Doubtless Bay Tag | The Ring Finders

Important Key Lost in House – Found by Intensive Search

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Kim phoned me on behalf of a friend asking if I was able to do a house search for an important key.
I generally don’t do domestic searches for lost items purely because they can be. by necessity, very intrusive into peoples ‘space’.

Whilst conventional metal detectors are ineffective inside houses, I have a range of small coils, pinpointers and remote cameras to aid a physical search.

Kim explained the circumstances: Her elderly friend had lent their car to another elderly friend – who had misplaced the key.
It could have been anywhere from the car to inside the house, maybe in a wood shed…or, who knows?

Knowing the significant expense and hassle involved in an insurance claim, especially for an 80-something year old, I agreed.
Though it was over 100km away, the travel would largely be covered by a Pay-It-Forward recovery I had done recently.

I arrived the following morning and met with Jan, she was most apologetic as we went through retracing her steps as best we could, and I explained how I would be conducting the search.
Starting with the car, the last known point where she would have had the key, I began the systematic and meticulous elimination of areas.
With the car and driveway cleared, the search progressed up onto the deck and then into the house.

From here it was a matter of examining everything Jan had, or had potentially interacted with the previous day. On, in, under, beside, behind…

An hour later, in the bottom of a box of assorted dog leashes, treats and toys etc. a shape caught my eye.

I held up a key,  » This it? »

How to find a ring lost in a garden? Call the Kerikeri Ring Finder.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
After reading of my recent recovery of a lost earring in a garden near Kerikeri, Lucy contacted me to see if I could help locate her aquamarine engagement ring, lost in a lawn four months ago.
She had her jewellery out while getting ready for a trip out, and when she came to put it on noticed it had been moved, and her precious ring was missing.
It didn’t take long to discover her three year old had been playing with it, and taken it outside.
On careful questioning, her daughter admitted she had lost it « in the grass ».
After the inevitable immediate search, Lucy gave up hope of ever seeing it again, and more so after the lawn was inevitably mown.
Until yesterday, when I turned up to see what I could do.
Being a farm environment, the going was very slow with the many targets you find in this sort of ground, each needing to be verified before moving on.
I cleared the likely play area, and moved down to the orchard – after all, what three year old can resist fresh plums!
It wasn’t long before I got a low tone in the headphones, in amongst the trees.
As I lifted a small plug of soil, the edge of a ring was visible – I teased it out from the grass roots and gave it a quick rinse in a nearby puddle while Lucys son went to find her.
Her tears flowed freely as I handed it back to her, and she explained to a confused three year old that these were « tears of happiness », and not like the « sad » tears when she realised it had been lost.
I waited a while for the teary red eyes to subside before the reunion photo 🙂

Gold Ring Lost in Garden at Taupo Bay for nearly a Year – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Billys wife sent me a message asking if I would be able to find a lost ring in their garden at Taupo Bay in Northland, New Zealand.
« Certainly ».
Billy had lost his gold ring around 8 months earlier and repeated visual searches had been unsuccessful.

I arrived at the property and Billy described where he thought he had lost his very sentimental gold and ruby ring.
Whilst he didn’t recall losing the ring which was apparently very loose on the finger, he thought it was when he had been sitting on the lawn idly pulling at grass and weeds.

The indicated area was small and very quickly cleared, albeit with no ring found.

They’re very rarely where they are supposed to be, and this is where the experience, discipline and tenacity of a dedicated ring finder come into play.

I started asking specific questions to build alternative scenarios with potential to lose a ring, and based on the answers given focused on several other areas.
These yielded nothing other than a few coins, lots of mown bits of foil – and a long lost key to their front door!

It was now apparent that the ring could potentially be anywhere on the property, so I settled in for a long, systematic and thorough search which would eventually cover nearly every foot of the 3,000 square yard property.
Just over 2,000 yards later, I was almost at the point of switching to the tiny coil to get up close and personal with the shrubs and house surrounds, when a « Dig Me! » target passed under the coil just off the edge of a mown area.

About as far as it could have been from the originally indicated area and still be on the property, a beautiful gold ring separated itself from the roots and soil as I lifted the cut plug out of the ground.

