A Sacramento-based scuba diver is receiving high praise for retrieving a $9,500 lost wedding ring from the depths of Bass Lake near Yosemite National Park in California where it fell off the hand of a woman mid-June.
Mike Pelley, also known as Merman Mike, assists individuals who lose their belongings in lakes, ponds and rivers.
“I love to help people, so I started a YouTube channel two years ago where individuals can message me to find their beloved items that have a meaning,” Pelley told USA TODAY.
Pelley works as an estimator for his father’s construction company, but in his free time, enjoys searching for lost items while cleaning up underwater debris.
On June 25, Pelley received a message from California native Jennie Boles, who discovered him on TikTok and then contacted him on Instagram to help her retrieve a missing ring. Boles described how she’d lost her wedding ring a week prior about 40 feet away from a dock where she and her family were swimming.
Boles felt her ring slip in an attempt to retrieve her child who had drifted too far away from the dock. The ring fell from her hand and sunk to the bottom of the lake before Boles was able to bring her child back to safety.
Pelley and his fiancé traveled three and a half hours to retrieve the ring from Bass Lake for Boles, who met them there to share her story, stating she remembers it falling 30 to 40 feet away from the dock.
Pelley dove underwater with a light and a metal detector to search the lake floor in the area Boles described.
“Almost immediately after I reached the bottom of the lake, I realized how difficult the search was going to be,” Pelley told USA TODAY. “The silt had immediately clouded out the area and I was in almost zero visibility. After a while of searching, I knew I had to go back up to the surface and come up with a better plan, but unlike my normal dives, I wasn’t able to just slowly ascend to the surface.”
To safely resurface, he had to perform a 3-minute safety stop at a depth of 15 feet, due to the duration and depth of his search.
An hour and a half into the dive, Pelley followed the anchor line to a 47-foot depth and found the ring.
“As I was down there my metal detector caught something I believed was another bottle cap,” Pelley shared. “When I looked to grab, I seen it was shiny. I was looking at a giant diamond! It was the wedding ring!”
With excitement, Pelley swam back to the surface to deliver the good news to Boles, who shed tears of joy.
Pelley did not charge Boles for his work. He helps people for free no matter how long the job is. He calls this his full-time hobby.
“I went back down one last time to try to grab the trash that I wasn’t able to pick up while searching for the ring,” Pelley said. “I ended up finding some sunglasses, including some sweet Oakley’s, and I also found a phone that unfortunately I wasn’t able to turn back on.”
A week later, Pelley sent a text to Boles asking about the cost of her wedding ring. She replied, stating the ring was worth $9,500. What a retrieval.
You can watch the documented dive here.
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