Lost in Turks & Caicos, found in Bermuda
When Tennessee resident Zebbie Brandt lost her digital camera while diving in the Turks and Caicos, she thought the camera was gone for good.
But nine months later, she received an excited e-mail from her friend telling her the camera had been discovered intact 870 miles north in Bermuda.
“It was just amazing,” Mrs Brandt said. “I was so excited when I got the message, my husband was already in bed. I flicked on the lights and said 'You will not believe this.'
“How in the world did it get to Bermuda? What are the odds of ever finding the camera in the ocean?”
Mrs Brandt said she first lost the camera on March 13, 2010, while diving on the live-aboard dive vessel
Aggressor II in the Turks and Caicos.
“It was the first time I decided to use it while diving,” she said. “I had already lost the weight, so I knew it was going to float.
“I was extremely disappointed. I had everyone looking across the surface of the water to see if they could spot it, but I knew it was pretty much gone.”
Eight months later in January, 2011, Jennifer Gray and Robert Chandler were walking along North Shore near Tynes Bay when they noticed a camera case covered in barnacles and algae, hidden in a mound of sea weed.
Ms Gray said she pried the case open and, much to her surprise, found the camera inside perfectly dry and undamaged.
Ms Gray said: “The most exciting thing for me was that it looked like it had been in the ocean for a long time, but when I pressed the button it turned on. It was amazing.”
She said in an effort to track the camera's owner, she looked through the camera's memory, finding more than 200 images of weddings, holidays and a dive trip, all marked with dates between May 2008 and May 2010.
Noticing that the camera had pictures of the crew of a dive boat with 'Aggressor Fleet' written on their uniforms, Ms Gray contacted the manager of the vessel's fleet.
Staff at tour organiser Aggressor Fleet continued the search, placing several of the pictures in a monthly newsletter in an effort to find the camera's owner.
One of Mrs Brandt's friends made the connection, and told her the camera had been discovered.
Mrs Brandt said the news of the discovery shocked her, as did the amount of time and effort that was spent attempting to return the camera to her.
“Who would have taken the time to have gone through all my pictures and do everything possible to try to return the camera?” Mrs Brandt said. “[Ms Gray] went above and beyond what any other person would have done to try and find me.”
The pair spoke and Ms Gray sent the camera back to Mrs Brandt, who said so much time had passed she had forgotten most of the pictures.
“It's like discovering an old photo album that you forgot about,” Mrs Brandt said. “Jennifer actually helped me identify some of the fish in the pictures.”
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