Dirt fishing

Metal Detecting Enthusiast

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Ridley Creek State Park Posy Ring

What at first appeared to be just another annoying telemarketer call, actually turned out to be a lady in distress. Lady Alexia was the unfortunate soul who had lost a ring while attending a reenactment at the Ridley Creek State Park Colonial Plantation the weekend prior. Alexia had worn one of her favorite rings and to her dismay, had lost it on the last day while helping to pack the group’s camp site.

After she described the colvilarea and her confidence that it was lost there, I knew that the odds were in our favor for a recovery. We made an arrangement to meet that coming Saturday, as the sooner we look for it the better… plus I could tell that she was very anxious to find her ring. To my surprise, Alexia lived in Manhattan and would have to take off a day from work, in order to make this journey. She also asked if I could pick her up from the local train station, I obliged and was impressed with the trust she had in strangers.

Prior to my search, Alexia contacted the Park and secured permission for me to search the area with a metal detector. Since this is a historical site, I made sure to enforce the fact that I would not be digging any holes during my search. Since the ring was lost very recently, it would be a surface recovery and no need for any penetrations. The State Park management granted us permission, with the understanding that if any other items/artifact were found during my search that I would give them to the Park.

I met Alexia at the local train station that Saturday around noon. The weather had taken a turn for the worse; it reminded me of an Islay scotch. It was overcast, with patches of light rain, cooler and windy! I could smell the damp peat and taste the salty sea. Ok, maybe the peat and the salt was the Talisker still lingering on my palate, but it was a typical Scottish day (from what I hear).  🙂  As we drove to the park I learned that Alexia is in the jewelry business, she is a gemologist. The lost ring was part of her jewelry collection; it was a 15th century English posy ring with the inscription “NUL AUTRE” on the inside. It was originally found by a metal detectorist in England and then sold under the Treasure Act of 1996.

When we arrived at the field, I recognized that the area was large than estimated. I would take me the rest of the day to search, but fortunately, it was all low grass, so that was a pleasure to work with. We had a brief chat about what occurred in the different parts of the field and then I was ready to start the search.

I use little orange flags to mark my search grid and spots of interest, this way I make sure that there are no overlaps or missed spots and I can come back later to investigate the “good hits.” I did have two great sounding hits, with a high likelihood of them being older silver coins; it was so hard not to check them. Yet since they were a few inches down, I could not dig a plug, a promise is a promise… but it was so tempting.

I was a few hours into my search and hope was fading fast. I had searched the most probably areas with two more smaller spots to check, the archery area and where Alexia had dropped some swords. The archery area search did not produce anything. With failure on my mind, I told her that I could come back with a friend to try one more time the following week. I was really impressed with her attitude, as she said that it is ok, because she tried her best to find her ring. This made me feel better, because I gave it my best also.

The last small 10′ x 10′ area is where Alexia first noticed that her ring was missing. She said that she had alexia-posy-ringput down some swords by the vehicles when – to her horror – her prized possession was missing. And at this very spot I had a clear hit, it was perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. As I squatted down and moved the grass to the side I saw the yellowish glint of gold that every treasure hunter dreams of. I immediately knew by the beautiful diagonal design that this was Alexia’s. I was so happy, that I couldn’t contain myself and had to exclaim our find! I was amazed at the beauty and sheer weight of this ring – it is an exquisite piece of jewelry! This is definitely the nicest and most valuable – monetarily speaking – ring that I had found so far.

She was VERY happy – it made my day. On the alexiaway back to the car, she made the comment that the ring, which was originally found by a metal detectorist in England, was found again by a metal detectorist.

Not only did Alexia give a very generous reward, but she also bought lunch as we waited at the local pub for her train to arrive. The reward came in handy, because on that day I had to replace my washing machine.

 

Wedding ring recovered in Swatara Creek near Hummelstown, PA!

