Reunited 10 years on

Ian Swain (left) and Greg Warden show the condition of Mr Swain's wallet and its contents after it was lost at sea for a decade.

A SOUTHLAND fisherman paid a hefty price for the blue cod he was reeling in when his wallet fell overboard off the coast of Bluff.

A lucky find, however, has reunited Ian Swain with his wallet – albeit ten years too late.

Greg Warden, an avid beachcomber, had been walking his usual route on a Tiwai Point beach last week when the wallet, poking up from the sand, caught his eye.

Upon inspection he found various cards and a perfectly preserved driver’s licence with Mr Swain’s home address printed on the front.

“I went to the phone book and found he was still in the district, so I gave him a call and here we are today,” Mr Warden said.

The circumstances alone made it one of Mr Warden’s more interesting finds, he said.

“To find it after all these years, especially with a licence with an address on it, it’s quite extraordinary.”

When the phone call came from Mr Warden, it took Mr Swain some convincing to believe it wasn’t one his friends having him on.

“I was very, very surprised. For a while there I thought it was a hoax,” he said.

In 2008, Mr Swain had been fishing with friends about 30km off the coast of Bluff. After a successful day on the water, he had a sinking feeling when he went to pay the skipper and his hand met an empty back pocket.

“When I realised I had nothing, I knew she was a goner… I never expected to see that wallet again.”

The “cheap” Velcro wallet was a little torn and tattered, but held tight all of the contents from the day, except the $200 he was going to use to pay for the fishing trip.

Mr Warden’s efforts to return what was left of the wallet were appreciated, Mr Swain said.

“There’s not many people around that would do that, to ring you up and go out of their way to bring a wallet back like that. Even though it’s worth nothing, it’s much appreciated,” Mr Swain said.

“It may be worth nothing, but the story is what makes it valuable,” Mr Warden said.

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