Felipe and his new wife Francesca were on their honeymoon on the Gold Coast, Australia all the way from Spain.
Whilst swimming in a sandy lagoon at their hotel Felipe jokingly shook his hand to show her his wedding ring was loose due to losing weight since the wedding. Now on a wet finger, the ring also wanted to show off by making a dash for freedom. Almost in slow motion, Felipe saw the handcrafted gold ring slide off his finger and sink into the water below.
For hours they tried to find it in the sand, even getting the hotel pool staff to have a look. Running their fingers endlessly through the soft white sand sadly produced nothing. In to the night, they continued with hotel patrons also lending a hand when they could, still to no avail.
THE CAVALRY ARRIVES
Enter Justin Millman from Lost Treasures Australia who has operated a recovery service for lost precious items since 2009.
I received a frantic call late that night and told Felipe I’d be down first thing in the morning. I knew steel-reinforced concrete pools were a nightmare for metal detectors. Long rods of steel (reo) permeat throughout the cement as reinforcement.
As I arrived I saw Francesca searching in the water, they had been looking since first light. I tested her wedding ring with my machine, beautiful 18ct white gold. I initially tried my underwater machine and found that it picked up the steel from well below the sand. I thought I would then try my water-proof handheld pinpointer as its range was small and hopefully would not pick up the pesky steel reinforcing.
I started working a 75mm (3 inch) grid pattern within the target zone. It worked well until the sand became too shallow and steel rods gave false signals. Back to my main machine, dropping its sensitivity and altering a few other settings I tested it on her ring again and again. Finally I got the settings just right so I could finally hear the specific tonal response from her ring amongst all the muddled squeaks.
CROWDS GATHER AS HOPE FADES
By this time, a crowd had gathered and watched from the shore. Everybody was aware of what had happened and were praying for a happy ending for the young couple.
HUGS ALL ROUND
I had covered a lot of the sand, trying to hear the exact matching tone from Francesca’s ring. After a lot of false hope, I was starting to worry that the ring just wasn’t to be recovered, so I widened my search. As time went on, cold and fatigue started creeping in when all of a sudden a perfect tone amongst a noisy choir rung out.
Watch the video below to see the recovery and the wonderful reaction when Felipe and Francesca finally get their ring back!