December 27 2014, updated 12:41am

With this ring, begins obsession

Last updated 23:04 06/05/2008
TIM HALES/NZPA
FINALLY! Tim Capper with his wedding ring which he lost then found using an underwater metal detector while on holiday in the Bay of Islands.

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Wellington groom Tim Capper proved the cynics wrong when he embarked on a romantic quest for his lost wedding ring which, as all good quests should, resulted in a happy ending.

Mr Capper, 37, married his sweetheart of four years, Sanna Cooke in March, in a picture-perfect beach ceremony on Long Beach, Russell.

However, just two days after his blushing bride slipped the wedding ring on his finger, Mr Capper lost that same ring wrestling his brother in the surf just metres from where he had said his wedding vows.

The ring had fallen off while Mr Capper was swimming in shoulder deep water at low tide. He realised if he did not find it quickly, he never would.

A search squad, quickly assembled from friends and family on the beach, failed to locate his band of gold in the encroaching tide.

His new wife was "awesome - she wasn't really fazed by it".

However, Mr Capper had already become attached to his ring.

"I really liked having the ring. I felt naked without it, and not having it just felt horrible."

Mr Capper spent the next week on the phone unsuccessfully scouring the country for an underwater metal detector.

At a cost of around $1500, Mr Capper bought and imported one from the United States and began testing it out on Wellington's beaches.

Trussed up in his wetsuit, scuba gear and headphones, and carrying what looked like the skeleton of an old fashioned vacuum cleaner, Mr Capper drew some strange looks from other beach goers.

"I've found another way to repel women at the beach," he laughed.

Six weeks after the ring went into the water, Mr Capper returned to Russell with a sense of purpose and optimism, buoyed by good luck messages from friends and family.

His first day searching, he "swum around like an angry bee" backtracking and getting nowhere.

Realising he needed a system, he took a more methodical approach the next day, putting stakes in the sand to show where he had been, and attempting a grid search.

By the third day, he was forced to acknowledge that while he may have lost his ring, his wife had nearly lost him to his new obsession.

He promised that day would be his last.

His father-in-law - "who I will always be indebted to" - recommended using an anchor and stretching a rope out from it, covering the area by sweeping in wide arcs.

On the seventh sweep, with the tide starting to turn, the detector started to hum.

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Diving down, Mr Capper "saw this circular glint of gold through the settling sand that I'd disturbed."

He grabbed it, stood up and raised his hands in a silent, triumphant tribute.

The ring had been 50m offshore, buried in about 10cm of sand.

His supportive friends then admitted they'd never believed for a minute he would find it.

As for his blushing bride? "She just squealed."

He slipped the ring back on his finger - more than six weeks after his wedding day - without ceremony, he said.

"It just felt good. It was back where it needed to be."

- NZPA

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