He never thought he’d ever see it again. Then he read in the Kennebec Journal the quarry was being drained.
Thursday morning, to his surprise, Cottle found the lost treasure.
“We found it on a ledge that would have been 35 feet under the waterline, where we used to swim,” Cottle said Thursday. “As soon as I saw the picture in the paper, I realized the waterline was below the ledge where I lost the ring. I went right up there and started looking for it.”
The owner of Stinchfield Quarry, Lenny Nason, is draining the quarry, which has been closed for 80 years, to restart a granite mining operation.
Cottle, a 45-year-old carpenter from Gardiner, said he and a friend had to claw through dirt and pieces of granite that had slid into the water.
While searching for the engraved ring, they found jewelry, shoes, clothing, four pairs of glasses, three sets of keys on rings, unexploded blasting caps, clothing, about $3 in change, four cases of soda and beer bottles, and a safe that someone had cut a hole in the side with a blowtorch.
“I found the diving mask I lost when looking for the ring back in 1983,” he said.
“The ring is in unbelievably good condition,” he said. “It probably would look worse if I wore it for 27 years.”