A lost camera, a detective, the power of social media and a curious sea turtle have combined to create one very interesting tale.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Coast Guard criminal investigator Paul Schultz, who lives in Florida’s Key West, found a camera washed up on the rocks in a local marina. Set in a waterproof housing of the type used by scuba divers, the camera was undamaged. The latest image on its memory card was dated November 11, 2009, which implied that it had been separated from its owner for more than six months.
Given his profession, Shultz couldn’t resist the challenge to identify the origins of the mysterious camera. And this week, through his efforts and the power of social media, Schultz was able to locate the camera’s owner, hundreds of kilometres away in Aruba.
Shultz told CruiseCritic.com that he started his investigation by searching for clues in two seemingly unrelated photos: two men in wetsuits stood in front of a van, on which half a logo was visible; and some children at a school, standing in front of a poster. He used the message boards of a leading scuba site to figure out the name of the dive company on the van, and also received tips that helped him pin down the school’s location to Aruba.
More clues from photos on the camera also pointed to Aruba and Schultz eventually located the amazed owners of the camera through Aruba.com.
Dick and Mandy de Bruin confirmed they lost the camera on November 11th, 2009 while working on recovering an anchor from a ship sunk during WWII. “They were very excited to hear about me finding the camera and they are as amazed as I am about how far it floated," Schultz told Cruise Critic.
But the incredible elements of this story don’t end there. Sometime in January, a curious sea turtle came across the mysterious floating object and knocked it around in the water for a while, presumably trying to figure out if it was edible. In the process, the camera was switched on. And yes, you guessed it, the resulting video is now posted on YouTube.