Return of the ring

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on March 15, 2019

WHEN Kalgan resident Donna Fisher’s late husband of 37 years’ ring slid off her finger while swimming at Middleton Beach on her birthday last month, she accepted it was gone for good.

She certainly didn’t think someone would find it eight days later – in the exact spot she dropped it despite changing tides and swell – within one hour of searching.

Ms Fisher told The Weekender she was still in disbelief about the whole situation.

“I told my daughter that all I wanted to do for my birthday was swim the length of the shark net at Middleton and have a picnic,” Ms Fisher, who turned 59 on February 24, said.

“I got in the water and it felt like someone ripped off my ring.

“I looked down in the water straight away for two hours with my family and surf lifesavers, but it was just gone.

“I came down every couple of days to see if it had washed up but never found it.”

Swimming at Middleton was something special for bronze medal-level swimmer Ms Fisher, providing relief from being in a wheelchair after breaking her back in a car accident in 1984 and recently having a knee replacement that “stuffed up”.

Her ring, which had never been loose before, held significant sentimental value to her – it was the only piece of jewellery her late husband, Steve, owned.

He passed away from emphysema three years ago aged 64.

“Swimming was part of my rehabilitation after my husband died,” Ms Fisher said.

“It got me out of the house and got rid of the energy.

“I was absolutely devastated to lose his ring.”

Enter Sean Boddie.

Friends of Ms Fisher had heard of Perth-based Mr Boddie and his ability to find jewellery and lost treasures with an underwater metal detector.

Ms Fisher called Mr Boddie four days after she lost her ring and he arrived in Albany four days after that.

Mr Boddie spent the time between receiving the phone call and driving to Albany researching the recent weather and determining a day with low swell – ideal for his work to be successful.

“Her location details were fairly accurate,” he said.

“I knew her ring wasn’t very deep and I did have knowledge of Middleton, so I was positive about finding the ring.

“I ended up finding it between the 17th and 18th buoy.”

Water conditions were ideal for Mr Boddie’s methodical searching on March 4.

“Typically in WA, the best conditions are in early morning,” he said.

“It was low tide and no swell, so I was at Middleton around 9am.”

Finding Ms Fisher’s ring added to Mr Boddie’s high success rate.

“Out of 36 times, I’ve found 35 of all or some of the missing item,” he said.

“Generally, people lose stuff at the beach 80 per cent of the time, and usually, it’s in the first few metres of water.

“There are very few things as close to people as rings, so they are the most rewarding to reunite with their owners.”

Ms Fisher was beyond thankful to Mr Boddie.

“I couldn’t believe it!” she said, reflecting on when she received the happy news.

“I felt complete disbelief and happiness.

“If anyone loses their jewellery, they should just get him [Mr Boddie].

“He’ll find it.”

Mr Boddie can be contacted via ringrescues.com.au.