The ring is now safe and destined for a visit to the jeweler for a good clean – and resizing so it doesn’t slip off again.


Tiny Gold Ear Ring Found in Sand at Cable Bay.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Danielle contacted me after losing her tiny gold and diamond earring at Little Cable Bay, between Mangonui and Taipa.
She had spent some considerable time looking for it, but in the dry sand a tiny earring that blended in perfectly would have been virtually invisible to the eye.
I wasn’t able to get away from work for a few hours, but in this instance it worked out well with the tides.
She had sent me a photo which showed some trees lined up as a reference, so I could make a start as soon as I got there.
It didn’t take long to locate myself in the right spot and I started work, a very tedious process with a lot of interference from metallic rubbish that saturated the dry sands above the high tide line.
Danielle arrived soon after and was able to give me her best guess as to where it might be.
With a high probability location now identified, I changed up a few settings and started listening for the tiniest wisp of gold in among all the can tabs and flakes of tinfoil.
It was hard mentally processing each individual signal, digging the probable signals and flagging the unlikely, but possibles to revisit later if necessary.
About 10 minutes in, with the coil running under the surface of the loose and fluid dry sand, I got a repeatable signal only just audible over nearby rubbish.
I ran my hand through the sand, nothing was seen and the pinpointer didn’t pick it up, but I had moved the target. Was it yet another tiniest fragment of ancient drink can?
Slowly I progressively eliminated ever smaller piles of sand until there was one small heap left.
I grabbed it and slowly opened out my hand, scrutinising the grains as they fell through the slightest gap between my fingers, until resting in my palm was the distinctive shape of an earring.
Danielles eyes lit up when she realised her precious lost earring had been found in amongst several trillion grains of sand.

Lost wedding band in Sand at Taupo Bay – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
 Taupo Bay is a beautiful surf beach, and whilst the bigger waves can be powerful, the shallow runout wash into the beach shallows is an ideal place to play with the kiddies while on holiday – As Michael was doing with his 2yo daughter this morning.

As he lifted her up out of the water though, he felt his platinum wedding ring of 7 years slip off his finger – and vanish.

Rings sink almost instantly in mobile sands, and efforts to locate it were fruitless.

This afternoon, Michael posted on the local Taupo Bay social media group asking people to be on the lookout for it.

Word filtered through to me, and knowing the ring would already be under the sand, I got in contact with Michael.
The tide was approaching full, and a similar tide state to when Michael lost his ring, so I dropped everything and headed up – Worst case, I could work the last of the rising tide, and then follow it back down again into the night if necessary.
On arrival, I asked Michael to mark a line down the beach as his best guess as to the alignment the ring might be on, « We’ll see how good you are », I said with a grin.This would be my reference for the grid extending out either side.With the tide rising, I started in the water and worked my way ashore.
Aside from a few ‘teasers’, likely deep fishing sinkers or pulltabs off drink cans, the beach was pleasantly clear of trash.

I emerged out of the shallows and continued the grid into the edge of the waters reach.
As I passed Michaels line in the sand, I got a nice low ‘double-hit’ of a shallow target.
I dug my hand in, and from about 2 inches down, emerged the ring – Smack in the middle of Michaels line!

I’ve often had rings up to 30-40metres, or more, away from the « It’s Here » mark, but never actually exactly on the line. Definitely one for the books.

With the ring handed back, a handshake and a few photos, I was on my way back home.

And Michael was out of the ‘doghouse’🙂

Lost Wedding Ring Found in Surf Two Days Later

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Two days ago, Scott had been fishing from a remote beach in Doubtless bay. While packing up, he noticed he had lost his white gold wedding ring during the day.

Thinking he had lost the ring while gutting and cleaning the catch in the water, he spent some time looking for it. With light failing and the propensity for rings to sink quickly in mobile sands, he was unable to locate his lost ring.

Fortunately, he had the presence of mind to tie a small orange fishing float to some grass at the edge of the dunes…and contacting an experienced Ringfinder as soon as possible meant that the chances of recovering it were as good as they get.
So, a little after 4am this morning, I pulled out of the driveway and started the 2hr drive north to meet Scott at 6.

