleaning up the gear|
I can't thank my friends at Diving Into Cruising enough for rescuing my ring. If you ever lose something precious overboard, know where it went down, and are in the northern Florida area, you might want to check with them. They also do dive instruction, so if you have ever thought about becoming a certified diver, I bet they would be fun instructors to work with...although you might want to watch out for practical jokes from Dieter...or maybe that is just a warning for Britton. ;-)
P.S. If you liked my new Facebook page, you already knew the ring was found. Hope it didn't spoil the story.