I was eating lunch at work when I received a call from a man who had lost his wedding ring while he was  bait fishing in the Swatara Creek near Hummelstown, Pa. Immediately two things came to mind, the fact that it was a three hour round trip and that the ring was lost in a cold creek in October! Brrr!!!! I mentioned to him that the RingFinders have folks in his immediate vicinity, to which he responded that the original RingFinder he contacted did not want to get wet.

Ok, so I did have some reservations about going into the cold water, for a near impossible task, but what the heck – I have a job to do and this man needed my assistance. Besides, treasure hunters go to where the treasure is – isn’t that right Mr. Beau Ouimette?

Another reason I decided to give this a shot was the fact that Eric wrote up very detailed responses in his emails to every question I had. He was very thorough, which was impressive, so that helped out a lot. He obviously really wanted to recover the ring; he was actually the other half of the recovery team.

A few days later we had a break in the cold weather, so I grabbed my snorkeling mask and detector and off I went. We communicated via texts, as he came from northern Jersey and I came up from Philly; we met right on time near the Swatara Creek by Hummelstown, PA with about three to four hours of daylight remaining.

I threw on my new waders and we walked down to the creek. It was about as deep as I had expected from his description, but much faster. Being an avid fly fisherman, I immediately eyed up the rapids … no mayflies would be hatching today.  🙂 To my surprise, Eric walked right into the creek with me, leading the charge in a T-shirt, shorts and some water shoes! I knew that he was cold, but he was on a mission and he didn’t complain once. Eric was right in there with me, I actually needed him to help guide me and keep me in my “lanes.” This was important, so that I would not miss spots or go over the same areas twice.

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Searching the creek was difficult, there was so much junk in there, I really had to try and filter out all thefalse hits. My detector also went off every time I hit a rock … very frustrating. Then when I had a viable signal, I had to dip my head under the water in hopes of locating it with my Garrett Carrot. The water was moving so fast that it would often fill my mask, waders and kick any objects I touched down stream a few feet. I also had to detect with the current, I just could not swing my detector going against the fast flowing water.

Eric did a great job in guiding me, I was thankful that he was there and that he did such a great job working with me. About two hours or so into our search his parents showed up and we took a short break. I could tell that Eric was cold and could use a some time out of the cold water to warm up. He then told me that he came down a few times to search for the ring himself, but it was just too difficult.

After our break I saw that we were running out of daylight quickly and it would soon be too dark to continue the search. I had mentioned to Eric that a friend of mine, aka the Otter, really enjoys water detecting and that we might have to come back next summer to give it another shot …I had kinda lost hope in recovering the ring at this point. Yet Eric’s determination, standing in that cold water doing all he could, gave me inspiration to press on and at least finish our current search area. There was even more to check out further upstream, but we just didn’t have enough time today.

One more lane in the center of the stream would complete the grid and I was going to call it a day, this search was coming to an end. I was getting my apology for failing him ready, as he was still guiding me, using his body as a marker. We were in the middle of the creek in deeper faster water, I was about ten feet from Eric, ready to call it a day – thinking of my warm dinner – when my detector gave me a solid ping, which could be a white gold ring … or a bottle cap. This would be my last hope, my last dip into the cold water. I marked the spot with my detector, went down on my knees and tried to locate it with the pin pointer. I felt the pin pointer’s vibration, so I pulled down my mask and took a dunk in efforts to locate the metal object. And at that moment, I had visions of Sméagol finding his “precious” in the dark cave. As I looked past the bubbles from the fast flowing water, the creek bed was already a dark grey in the fading light – there it was! The silver circle – radiating – reflecting the last light of the day. I felt like I was watching a movie, like I was in a movie. I slowly reached out with my hand, being very careful not to disturb this round object, as the strong current might toss it a few feet downstream … then the moment I closed my fingers around it – I saw that it was a beautiful silver ring – it had to be Eric’s.

Eric ringWhen I came up out of the water and held up the ring, Eric’s expression said it all – it was his! He was speechless as I handed the ring to him and then he became very excited screaming in jubilation as he was reunited with his lost wedding band. He was the most animated customer I have ever had; I was pretty happy myself. I still was in disbelief that I had actually found it under near impossible conditions. This recurring theme of not giving up and hitting my target near the very end of my search is truly inspiring. Never give up!