Given the remote location, it was likely we would only get one shot at this and I wanted to maximise the lower half of the tide in case it became a protracted search.
Big thanks do have to go to Scott for making the effort to meet me on site at ‘daft o clock’, it is so invaluable having the ring owner present at searches to discuss the circumstances of loss.

Our little convoy bounced up the rough road up onto “Puwheke” – not an insignificant hill on the Karikari peninsula, and a prominant landmark visible from many kilometres in all directions.
Once parked up, Scott pointed far into the distance…distance being the key word! The route we would have to take around the hill and down to the beach looked like one of those that somehow always feels like it’s uphill in both directions with gorse, steep slopes and wet, slippery rank grass growth.

The beach itself was very pleasant though, the sort of sand you see on deserted tropical islands – nice flat hardpacked white quartz sand (The quartz crystals actually ‘squeak’ with the friction if you scuff your foot in the dry sand).

One and a half kilometres from the cars, we arrived at where he had lost his ring. A small dayglo fishing float glowing orange in the grass.
While I got setup, Scott marked out some boundaries and I made a start in the dry fluffy sand. At least, in the middle of nowhere there was no trash or background chatter to mask any signals. A rare luxury with recoveries.

The first search line went straight down the beach and out into the shallows. Unsure how long I’d be searching, I was trying to stay dry at this stage of the exercise, the ocean waters not yet warmed from summer.
I turned and started the return line back to the beach. Three paces – and I got a clean tone, the sound was either that of a deep lead fishing weight, or a relatively shallow gold ring. I knew which it would be! Time to dig.

The white sand easily flowed out of the scoop, leaving Scotts ring nestled in the corner.

The ring safely back on Scott’s finger, we started the long walk back to the cars.

Uphill all the way…

Ring lost swimming at Taupo Bay. Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

I occasionally get calls from people that I have previously recovered lost rings for, usually along the lines of, « I’ve done it again… », or, « A friend/neighbour has lost their… »
Krista phoned me to say that a guest had been swimming at Taupo Bay and had lost his Gucci ring in almost exactly the same spot that I had recovered her own treasured heirloom ring at the start of this year.

It was late afternoon and the light would soon be fading, however the tide was falling so I had to try and catch the first low tide that night.
I arrived at Taupo Bay and was relieved to see that this popular surf beach had virtually no break today – I knew the area of loss would be exposed at low tide, however that wouldn’t be until about 10pm so I waded out and made a start.
The water hadn’t warmed to summer temperatures yet, but was definitely warm enough that the wetsuit wasn’t needed. A very strong cross current was feeding a rip nearby and sand was being visibly moved along the beach and at times sucked from under my feet. One of the reasons that water recoveries have to be carried out as soon as possible.

As I worked the search patterns Hayden, the `lossee`, and Krista settled in to watch the worlds most boring spectator sport.
The high probability area yielded nothing and as both tide and night fell, I started to expand the search out to 20m…30m… back across the area they had been swimming.
Several hours and multiple overlapping grid patterns later, I was convinced it wasn’t where it was supposed to be (they almost never are).
The others had long since left me to it so I texted to advise a no-find… So far.

On the drive home, I replayed the search over and over in my mind. Re-analysing the circumstances of loss against the fact that the ring was not located despite a near 100% probability of detection over the entire swimming area.
Hayden said he had been sweeping his hand through the water, and he had felt it come off.
The ring had to have been airborne, unseen by Hayden – hidden among the water spray/droplets.
Stated to be ‘silver’, I have found that this can mean it just looks silver and can be anything from platinum, white gold, or titanium. All with very different densities and responses. As an example, if you had two rings in your hand, white gold and titanium, and threw them, the gold would travel much, much further than the titanium due to the greater mass.

How far would a ring go? The original search area had discounted the lighter titanium.

Back on the road early next morning for the hour drive to Taupo Bay again in order to catch the next tide. When I don’t find a ring it becomes a personal challenge. It’s partially this tenacity which enables me to find rings which others have tried for and given up, or missed, due to inexperience or unsuitable detectors.

