Click the thumbnails for
high-resolution images:
Bob Pirrmann (left) holds his wedding ring
after it was returned to him by diver Mike
Whyte (right).  Photo: Bethany Acheson
Diver Miky Whyte (right) passes Bob
Pirrmann (left) his wedding band near the
sandy bottom of the place it was found in
the Aquarium's Giant Ocean Tank.
Photo: Bethany Acheson
The Giant Ocean Tank, where the ring
was lost.
Myrtle, the 560-pound green sea turtle.
Pirrmann lost the ring while petting
Myrtle's shell.

BOSTON. A New England Aquarium diver has performed the aquatic version of finding a needle in a haystack by finding a lost wedding ring in the Aquarium’s four-story, 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank more than three months after it was lost.

In early July, a guest diver lost his wedding ring while petting a 560-pound sea turtle named Myrtle. Bob Pirrmann, associate creative director with Boston-area ad agency Mullen and a certified recreational diver, was enjoying a rare public dive in the Aquarium’s famous Caribbean coral reef exhibit. Filled with giant sea turtles, large sharks, electric green moray eels and more than 700 other marine creatures, the Aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank is a biologically rich and dense space.

Pirrmann was a part of a group of Mullen staff taking part in an Aquarium launch celebration for the summer exhibit “Sharks & Rays.” Mullen had created an award-winning marketing campaign for the new exhibit that playfully inserted iconic images of sharks among classic Boston landmarks. Some images included a shark fin peeking from the water behind a rowing shell on the freshwater Charles River, shark teeth decorating the arch of the Hatch Shell amphitheater, and a brass shark fin added to the end of the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Gardens. The images can be seen here.

Pirrmann initially assumed his ring was lost forever. Aquarium assistant curator Dan Laughlin notified the Aquarium’s divers about the missing gold band and thought it might be found during routine cleaning procedures throughout the massive space. Three months passed, and Pirrmann even purchased another ring.

This past Sunday, Mike Whyte, a part-time diver for the Aquarium since 2001, was vacuuming food debris from several inches of sand near the bottom of the tank. As he worked through some delicate finger corals, he noticed an unusual shape. Divers are used to finding shark teeth or even items sometimes dropped by visitors, such as baby pacifiers. Whyte first thought the round object was a coin. Upon closer inspection, the Attleboro resident thought, “Ooooh, I know what this is!” He put the band on his own finger, finished his cleaning dive and returned the ring to Laughlin. Whyte also noted the irony that the cherished wedding ring had settled among the finger corals.

CONTACT: Tony LaCasse, 617-877-6871