AUSTRALIA - WHEN a scuba diver recently emerged from the waters of the Dawn Fraser Baths shouting, “I’ve got it!”, there were more than a few bemused locals.
However, the tears of relief from Joanne Norman as her engagement ring was returned to her slowly revealed a tale of love, perseverance, a very unusual hobby - and a huge dollop of luck.
The drama began two weeks earlier when Joanne was playing water polo at the century-old sea baths. A handy save in goal saw the ball ricochet away - along with the “perfect” engagement ring her former Special Forces soldier and now husband had bought for her.
“I was devastated because Stuart had saved for the ring while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan and it meant more to me than a piece of jewellery.
“The bottom of the ocean pool was covered in silt and constantly moving. We tried to find it but with the (fading) light we were forced to give up.”
Ms Norman went on to hire some salvage divers to continue the search ... but to no avail.
Then an online search found a saviour in Brad Lovell, who just happens to combine scuba diving and metal detecting as a sideline business.
He warned Joanne the chance of finding the ring was remote but began methodically turning over the sediment. Minutes later Brad popped up, then asked the sobbing mum: “Would this be your engagement ring?”
BRAD Lovell’s underwater metal detecting business grew out of demand.
‘‘I was using the detector as a hobby looking for coins on the shoreline and people would ask me for help with lost rings or car keys in the shallows. When the requests came from people in deeper water, I thought it was time to do a scuba diving course.
‘‘Once the word spread among my friends that I owned a detector, the requests began coming in fast. The gratification I feel when reuniting people with a lost engagement or wedding ring is indescribable.’’
Former world surfing champion Layne Beachley lost her engagement ring while playing in the Harbour.
After an hour of searching and digging up rusty coins, Brad found a ring. When he saw a sparkling diamond and the smile on her face, he knew it was the right ring
Courtesy Inner West Courier
“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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