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Eric and his parents texted a picture of him and the ring to his wife while we were still all wet. My excitement did not end there however. Eric and I went to the local ATM, as he needed some cash for the reward. I was flabbergasted at his VERY generous gift, because for me it really is not about the money. The smiles are a great reward themselves, I am glad to provide a successful service to those in need. Eric insisted that I take all of the money, so reluctantly I did … ok yes, the money is very nice also, it certainly helped out with the bills.  🙂

This has been my most difficult search and also my greatest recovery! I was so pumped up on the ride home that I missed my turn and took the long way home. I shall always remember this adventure and am thankful for Eric’s help and most generous reward.

Wedding Ring Found in Oxford/Nottingham.

Ed from Nottingham emailed me about how he had lost his tungsten wedding ring while working in the yard cleaning up some leaves last autumn. He was pretty sure where he had lost it, so I had a good feeling about this search.

When I arrived on this drizzly morning, Ed was out working in the yard. He was busy processing some nice oak trees in the backyard, he had a couple of nice logs.  After a quick chat about firewood he showed me the area where he thought that he had lost his wedding ring. Ed told me that it is either at the dump site or somewhere on a path around his yard. The first area of interest was a pile of leaves – and there were a lot of them! Ed was working there about 3 months ago when he noticed that his ring was missing. He was pretty sure that it was in a ten foot area, where he was dumping leaves, so that’s where I got started.

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My first pass and my detector gave me my first plausible signal. I tried to turn on my Garrett Pro Pointer to pin-point the item, but the unit was dead. Hmm… I had just replaced the batteries, but whatever, I pulled out a fresh 9V from my bag and was ready to continue. Yet to my disappointment, even with the new battery, the pointer still showed no signs of life. I was a little bummed that my pro pointer was inoperative, luckily I had a backup – the Garrett Carrot, so I continued on. I found that my first  hit was just a wad of molten metal.

ed-and-ringTo my surprise there was a lot of junk in the pile of leaves and in the ground surrounding it, so I was glad that I had put on my smaller coil (5×8) that morning. Yet my hopes slowly started dwindling  away, as I knew this pile of leaves was my only hope, as the path around his yard was just too large for me to cover. So he either lost it here or it was lost, since the path was just too much area for me to cover.

I was working the pile of leaves, when I hit a strong signal swinging the detector vertically up the side of this compost pile. I put the detector down and hit the area with the carrot pin-pointer and there, among the dirt I saw some roundness … dark gray roundness Ed’s missing tungsten wedding ring.

Ed was happy, I think that he almost gave up hope. I was also very pleased, especially since it was such a speedy recovery, I wish they all went like this. Ed and I chatted a bit afterwards and he asked me if I liked beer. A German not liking beer?!? Well, to my pleasant surprise, Ed had a couple of home-brews he gave me to take along. To date I only tried the Cold Hop from Boulder Brewing and I liked it – three more to go!  🙂

Ed also showed me the garage he built himself, he did a great job. A large two car garage with a wood shop on the second floor – pretty awesome! Yes, I wish I had one.

UPDATE: It turned out that the little power switch on Garrett my pin-pointer came apart.

15 years gone – wedding ring found at Brandywine!

A friend of mine had given me permission to search on his parent’s property along the Brandywine – the area holds great potential for Revolutionary War relics and is a chance of a lifetime for a detectorist as far as I am concerned. I just want to find a round ball! 🙂

It just happens that this area is also the site of an old campground his family sas been using for the past 30 some years, I’ve actually visited there during one of the festivities many years ago. Well, Brian mentioned to me that one of his friends, Janna, had lost her wedding ring there over some fifteen years ago during a weekend of camping – this of course sparked my interest.

When I arrived there on my first hunt, I wanted to search for the ring first – since hey, how cool would it be to find that ring and return it as a favor for a favor! Brian gave me the rough layout of where Janna’s tent was set up and the rough layout of the campground. I set up my quadrants and started searching.

