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Diver plumbs depths of Lake Murray to rescue heirlooms - and memories

Bob Merrick says he enjoys 'treasure hunting' at the bottom of Lake Murray.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Columbia man is reuniting community members with lost treasures. 

Bob Merrick starting diving a few years back because, for him, the sound of the water from underneath relieves stress. 

“Well, I couldn’t go into outer space because I’m too old," Merrick laughs, "it just wasn’t in the cards so this is the next closest thing to outer space. You’re weightless and you’re in a world where not a lot of people go.”

Diving combined with treasure hunting has become quite the pastime for Merrick. So much so, he now takes requests. Just this week he dove to find a Citadel class ring someone lost while out on the lake. 

“It’s the best feeling in the world," Merrick says about reuniting someone with a lost treasure. 

Most recently, Merrick helped retrieve a very special wedding band for Yvonne Torres-Baatz, a resident of Lake Murray.

Yvonne tells Street Squad, “I connected with Bob because I had seen some of his posts on [the] Lake Murray Life Facebook page about him scuba diving and finding things and treasures and so when I lost the ring he came to mind.”

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Yvonne was on her dock about to take the ring off so it would be safe when it fell into the water. 

“I mean it's not some fancy ring but it’s our wedding band!” Yvonne says her wedding was an event full of love and the ring was very symbolic of that.

“It wasn’t just a ring, it was memories, love, family," Merrick recalls, "there were a lot of things attached to it.”

On the day of the recovery, it took about 15 minutes before Merrick was able to recover it.

Credit: Yvonne Torres-Baatz
Bob, Yvonne and the ring!

“I’m just grateful that Bob was able to use his skill and talent," Yvonne says "and he loved it! He’s still so excited about it. I guess for him he goes out and finds things that have been lost for a long time but for him to be able to come out so quickly and get it and come through-its just been so wonderful.”

And Merrick says he’s going to continue to help people out, “As long as I can. As long as I can do it, I will.”

Check out Merrick's adventures on his YouTube page here

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