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Owner Refuses Lost Wedding Ring Found On Blacktip Island Reef

wedding ring

Goldie Goby’s wedding ring, recovered this week by a Blacktip Island scuba diver, rests at the Blacktip Island Interdenominational Church after Goby’s refusal to accept the ring’s return. (photo courtesy of Liesbeth Busman)

A Blacktip Island scuba diver who found a lost wedding ring on the Wahoo Reef dive site was stunned Tuesday when the ring’s owners refused to take it back.

“It was a classic scuba-treasure story—diver finds long lost wedding ring,” diver Barry Sennett said. “Only, when I tracked down the owner, Goldie wanted no part of it. Told me to throw it back. Then she took a swing at me.

“Selling it didn’t seem right, so I gave it to the pastor,” Sennett said. “He’s one who started this mess, marrying Goldie and Rusty when any damn fool knew it wouldn’t last.”

Goldie Goby said the ring was an unwelcome reminder of unhappy days.

“It brought back bad memories, for me and for Rusty,” she said. “When I came up from that dive last year and my ring was missing, we took it as a sign from God. And if God don’t want us together, who are we to argue?

“We been happily unmarried for the last 13 months,” Goby said. “Now folks think we’re hitched again? Uh-uh. God cast us asunder and Barry ain’t gonna stick us back together. I don’t even know how he found the damn ring, it was stuffed so far under that coral head.”

Rusty Goby agreed.

“Don’t know how the ring slipped off her finger, but it’s the best thing to ever happened to us,” he said. “We fought like cats and dogs the whole time we were together. The lost ring let us put all that behind us. And it was a whole lot cheaper than a divorce.

“God split us up,” Goby said. “We answer to a higher authority. Anybody comes near either one of us with that ring, they’ll get a punch in the face.”

Island religious leaders refuted the couple’s claim.

“They were never not-married,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “It doesn’t work like that. If it did, folks’d be chucking their rings any old time they wanted. Rusty and Goldie just got separate places to live.

“Goldie ditched that ring, not God,” Grunt said. “The ring’s at the church ‘til things are resolved. And there’s the civil side of this to be addressed, too.”

Legal experts concurred.

“Legally, they’re as married as ever, but I can’t speak to this God business,” local attorney Ferris Skerritt said. “Religion-wise, I guess it’s a bit of a Schrödinger’s wedding ring situation—they’re married and not married at the same time.

“On the legal side, they’d need an affidavit stating, in God’s eyes, they’re no longer married,” Skerritt said. “Not a burning bush or anything, just an official note from Big Man, or His representative, to make it legal.”

Goldie Goby remained adamant.

“God don’t want us together. He already made that plain as day,” she said. “Ferris’s just throwing out weasel-words, and Rev. Grunt has a conflict of interest. Anybody hands me that ring, I’m chucking it so far into the sea even God won’t find it.”

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Blacktip Divemasters To Hone Ring-Finding Skills In Weekend Contest

wedding ring 2

Blacktip Island resident Kay Valve shows off her wedding band, one of the rings found during last year’s inaugural Blacktip Island Lord of the Rings underwater wedding ring-finding contest. (photo courtesy of Steve and Jem Copley)

Local dive staff will compete this weekend in the second annual Blacktip Island Lord of the Rings underwater wedding ring-finding contest to hone their scuba search and recovery skills.

“People losing wedding or engagement rings on dives happens more often than you’d think,” said Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner. “This competition’ll provide real-world training for that and keep everyone’s skills sharp.

“There’s been a spike in the number of lost rings lately, which makes these skills even more important,” Latner said. “The speculation’s some rings are getting lost on purpose, but I couldn’t speak to that. Some divers are happier than others to get their rings back, though.”

The two-day, double-elimination contest will take place in multiple rounds on a variety of underwater terrains, including a patch reef, hardpan, bare sand and turtle grass flats.

“To jack up the stakes, we use a real wedding rings, too,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “We pull names out of a hat to see whose ring gets chucked overboard. Last year, Kay Valve about had kittens for hours until Lee Helm finally found her ring in the third round.

“If there’s a tie, the two finalists’ll be tied together at one ankle, like in a three-legged race, and dropped on Alligator Reef at night,” Kiick said. “That’s some gnarly topography, and if you can find a wedding band there, you’re the mac daddy of S&R diving.”

The contest has few rules.

“You have to find the actual ring that’s tossed in,” said Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens. “You can’t just take a fake ring down with you to faux-find.

“There’s also no metal detectors allowed,” Havens said. “The idea’s to simulate an actual ring being lost on an actual dive, and none of our boats have metal detectors. Using one, well, would defeat the purpose.”

Island dive staff are eager to start the competition.

“It’s a rush, sure, but being able to find an actual wedding ring is a critical professional skill,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Gage Hoase said. “Someone loses a ring, it ruins their vacation, and unhappy guests leave unhappy tips.

“The flip side’s if you can find the ring, your grats jump through the roof,” Hoase said. “That’s job security right there.”

As with any island contest, authorities warned anti-gambling ordinances will be strictly enforced.

“These things get cutthroat, and the urge to wager goes hand-in-glove with that,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Anyone placing bets this weekend, even informally, will face the full measure of the law.

“Alison Diesel and Marina DeLow have the sharpest eyes on the island, so we’ll be watching their friends closely,” Marquette said. “If gambling was legal, I’d have $100 on Marina. Theoretically.”

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