On August 4th 2010 I answered an ad on Craig’s List for a missing ring in the surf at Stone Harbor. The ring was a family heir loom. dating back over 100 years. We exchanged a few emails and I said I would give it a try.
I arrived at the beach at 5:30 am the next morning. The tide was high and the water had dropped at least 10 degrees. Good thing I wore my wetsuit.
I started at the life guard stands working a grid pattern to the north. There were very few signals. about 50 feet out there was a drop off and moguls of sand. I was getting a bad feeling about not finding this one.
There was another gentleman hunting the dry & wet sand. He came over to me and told me about the missing ring. I told him I saw the ad on Craig’s List. He had spoken to the guys wife and got a slightly different story. This widened the search area. Not good. He said he searched last night and was trying again this morning. This explains the lack of signals. He explained he had to leave soon but would try again in the evening.
It was getting late, and people were arriving at the beach. It was almost 9 am and the life guards were bringing out their boats. I was ready to give up. I was almost 2 blocks away from my starting point and area the guy Tim said he lost the ring. I got a nice deep tone and was praying to Davey Jones that this was the ring. It was, a very large mans gold ring. Wahoooo!!! I put it in my pouch and left the beach.
When I got back to the beach house, I sent Tim an email saying I found the ring. The only this was the date on the inside of the ring was different than what he posted. Boy this could get Tim in big trouble.
We played phone tag for most of the day. When we did speak we arranged to meet in the evening so the ring could be reunited with its owner. Tim and his wife arrived around 7:30 pm. They are a very nice couple from Baltimore. We took some pictures and Tim gave me a very nice reward. He was so happy to have the ring back that his great grandfather, grandfather and father have worn. He will not be wearing it in the water anymore!!
Below is a note from Tim:
Dear Dave, August 7, 2010
You are truly amazing!!! Here’s my story for any of you naysayers out there………
I had been swimming in the late afternoon with my nephews in the ocean off of 103rd Street in Stone Harbor N.J.. It wasn’t until that evening when I looked down at my hand before dinner that I noticed my wedding ring was gone!!!! It wasn’t just my wedding ring, mind you, it was also an heirloom that had been in my family for over a hundred years. Originally, it was a signet ring that had been my great-grandfather’s, my grandfather’s, and my father’s. All of them had been named Lawrence P. Naylor (LPN Sr., Jr., and the III). When I was married I decided to have it double as my wedding ring because I didn’t want to wear two rings. My wife and I had our initials and our wedding date engraved on the inside. We had just had our twentieth anniversary last fall.
Well, I was despondent to say the least. I knew it had fallen off in the water. Just for the record, I had always worn it in the ocean, but the water had been unusually cold and I recently lost a little weight so I assumed it slipped off while I was rough-housing with the kids. At any rate, it was in the surf, probably fifty or more feet out, and I was sure it was gone for good. We did go to the beach that evening before dark, but the water wasn’t clear beyond six inches or so. Except for a few shells, there was nothing. I had heard those stories about rings washing up the next day with the tide but didn’t hold out much hope.
The next morning, after spending about half an hour searching the shore we decided to mention it to the lifeguards who were just coming on duty. One of them suggested the “lost and found” section on Craigslist. Yeah, I knew it would be a waste of time but figured I could sleep a little better knowing I had tried everything. I posted a note about a lost ring in Stone Harbor. It seemed to be within minutes that I got a response from a guy whose address was firstname.lastname@example.org. I was curious, and desperate, so I went ahead and opened his response. He seemed genuinely concerned and asked for any specifics such as when, and exactly where I was when the ring came off, so he could consider the tides etc. He said he wasn’t sure he could get there right away, but he would try. This guy was serious, he even had a website. After a few back-and-forths, I thanked him for his interest and crossed my fingers. I knew it was going to be a waste of his time, but I really did appreciate the fact that he, and a few others by the way, who had also seen the Craigslist ad, showed real interest. One respondent said she would try, but it might be a few weeks at best until she could get down to Stone Harbor. This was all around noon on the day after the evening when I realized the ring was gone. We went swimming later that afternoon and noticed a real northward under-tow around our feet. Now I knew the ring was Poseidon’s forever!
The next day, around noon, I checked my e-mail. I still can’t believe what it said!!!! Dave had found my ring, more or less right where I had said it should be, in chest-deep water!!! He had shown up at about 5:00 in the morning and spent three hours searching before he found it. I will never be able to truly comprehend how he actually did it. Yes he did have a fancy, totally submersible detector, but he was looking in an area of about forty Olympic swimming pools, with surf and current to boot! Yeah, life would have gone on without that ring, but Dave saved me from a lot of regret over the years. Thanks a million! –