Got a message from Geoffrey that he’d lost his wedding ring while swimming at Kai Iwi lakes, near Dargaville, in the north of New Zealand. While this was out of my regular area, there was definite urgency as the lakes are heavily patrolled by holidaying metal detectorists at this time of year. So coffee in hand, I lurched out the door the following morning at 4:30am for the two and a bit hour drive across to the other coast to meet them when the gates opened at 7.
Kai Iwi lakes are real gems, classified as perched dune lakes, these unique features have warm, gin clear water with no organic tint on a white silica sand base, definitely one of the more pleasant places to hunt. Certainly worth a visit if in the North of New Zealand.
Geoffrey, really nice chap, had called in a sick day for work and was settling in for a long stressful day of waiting. We discussed how it had been lost – that old, old story of sunblock and cold water, along with his movements in and out of the water. He waded out with me so I could get him to visually line up some reference marks he remembered at the time of loss.
Based on his recollection of « looking at that yellow boat », and « That hill over there » coupled with « I was about this deep…About here »…I dropped the PLS (Point Last Seen) marker float.
Originally I had planned in my head to use the spiral search pattern, although went with a linear search as the water was so clear I could save the hassle of an extra line and see the scoop drag marks on the bottom.
Switching on, I started the first line running out to deeper water, before turning and coming back in towards the beach, this alignment allowed me to use some very easy markers both on land and out in the lake to ensure a good coverage. I had just turned and started the second run when I heard what I wanted.
I gently shaved the surface of the sand off with the scoop and as I lifted it I could hear the ring bouncing around in there. I got Geoffreys attention, then held the scoop up with a big smile and gave it a jiggle. His eyes lit up in disbelief when he heard the rattle.
I held the ring out to him as he waded over, his grin getting progressively bigger and the « No Way! » comments getting louder as he got closer, I suggested there was maybe still time for him to get to work after all 🙂