When Alycen Hemsworth’s family camera plunged into the waters off La Jolla Cove a month ago, she figured it was gone forever.
“We just kind of dropped it,” she said. “We were sad. We were bummed. There were pictures from four years ago.”
But, as luck would have it, a diver spotted the orange digital camera as he was snorkeling last week and took to social media, drawing local news media outlets to his cause, in hopes of finding the owner.
He calls it a "needle in the ocean."
A number of the Hemsworths’ friend saw the story on local news and online and alerted the family.
On Tuesday, Hemsworth and her son met with the diver, Mark Schulze, in La Jolla to pick up their lost camera and say thank you.
The group embraced as Schulze told Hemsworth’s son: “I’ve seen your picture so many times now.”
Schulze was able to recover about 300 photos from the camera dating back to 2011. They show scenes from across Southern California and videos of children’s performances and outings.
After NBC 7’s story aired Monday night and was posted on the station’s social media accounts, a woman reached out to the station, saying she recognized the boy in the photographs from her son’s soccer team.
The boy, she identified as Kai, played with the La Mesa AYSO soccer club.
The message to NBC 7 was among countless leads from folks who recognized the photos of the family and reached out to them.
“When I got home, there were 37 messages from friends,” Hemsworth said. “So social media works in good ways as well.”
Hemsworth said she’s especially grateful that the family now has photos back from memorable vacations to Palm Springs and Yosemite. And the family made a new friend along the way.
“We’re going to get together over margaritas,” she said.