A snorkeler off Australia’s Norfolk Island has solved a marital mystery after spotting a groom’s missing $1,000 wedding ring—lodged around the body of a sand mullet fish.
Married couple Suzie Quintal and Nathan Reeves from the Gold Coast were visiting the island over Christmas, and while swimming, Reeves noticed his wedding ring was gone.
“He tried to look for it and then broke the news to me, and I was not happy,” Suzie told Daily Mail Australia. The ring was lost just one day before the couple’s second wedding anniversary.
Then, on May 10, while exploring the same beach, snorkeler Susan Prior spotted the ring-bound mullet, but did not retrieve the ring.
She happened to have heard of the couple’s missing item and managed to contact them through a community Facebook page; Suzie was astounded that the ring had resurfaced.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I’ve got a few friends on the island and they’re pretty adamant that they’ll find it,” she said, adding that the little fish trapped by the band of gold was her main concern.
The only way to retrieve the ring, and free the fish, though, is to somehow catch the mullet and carefully remove the band.
Meanwhile, the “gut-wrenching” sighting of the trapped fish has sparked a conversation about marine welfare, which often suffers from human infringement.
The fish “seems to be okay so far,” Prior said, but as it grows the ring may cut into its body.
It’s not the first time Prior, while out snorkeling, has seen fish in such a predicament; the plastic rings from the caps of milk and juice bottles, and those from six-pack cases, are far more common than the precious metal variety.
Speaking to The Epoch Times via email, she urged others to always snip plastic rings before tossing them. “If anything good comes out of this poor fish’s demise, let it be that,” she said.
She also photographed two other fish with plastic rings around their bodies earlier this year, and shared the photos on Facebook as a reminder.
“Sometimes these rings escape into the wild, and this is the sad consequence,” she explained on her blog. “Mullet snuffle through the sand looking for food, making it so easy for a ring or hair tie to flip over their noses and get stuck.”
Some Norfolk Island locals, she said, routinely pick up trash during their walks and swims to help keep the beach as clean as possible.
Meanwhile, residents on the island have banded together—equipped with nets, scuba gear, and metal detectors—to locate the mullet with Nathan’s $1,000 wedding band, in hopes of freeing the fish and retrieving the ring.
“The team in the glass-bottom boats are going to have a look,” said Suzie. “Norfolk’s really good like that.”