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SailingAlongToo posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsThis past Sunday Mrs.SA2 and I ventured out for what was going to be my last opportunity to fossil hunt in 2018 due to my work schedule. Sunday's weather forecast was for upper 40s F, light rain - mist, 15 mph Nor'east winds gusting to 20 mph, 3 foot waves and water levels along all the rivers running double normal for this time of year due to all the recent rain and snow melt. Obviously, not ideal for fossil hunting along any of eastern VA's swollen rivers but it was the last day I could hunt this year, so we were going to make the best of it. Mrs.SA2 is quite the trooper and always up for an adventure. (I think she was just humoring me since she's off work from Christmas Eve till after NYs and plans on doing lots of fossil hunting with some of our fossil friends.) We hit the beach at high tide and hoped we would get at least some water level drop moving towards low. No such luck, wind picked up and waves started crashing the beach. We spent about 5 hours walking what little beach there was and found plenty of (several hundred) small sharks teeth, but nothing exciting, not even large broken teeth. I did manage to find a worn dolphin periotic, which are always nice to find and we pulled out quite a few Chesapecten nefrens from recent slides/falls, but that was about it. Nothing worth even posting photos of on TFF. Before hitting the beach we had discussed the cliffs being super-saturated from all the rain and recent snow, and the need for us to stay together and to pay particular attention to the cliffs as we moved along. There were even a few places we walked out in the waist deep water instead of under some nasty looking spots. On our way back to the entrance point, we stopped so she could put the teeth she was "hiding" in her mitten, into a plastic bag, as we knew we were approaching one of the spots where we needed to walk in the water. As we did that, 10 feet in front of us the cliff broke free and dropped about 4 dump truck loads of material and 2 very large trees down on the beach. Photo below from the upstream side. Thank goodness we were on the downstream side at the time it fell since you can see the trees covering the beach on the upstream side. Downstream side looked much more dramatic with all the cliff material, but smaller falls were still occurring there, so we went into waist deep water and moved around the danger area fairly quickly yet carefully. Eastern VA has experienced its wettest year on record and it's still going. We are forecast for another 1.25 - 1.75 inches of rain tonight through tomorrow night and 2 more significant rain events before years end. It will all be storm runoff as the ground can't absorb anymore water. There is standing water everywhere. I can only imagine what the Freeze - Thaw Cycle will do to all the cliffs and bluffs this winter given how saturated the sediment and stratigraphy is. This made the 4th cliff fall we have seen since March along various VA rivers.
Well, it looks like the rainy season is finally coming. Went to Brownville today, hiked down river from the boatramp to where those houses overlook the river, found a bison tooth, various shark teeth and a few good mammoth frags. I was working on a hole in knee deep water, saw about a 30 pound turtle, then i'm digging look down next to my leg and see a huge fish, I came up outta that hole! So I go back up near the houses and start a new hole in shallower water. So I'm digging away, I look up and see a HUGE dog about 8 ft away just looking at me, not growling not barking so far so good! Now he starts approaching me, I put my digging basket (big) between his massive head and me, but he is determined to sniff me, so I lower the basket and he smells behind me. Off he trots, so I go to walk back to my bike at the park. This dog is waiting (so it seemed) I try going in deeper water the dog swims (of course) I have no choice but to pass him. Fortunately, for me he just wanted petted. At least no gators! I was out Sunday, this recent rain bouht it up about 6 inches. We have had a long season, it looks like it is coming to a close. Well, heres to really high water and a good dry season next year! Nice puppy! Luckily!