After a few hours, all I had found, along with a few modern coins, were bottle caps and what might have been an old horse bridal ring. Since this area is on a flood plane, all the bottle caps were down at about three inches, that’s pretty deep for modern items. My hopes for finding old revolutionary war round balls diminished, as they would be too deep for my detector to locate … at least in this area. If items from thirty years ago were down around three inches, I could only imagine how deep items from two hundred and fifty years ago would be. 🙁

After a few hours I covered most of the camping area when Brian was about to call it a day and rang the lunch bell; ready to roll up to house for beer and brats – plus the Michigan game was starting soon. I was a little disappointed as I really wanted to find that ring for him.

I told him that I just wanted to do one more lane and then I’d call it quits. I was justjanna-ring finishing my lane, with about ten feet to go, when I had a rough, yet viable signal. I thought, “Hey, I might as well dig it.” The signal was about three inches down, I neatly cut a plug and as I lifted it, down in the hole I saw the gleam of gold baby! That deep yellow glow just stood out among the surrounding rich brownish-black soil. At first I couldn’t believe it, but there she was, still as shiny as if it was just lost yesterday. It was a thin gold ring, with small diamonds. The engraving of initials and year left no doubt as to who the owner was.

I was elated and Brian couldn’t believe that I had found Janna’s ring after it had been lost for over fifteen years. He voiced his disbelieve at the recovery for the rest of the afternoon. It made me happy and I was glad to provide a service for his gracious offer to allow me to detect his property.

BrainAs we left the campground area for a well deserved lunch, Brian mentioned that he had also lost HIS wedding ring in the same area while building a campfire. The campfire was just over from where I conducted my first quadrant search! So when I return again, I will try to find his lost wedding ring – how cool would it be to find both! 😉

This has not been the first time where persistence has paid off. Not giving up and searching just one more area was again rewarded with success! I cannot describe the feeling of finding what was lost forever, I feel as happy as the reunited owners.

The next weekend Brian drove down to Baltimore to return the ring to its rightful owner. I wish I could have been there to witness the surprise, as Janna had no idea that her lost ring had been found. The owner’s smile really is the best reward.Janna

Wedding Ring found in West Chester, PA!

Meg contacted me via email and explained that her husband had lost his wedding ring some time on their 28th wedding anniversary. They both thought that it might have been lost shopping at a store parking lot. They did a search and also came back early in the morning when the lot was empty. I knew that the chances of a recovery in a parking lot – with so much foot traffic – are extremely low. During the email exchanges, there was a point where Meg was not sure if it was worth the bother to have me look, but I really wanted to give it a shot.

photo2editWe made arrangements and I met them the next day after my day job. Dan showed me around the yard and mentioned where he had worked setting up for the outdoor gathering. As we walked around the backyard, the search area proceeded to get larger and larger, I knew in the back of my mind that I will have to come back to finish the search, as it was going to be dark in two hours.

Dan also explained that he ALWAYS wears this ring. He mentioned that he might have taken it off a total of 3 minutes in the past 28 years. He also stated that it was always a little loose and that he had lost some weight recently. That, along with the cooler weather, is a recipe for a call to the ring finders.  🙂

I started my grid pattern closest to the house and hit the area where I thought Dan was working the most and had the most foot traffic. Near the end of my first lane Dan had stacked was a small pile of firewood for their fire pit. I stepped over the logs and was in a hurry to finish my lane and start a new one back, when something made me stop and take a step back and re-scan the area I hurried over. And I again moved on in a hurry, but heard a very faint, yet good tone. I went back and found my signal … it was nothing special, but I checked it with my pro pointer anyways and low and behold, wedged underneath a patch of grass was a gold ring. I was in total disbelief and a little shocked at the quick recovery.

