A scuba-diving treasure hunter recently drove more than three hours to assist a woman who had lost her diamond wedding ring while swimming with her family in California's Bass Lake, just south of Yosemite National Park.
The woman identified as Jennie was about 40 feet away from the dock at the man-made lake when her ring slipped off and sunk to the bottom.
Instead of panicking, she searched TikTok to find a treasure hunter with a metal detector. The search led to "Merman Mike," aka Michael Pelley, a skilled scuba diver from Citrus Heights near Sacramento, who has made a name for himself by chronicling his recovery adventures on social media.
Pelley agreed to assist and made the long drive from Northern California .
In a 24-minute video posted to YouTube, Pelley gives his followers a closeup look at one of his most difficult recoveries due to heavy silt, poor visibility, cold water temperature and extreme depth of the dive.
"Almost immediately after I reached the bottom of the lake, I realized how difficult the search was going to be," Pelley explained in his YouTube caption. "The silt had immediately clouded out the area and I was in almost zero visibility."
Pelley came up empty on his first dive, but he didn't give up hope even though he knew the odds of finding the ring were slim. After resetting the anchor line, the treasure hunter slowly made his way back down to the bottom at a depth of 47 feet.
"This time I removed one of my gloves because I needed to be able to feel what was under the silt, since I had zero visibility," he wrote on YouTube. "I then started to search with my metal detector while keeping one hand on the anchor so I would know where I was.
"After pulling a couple of sticks and cans out of the thick silt, I finally pulled out what I thought was going to be another bottle top or pull tab, but instead I was looking at a giant diamond! It was the wedding ring!"
The 14-minute mark of the video captures Merman Mike's elation as he holds the ring between his thumb and forefinger at the bottom of Bass Lake.
"No way. Oh my God," he screamed. "This is it! Oh my God. Yesss."
After finding the ring, Pelley had to be cautious on his ascent to the surface, taking three-minute breaks every 15 feet to avoid decompression sickness, also known as "the bends."
Jennie was beyond ecstatic when Pelley surfaced with her ring. She immediately placed it on her finger and thanked the Good Samaritan, who charges no fees, but gladly accepts tips or rewards to fund his work.
"I'm in disbelief," Jennie said. "Thank you so much from the bottom on my heart. You are amazing. Thank you."
After Jennie and her family left the scene, Pelley returned to the bottom of the lake for what he called a "clean up" dive.
"You can't just come for the treasure," he said. "You have to get the trash, too."
Check out Merman Mike's video at this link…
Credits: Images via Instagram / merman_mike; Screen captures via YouTube / Merman Mike.