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Found 1 result

  1. [WARNING: A lengthy read, but hopefully enjoyable] Last summer Chuck @megaholic invited me to go out with his fossil friends to dive the Meg Ledges offshore from Carolina Beach, NC. We could not make it that year as we were several time zones and about 2700 miles to the west in Cascade, ID to see the total solar eclipse as it streaked across the US on August 21, 2017. (It was well worth the cost and effort to see this impressive astronomical event. This year Chuck tried again and I was happy to be able to take him up on his offer to join his group for some meg tooth dives. Initially, I started checking for airports nearby and started hunting for inexpensive airfares. Chuck quickly pointed out that it really isn’t that far of a drive from South Florida and that he usually covers the distance in one long day of driving. The idea of driving up to North Carolina sparked the concept of an epic roadtrip with several stops along the way bookending the diving portion in the middle. The six potential diving days of the charter were fixed at the last couple of days of July and the first few of August and so with that anchoring the middle of the trip, I was able to build out from that time to lay out a fun itinerary with lots of stops along the way. I’m pretty good at composing lengthy journeys and had fun mapping this one out. My wife Tammy has been planning her retirement for some time and though her employer was successful in tempting her back for longer than she had planned on working for them, she was finally at a good stopping point with her project wrapping up. She actually based her last work day before retirement on my finalized schedule. She had her farewell lunch and said her goodbyes and was back reasonably early on a Wednesday and we had the car packed up and were heading out just after the morning rush hour died down on the following Thursday. Our first port of call on this roadtrip was north-central Florida. I had a number of specimens that I wanted to drop off in person to the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) in Gainesville. Along the way I had made plans to visit the first of many TFF members on this trip. Harry @Harry Pristis is a great authority on the types of items we pull from the rivers and creeks here in Florida and anybody who has read any forum topics about these items has undoubtedly noticed Harry’s excellent photographs of his enviable fossil specimens which are invaluable in confirming IDs. Harry also has a wonderful collection of old bottles and that is also a bit of a side passion of mine (I like hunting for all sorts of things). Harry and his wife invited us in when we arrived and we were able to indulge in one of my other favorite hobbies—talking about things which interest me. After some wonderful conversation we got a chance to marvel at some of the spectacular fossils (and other items) in Harry’s display room. The walls were covered with all sorts of interesting bottles that drew my attention equally as much as the fossils we were soon to see. Harry (as you would expect) has his items very well ordered and cataloged so it is much more like visiting a museum than a personal collection (a concept that would be repeated throughout this trip). Harry stores his fossils in custom made cabinets with shallow drawers based on the type of cabinets that shell collectors like to use. The tops are inset with nice areas to highlight some pretty things under glass. Harry has collected for many years and as such has built up a terrific assortment of enviable fossils. It was quite a treat that could easily be summed-up as “like a kid in a candy store”. There were just too many wonderful things to see it was too easy to forget I was holding a camera. I asked Harry select a couple of his favorite items for a couple of example photos. He selected an odontocete mandible (Goniodelphis cf. G. hudsoni) from the Pliocene which was recovered from the phosphate mines (when it was still possible to access them). The other stunning piece was a rhino tooth from Teloceras cf. T. hicksi (also from the mines). Truly special items to be able to see up close and personal.
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