It’s no secret we love to swim, snorkle, dive, jump, wade, float and surf – the water is where we choose to spend a lot of our time.

Having recently had the good fortune to spend a few days at QT Port Douglas, we took the opportunity (as one should) to head out on the Great Barrier Reef for a day. No strangers to the ways of the reef, we set out riding on high as we took a jet boat – you know the kind that’s so fast you need seat belts – ON A BOAT! – to the Low Isles of the reef.

As seasoned veterans of reef snorkelling, we were in the water before the boat’s wake had dispersed and were duck diving with turtles before the safety briefing was over. A spectacular clear day on the reef is something like no other. Being miles away from any land mass brings with it a feeling of total calm – if you frame it right.

We spent hours swimming up and down, holding our breath and exclaiming garbled “LOOK AT THAT”s through our masks. All manner of sea life were out and we had one of our best reef days ever carving paths through the coral with turtles, reef sharks, Nemo and all manner of tropical groper, angel fish and more.

Once back on the boat – salty, excited and exhausted – we caught our breath for a few minutes and, as one often is after an experience as such, were overcome with good feelings of love and appreciation for all that is in our worlds.

Well, I WAS at least – I can’t speak for Tinka – although it’s possible she wasn’t thinking anything of the sort – after all, she did just swallow more sea water than a humpback: “I HAD MASK PROBLEMS!!” she exclaims. Sure you did, mate. Sure you did.

So, as I was having my warm gooeys, I looked over to Tinka and exclaimed how much I loved being married to her and as my eyes made their way from looking into hers to my left hand they grew wide. I’m talking here about WIDE – like really wide. Like a humpback Tinka taking in too much sea water wide.

My wedding ring. Was. GONE!

This is where it gets interesting. Your reaction to these sorts of events says a lot about you, and so must be approached with caution rather than a complete freak out in front of strangers.

What I found is that there are several stages of wedding ring loss:

Stage 1: Disbelief – “OK, maybe I just have seaweed in my eyes, surely my ring is there, I just can’t see it!”

Stage 2: Rational Thoughts + retracing your steps – This stage comes and goes quickly, especially as I had no steps to retrace SINCE I’D BEEN IN THE OCEAN FOR HOURS!!!

Stage 3: Confession – This one was a blur of worrying for my life, seeing my future eating through a straw and praying I wasn’t going to be made to swim the 38km’s back to shore.

Stage 4: Irrational Thoughts – “Lets just go back in and look for it!” Not a great idea seeing as we’d been in the water many hours covering an area of who knows how many square metres.

Stage 5: Craving cured meats and cheese. This stage – I believe – is unrelated to the incident at hand but it did happen.

Stage 6: Google. When in doubt, find out how other people have reacted!! The NY Times had a great piece that claims most people lose their rings at least twice in their married life. It made me feel better – a little. But has me worried about the next time just as much!

Stage 7: Acceptance and plans for the replacement. Note: this stage is forced upon you by your spouse. This is a critical stage because it means most probably you’ll be able to eat your cured meats and cheeses without the aid of a straw for the foreseeable future. GET TO THIS STAGE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

The last stage, STAGE 8 is trying to put a good story together about how you lost your ring. One with only minor embellishments if possible…

What we do like about how I lost my ring is that it was in a place we love, that we dream of and is very special to us – think of it like scattering the ashes of a loved one, or, if that’s too morbid, that scene at the end of Titanic where the old biddy drops the million dollar jewel in the ocean and all is ok.