TOFINO, B.C. - He knew he was going to get down on bended knee to propose to the love of his life, but Darrin Reimer didn't know he and his bride-to-be would soon both be on their knees furiously searching the beach for a lost engagement ring.
Reimer and Caitlin McAuley have a true love story that started with a poem, a marriage proposal and a ring on a Tofino, British Columbia, beach. But in an instant, things turn frantic and bizarre when the engagement ring accidentally fell to the beach.
It was dark and the tide was rolling in.
But don't worry, there is a happy ending.
"I can't believe I did that," said Caitlin McAuley, 27, who said yes, but it was 'Oh, No' moments later when she felt the engagement ring slip off her finger and vanish into the night.
"My hand was wet from the rain and I moved and looked off and I knew it right away," she said. "We were trying to find it in the dark and it was raining. We got some flashlights and we were back out in the morning as soon as it was daylight."
Reimer, who's from Calgary, and McAuley who lives in Vernon, B.C., spent much of the night looking for the ring with no luck.
After 18 hours of down and dirty efforts using metal detectors, kitchen implements, shovels, rakes, and their icy fingers, the ring turned up in the sand a few steps from where McAuley was standing when she felt it slide off her finger.
"We were in shock. It was incredible," Reimer, 34, said Sunday.
The couple went for dinner last Wednesday to celebrate their engagement and after dinner they stood on the beach, and that's when the ring disappeared.
Reimer said his marriage proposal included the custom-made ring and a poem that symbolized the couple's relationship.
"The ring was called Eternal Flame, and it's kind of unique for Caitlin and our relationship," he said. "I had written a poem for the proposal that was explaining our relationship over the last five years."
"How it went from embers to sparks to a flame, through all different seasons and survived everything, and now it's kind of an eternal flame," said Reimer.
The ring is white gold with rose gold flames and diamonds. Reimer said he did not have insurance and did not disclose how much he paid for the ring.
He said he was amazed how many people in Tofino, including the RCMP, local tourism officials and people on the beach, helped in the search for the ring. The Mounties even provided a metal detector.
But it was Tofino residents Keith and Norma Jamieson who eventually discovered the lost ring with their powerful metal detector last Thursday.
Reimer said everywhere he turned, people in the community wanted to help.
He said he and Caitlin's love for each other was never in doubt throughout the ordeal, but this episode is further proof of their enduring love.
"We ended up sticking together really well," he said. "I said we know now how we deal with each other in stressful situations."