I really had low expectations for this search; I was photo3editmentally prepared for hours of searching and a return trip the following day. And then BAM – success! I was so happy to see Meg and Dan happy, as they might have also written it off as lost in the back of their minds. I think that Meg was as surprised at the find as I was, as she ran out in jubilation and gave me a big hug! It really is moments like these that are the true rewards for me as a member of the Ring Finders Network! Thanks for the generous reward Meg and Dan. (and get that ring resized)

Wedding Ring found in Glenn Mills, PA!

Received an email from Tracey requesting my services. Her husband had lost his ring playing ball in the backyard; as much as they searched, they could not find it. I made plans to look for it on Saturday, but rains kept me away until Sunday morning.

When I arrived Robert and his enthusiastic dog met me at the front door. After a quick chat, he showed me RM-ringwhere he had lost his ring. Robert was pitching a rugby ball around with his kids, when he felt the ring fly off, unfortunately he did not see which direction it went.

After searching the most obvious area, I expanded my grid pattern to include the area behind where Robert was standing. My second search lane produced a good hit – and there it was! Hidden under the long grass I saw the gold and diamonds sparkle as the sunlight hit it.

It was a nice ring, Tracey and Robert were RMhappy to have it back … now time for breakfast!

 

Wedding Ring found in Downingtown, PA

While at work, I received a call from Neil. He asked if I was still in the business of locating rings and explained that he had lost his gold wedding ring while mowing the lawn the day before. I told him that I would be out that evening or the next day. Luckily I was able to make it out to his home that evening after work.

When I arrived, Neil and I talked and he explained that he lost his ring in the front yard somewhere, either dumping the lawn clippings or while mowing. He suggested that we look where he had thrown the clippings near the side of his home by the brushes. I spent about 15 minutes looking, there with no luck and a lot of interference from the home.

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I then spent the next hour and a half in the front yard searching using the grid pattern. The top of the yard had electrical and TV wires, so my detector did not like that. 🙂  As I was finishing the front yard, Neil came out and suggested we try one more small area and then declare it lost, since it was getting dark. Since he lived close to my home, I offered to come out the next day to search the front yard again, trying the other grid pattern (north-south to east-west)  at no charge.

As the time passed, I completed one complete sweep of the front yard. it was getting dark and I had no luck … it was past dinner time and getting late. Stubborn as I am, I wanted to hit the most likely place again, where Neil was throwing the grass clippings. I set the notch disc to just the gold ring range ~ 45-75 sensitivity very low and did one final sweep. Covering the last two feet of the garden area, on the very edge of my swing, I hit a good tone deep under the brush. It was not near the grass clippings and a little far under the brush, so I had low expectations, but as I was about the hit the area with my pro pointer – I saw that golden glimmer in the fading daylight! There it was, ring found!

Neil waIMG_1093-webs surprised and happy that I had found the ring, I think he almost gave up hope. I was just happy to reunite Neil with his ring, as it was older and had sentimental value.

This was the third time that I had found rings on my final sweep –  perseverance paid off – now time for dinner!

Engagement Ring found in Downingtown!

Saturday morning, as I was sitting the barber’s chair, I received a call from a distraught Ryan. Ryan and his fiancé had lost their engagement ring somewhere near their yard. Apparently, just as they were parking their car the night before, a difference of opinion caused the ring to exit their vehicle at a high rate of speed. They looked everywhere together in the high grass; Ryan even tried using his metal detector … to no avail. I told Ryan that since we are certain that the ring is in the area, we have a high chance of recovery and that I will be there first thing in the morning.

 

When I arrived the next day, Ryan was happy to see me and I was anxious to find that ring! After getting more details I started out in the area where we thought the ring would be; I used Chris Turner’s sample ring with the flagging tape trick.  😉  My first sweep of this larger area produced no ring, just bottle caps and other junk.

 

After about 20 minutes of searching and expanding my area a light rain had started to fall, determined to reunite Ryan and his fiancé with their ring I pushed on. I had a brief flashback of my previous recovery, where I found the ring just as the rain was starting to fall.

