A DIAMOND engagement ring lost in Corio Bay was found by divers today, twice.
Rodney O’Shannessy and Sarah Lentsment lost the ring on Saturday night when it fell between cracks on Geelong’s boardwalk promenade.
Henrietta St Clair from Geelong Dive Centre found the ring this afternoon at the same time as the hopeful couple travelled across from Wyndham Vale.
The story took a second heart-stopping turn when one of the dive team dropped it into the water again.
It was located again within a few minutes.
The couple arrived to good news and were delighted.
“We’re talking about a beach wedding so we’ll have to make sure we’re a fair way away from the water’s edge,” Mr O’Shannessy said.
Ms St Clair had doubted she would have any luck with her initial search in about 3m of water but literally struck gold for the couple.
“It was slightly hidden in the grass, I thought I’d see the diamond first but I saw the band,” she said.
Mr O’Shannessy had planned his proposal approach for six months, chosen the engagement and wedding ring set, enticed his love away for a surprise weekend and prepared to pop the question.
That was on Saturday night.
The night had started with dinner at the Customs House restaurant, followed by an ice-cream and then a stroll along the promenade at Eastern Beach.
The sunset was beautiful, the masts of the yachts etched black against the orange hues spread across the broad sky, as the romantic moment loomed closer for Mr O’Shannessy, while Ms Lentsment was oblivious to the change her life was about to take.
He pulled out the little brown box, which had been hidden in his pockets since they left their home hours earlier and dropped to one knee.
“I told her I wanted to grow old with her,” he said. “I told her I wanted us to be the crazy old people sitting out the front of their house yelling at all the noisy kids running past.
“I told her I wanted to commit my whole life to her.”
And then he opened the box, the ring wobbled and fell onto the timber deck of the promenade and, as the pair watched in absolute stunned silence and time seemed to take on the slow motion sequence of a bad movie, the ring slipped through a crack and disappeared into the murky water below.
“I didn’t even get a look at it,” Ms Lentsment said. “It had one little bounce, it looked like it stopped and then it bounced off. I could just see that it was white gold, that’s it, and then it disappeared.
“I didn’t want to cry, neither of us wanted to cry.”
Off came Mr O’Shannessy shirt, shoes and trousers and into the water he went in hot pursuit of the ring.
“It was dark and you couldn’t see more than two inches in front of your face, I couldn’t even touch the bottom,” he said.
Out he came, pulled on the wet clothes, by now shivering with cold.
That’s when the couple realised the moment was still a significant one, ring or no ring.
“We’d still been speechless really and then he said to me, ‘was that a yes?’,” Ms Lentsment said.
“I got to kiss him. He was all wet. We walked back to the hotel to get him warmed up. It was a very quiet walk back home.”
Saddened, but engaged nonetheless, the couple made calls to their families and close friends.
”There is a mini positive in all this,” Mr O’Shannessy said.
”Yes,” his new fiancé chimed in. ”At least we don’t have a boring proposal story. That cheered us up. I said (to people) ‘I’ll get down to the nuts and bolts; the ring is in the ocean’.”
Yesterday, the couple revisited the spot where the ring disappeared, hopeful that perhaps a lifeguard on duty might be able to locate it.
In the meantime, Ms Lentsment thinks she might wear the wedding ring, which was not in the same box, but part of the set, as an engagement ring.
“You really want something to show people when you tell them you’re engaged,” she said.
And if the success of a relationship can be determined by how the couple cope with adversity, these two people who laughed all the way through the telling, less than 24-hours after disaster struck, are set for a long and happy marriage.