Lost wedding band found after 18 years underwater

L-R: Mark Dittmar, Georgia Morris and Keryn Dittmar in Perth, where Georgia was able to deliver Mark's long lost wedding band in person. Photo: Kathy Morris
L-R: Mark Dittmar, Georgia Morris and Keryn Dittmar in Perth, where Georgia was able to deliver Mark's long lost wedding band in person. Photo: Kathy Morris

Two families were brought together in a special turn of events this week, after a chance discovery in the shallow waters off Redgate Beach.

Witchcliffe teen Georgia Morris was snorkelling south of Margaret River this week in an attempt to escape the stifling WA heatwave.

Mark Dittmar's wedding band, lost in the ocean nearly 19 years ago, was found this week at Redgate Beach. Photo: Kathy Morris

Mark Dittmar's wedding band, lost in the ocean nearly 19 years ago, was found this week at Redgate Beach. Photo: Kathy Morris

"Everyone else had gone in, I wanted to keep swimming because it was nice in the water," the 14 year old told the Mail.

"Just as I was coming back, there were these two rocks where you had to kind of scoot over them, and there's a little tiny pocket of sand.

"I just saw it half-nestled into the sand and I thought 'oh, it could just be rubbish'.

"And then the current started pulling me and I thought, 'you know what, I might just go back and take a look'."

Georgia's instincts paid off, and she quickly returned to the shore with her discovery.

Georgia Morris and mum Kathy with the ring Georgia found off Redgate Beach. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

Georgia Morris and mum Kathy with the ring Georgia found off Redgate Beach. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

"I noticed that there was an inscription on the ring and a date, too."

Mum Kathy Morris said the family were quick to take a photo of the jewellery as they left the beach, posting it to the Margaret River Community Noticeboard Facebook group.

"She wouldn't let anyone else touch it, she was really excited," she said.

"We added the inscription to help identify it, but left the date off so we could check it with anyone who claimed it."

Mark Dittmar saw the post, and commented that he had lost a ring in that location "years ago".

It took just a few messages between Kathy Morris and Mark's wife, Keryn Dittmar, to confirm that it was indeed his lost wedding band.

"We were absolutely blown away, we still can't believe it," Keryn said from Perth, where the family recently moved after many years in the Margaret River region.

"To think that it's been sitting right there in that spot for nearly 20 years is incredible."

The personal inscription and date helped the Morris family return the ring to the correct owners. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

The personal inscription and date helped the Morris family return the ring to the correct owners. Photo: Nicky Lefebvre

Keryn said she was pregnant with her now-19 year old son when the ring was lost.

"We were actually living in South Australia at the time, Mark was over visiting at mate in Margaret River," she explained.

"He was down at the beach and saw a skippy in a rockpool, darted his hand in, and caught the fish in his bare hands.

"He came out with the fish but lost his wedding ring," she laughed.

After searching in vain, the Dittmars decided to purchase another ring, which Mark promptly lost again.

"This time he was abalone fishing out at Contos and it was lost again," Keryn said. "I made a joke that I'm going to put it through his nose so he can't lose it!"

The couple were excited at the prospect of having Mark's wedding ring returned, and rushed to confirm their claim.

"I couldn't get my own ring off my finger fast enough to check the date and the inscription, I was running around out the front trying to get enough light to read it," said Keryn.

"I even sent Kathy a copy of my marriage certificate, I wanted to show that it was definitely the right one."

The ring is in near perfect condition despite nearly two decades in the ocean.

"It looks really new, which makes sense... he only wore it for less than two years before he lost it," said Georgia.

"It hasn't corroded, because it was in the rockpool it's not been damaged," Keryn agreed.

The families are set to meet this week in Perth, where Georgia will be able to personally deliver the band to its long lost owner.

Keryn Dittmar is looking forward to the reunion.

"I have only just stopped crying... 'Wow' is all I can say," she said. "We can't thank Kathy and her lovely daughter Georgia enough for finding something we thought was forever lost.

"Good things do come to those who wait."