 

Ryan had mentionedDSC04019 that it might have fallen out as he exited his vehicle that night. (the ring did ricochet off the door) So I started at the top of the patch of grass next to his vehicle and just near the end I heard a clear, loud sound – my reading indicated that it was very shallow. Just as I was sticking my pro-pointer into the grass to locate the item, I saw a silver sparkle. There it was!

 

I was happy and excited to tell them the good news. Yet before sharing in the jubilation, I made my way to the car to put the detector away and close my truck since it was raining. At that moment I saw Ryan come out of the house to meet me, he looked a little disappointed as if he thought that I had given up because of the rain. I showed him the ring and he had a smile from ear to ear! His fiancé came out of the house and there were hugs all around.

 

We were all so happy to have found the ring; they were very thankful, relieved and gracious with their reward. What a great couple and I wish them well.

 

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Wedding Ring found in Ridley!

Joe lost his silver wedding ring over three years ago while gardening in his yard. Joe gave me the chance to look for his ring this fall, after the garden had died down. On a cold autumn afternoon, Joe pointed me to two areas where he thought that he might have lost his ring. Since the garden had not been tilled or worked over, I put on my small coil and got ready for that high silver tone from my AT Pro. Well, it did not come, I had a few hits, but they were junk, except one clad penny.

I then tested a similar ring Joe had given me and to my surprise it rang low, it did not ring as a silver ring should. We figured out it had to be white gold. I went back over the two garden plots but still no cigar. Joe came out a little while later and we chatted, I apologized for striking out and he invited me in for a drink. He didn’t have high hopes, as it was “like looking for a needle in a haystack.”I wanted to do one more pass before giving up and succumbing to the bitter cold.

On my final pass I hit a plausible signal in the middle of the garden patch, I dug and at about four inches I saw a silver shine – the ring! Mission accomplished, now for that drink.

Joe was happy and surprised to have his ring back after losing it over three years ago. He mentioned that his wife would be even happier once she sees it again.

 

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Wedding ring found in Pottstown!

DSC03986I received a call from a distraught Linda on New Year’s Day. Her husband had lost his wedding ring either throwing junk out over his deck or during a long walk the newlyweds took that day. They tried to retrace their steps along the trail along the golf course, but could not locate the ring. Linda had a feeling her husband might have lost it working on the deck, as they demolished a table and threw pieces of it into their backyard. She also mentioned that he was taking his gloves on and off while working by the deck.

The lovely couple was just married last summer and the wedding ring was custom made from dental gold and then coated in white gold. Linda was really worried when they could not find it and that’s when she found me on ringfinders.com.

I had planned to meet Linda and look for the ring a few days later when they were both home. Unfortunately because of a snow storm I had to cancel my trip up north that weekend; I rescheduled for the following weekend. Since the location of my search was in their backyard, we did not worry about anyone else stumbling upon the ring and a few days would give way to nicer conditions. The following weekend promised heavy rains, yet a look on the radar indicated a two hour window of light rain, so I called Linda and told her I was coming.

Once I arrived at Linda’s residence, she showed me the place she thinks her husband had lost the ring. She also gave me some details as to the activities he performed the day the wedding ring was lost. My plan was to start with the classic grid pattern on the ivy covered slope right behind the deck, right where they were throwing the junk. I adjusted my AT Pro’s settings and started my search. I was surprised at the junk in the yard and my first plausible hit turned out to be a junk latch under the ivy. My second hit, a few feet further, was also in the pull tab range, but to my amazement my pinpointed ended up on a silver colored ring!

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I was very excited, as this was my fastest recovery to date– under a minute!!! I showed Linda right away and she called her husband. When he first looked at it, he had a puzzled look on his face, my excitement dropped as I thought that I had found another ring that had been lost. Yet he confirmed that this was it! I also saw how loose the ring was on his finger; he will get it resized shortly.

Linda and her husband were both surprised at the speedy recovery, very happy to have their ring back and generous with their reward. I was glad that I could reunite them with their ring and to see their smiling faces. They are now part of the “Book of Smiles.”

I was also glad that my search did not take any longer, because as I soon as I sat down in my car to head back home, the heavy rain began!

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