As Texas couple Mary Cecilia Jackson and Bill Triplett swam at Uluwehi (Secret) Falls, they fell in love with the sparkling sun and blue water. But when the 56-year-old husband emerged from the waterfall’s pool, he felt somethi-ng missing from his hand: his nine-year wedding ring.
“Bill swam quickly over to where I was sitting, stood up and raised his left hand. His face was kind of pale. He didn’t speak, but pointed to his empty finger,” Jackson, 57, said. “Behind my sunglasses, my eyes filled with tears. I knew if I cried it would only make him feel worse, so I said, ‘No worries, sweetie. In the end, it’s only a bit of metal, and we will find you a new ring here on Kauai, a special one that will remind us of our time here.’ But he and I knew it would never be the same.”
Jackson and Triplett continued to search the water for a little longer, but were eventually forced to leave the falls with heavy hearts, believing they would never see the ring again.
“I remembered the day I slipped the ring on his finger,” Jackson said. “Our six children, my three boys and his two daughters and son, stood up with us at the Outer Banks Lighthouse (in North Carolina) where we were married. I said those beautiful words, looking into his blue eyes. ‘With this ring, I thee wed.’”
Because the ring meant so much to the couple, they refused to give up and discovered the agency Kauai Metal Detecting. Upon seeing photos of happy husbands and wives reunited with their lost treasures on the agency’s website, Jackson and Triplett were given hope and met with the organization’s owner, Derrick Watts.
“I understand their feelings about a lost item, especially something as important as that,” Watts said.
Eager to help the couple, Watts kayaked the Wailua River to Uluwehi Falls on Feb. 15 armed with his metal detector. After swimming through the fall’s frigid water for an hour without a wetsuit, Watts soon saw something glinting at him from under the surface. As Watts grasped the object in his hand, he broke through the water’s surface with Triplett’s ring in hand.
“It looked like it was working into the soil to disappear. It had been seven days since they lost it,” Watts said.
News of Watts’ find came as a welcome surprise.
“I burst into tears,” Jackson said. “My husband texted me in all capital letters with a million exclamation points saying he found the ring. Those were happy tears.”
Through his business, Watts says he understands the sense of loss Jackson, Triplett and other clients experience. He once lost his college ring while living on the Big Island. After a gentleman with a metal detector found his ring, Watts was inspired to help others find their priceless and precious possessions.
“To see her face yesterday, she cried a bit. That’s worth it, right there,” Watts said. “It’s just a good feeling deep down to help people like that.”