I had the luxury of daylight and a large tide window this time.

Some time was spent painstakingly eliminating several dozen unlikely but must-be-confirmed signals in amongst a buried jumble of fragments of reinforced concrete and other ‘hot’ rocks with high metal content under the sand. All metal targets were proven to be trash.
Then I moved onto a wider area search based on a couple of underarm throws of my test rings – in the opposite direction to where they had been swimming.
30 minutes later I got a very clear silver tone – The scoop went in, and from 30cm under the sand on the edge of yesterdays rip current emerged Hayden’s lost sterling silver ring.

I love sending texts that simply say, « FOUND! » – They’re usually followed immediately after by my phone ringing with an excited and unbelieving voice at the other end 🙂


Gold Ring Found in Doubtless Bay Chicken Coop

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

I was recommended to Kim and Kevin after Kevin had lost his Great Grandfathers ring, passed down to the eldest son through the generations. His father sadly passed away recently and Kevin became the new custodian.  Understandably, the ring carries a huge sentimental attachment.
Kevin wasn’t sure where, or when, he had lost it.
He just knew that it wasn’t beside the sink after he’d finished washing his hands after working in the garden that morning.
He had a few sleepless nights before the day of the search!

On site, I retraced Kevins activities. I made note of each area of interest and ranked them as to the likelihood of holding the ring as we wandered around the property.
There were three probable areas, but I had brought the remote camera with me, just in case it got all forensic with nooks and crannies (Or « Crooks and Nannies » as I like to call them).

First up was the garden where he had been planting seedlings and weeding. Lots of wisps of wire and assorted metal with the big coil, I switched to the small handheld coil.
This was better in among the random signals, but slow going to ensure every coil sweep was overlapped to avoid missing a single square inch.

Then I headed down to the chicken run where he had spread some hay out.
Several problems were encountered in here; The abundance of metal chicken mesh in close quarters, the fact that every time I stopped to investigate a target under the hay at least one chicken adopted me as a fancy perch with foot-warming function… and, let’s just say I was glad I was wearing disposable gloves as well!

Despite the assistance in removing various invertebrates, the chickens and I did not locate the ring in the run.Spotting fresh straw had also been placed in the nest boxes, I moved outside – thankful to be vertical and chicken-free.
I worked my way through each of the nest boxes, when my fingers closed on a heavy, round ring buried under the sawdust.

I left it under the watchful gaze of the chooks, while I took my gear back to the car then called out to Kevin.
« I’ve got something of yours! »,  and led him and his wife to the chicken run.

I opened up the nest box and Kevin reached in to retrieve the ring.

It remains a mystery how and why it came off here, as it is a tight fit on his finger and the nest box was not a ‘likely’ area.
We could only assume that the strings when carrying the bales had worked it down his finger without him noticing – only to drop off as he fluffed up the sawdust.

Regardless, Kevin had now been reunited with his Great Grandfathers ring.

Job done.

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).

Keyfob Missing in Long Grass for Two Days at Doubtless Bay, Found.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
It’s not always about reuniting a sentimental piece, sometimes it just avoids an unnecessary hassle and expense of replacement 🙂
Two days ago Gayle was showing some friends around the property.
In their travels she took her jacket off and tied it around her waist, the car fob safely inside the pocket…
When they returned to the house, Gayle realised the key fob was no longer in the jacket. Nor was it in the car, or to be seen on the nicely mown lawn – which meant it was somewhere along their route across the rough grass paddock, or one of several possible routes up and around a headland.
After retracing their steps with no luck, Gayle gave me a call.
I headed straight up as soon as I left work, and Gayle braved the rain to show me the route she thought they had walked.
A quick cursory sweep along the probable route yielded nothing other than an old beer can, tent peg and hinge spring, so I started the comprehensive search beginning at the area of highest probability.
Five minutes later, the detector gave a solid « this should be what you’re looking for » signal and I parted the grass to reveal the wayward keys.
Sitting end on, and tucked into the kikuyu thatch it would have been very difficult to spot by eye.
I held the keys up and Gayles face broke into a smile.