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redleaf101

Cap Enragé (Cape Enrage) Fossil Expidition - Part 2

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redleaf101

Continued from Part 1

Part 2 is the culmination of our efforts and attempt to extract the chosen trackways on the following Sunday, that also saw us go back the morning after. We had planned on the to do's and hows' for the day, but as I quickly found out, you basically make decisions on the go once you're there. We also made sure to bring all the equipment needed for our field trip, including some plaster to create a cast if we're unable to extract the trackways.

We arrived on site very early in the morning. Matt had thought that we would probably be done sometime in the afternoon, but that the nature of field work can throw curve balls. We were greeted by friends of the person that owned the land where the beach access was. We told them the purpose of our visit and gave them basic information on the importance of the finds made on this beach. They seemed genuinely interested on the trackway we had found. We happily invited them to check us out later in the day at the work site to check these trackways up close.

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We didn't hold them up for too long as the tides were gonna reach their peak real soon. Knowing that the tides would be high and that we could be stuck for a couple hours, we had the choice of going out for lunch, or head out to the work site and work through the high tide so that we could be done early. Matt had told me that we were expected at the Cape Enrage Interpretation Center by the staff if we wanted to head over there for lunch and meet the staff. Matt had done some work and research for them in the past. They knew that we were in the area and might probably drop by the work site to say hello.

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The work we were gonna do would be the attempt to extract two trackways. One of them would require breaking it into segments for ease of transportation due to the size. The other trackway would be trickier. The plan would be to rotate the block that had the trackway into an horizontal position so that we could create a plaster cast. The cast would be a 'plan b' if we did attempt to extract the trackway. If anything would happened to the integrity of the trackway, making the recovery impossible, we would at least have the cast.

Right from the start we knew that the trackway, which we would need to be cast in plaster first, would be the most challenging and time consuming. That would be our first task. As we got to our location and set ourselves for work, the tide had fully come in. As we were stuck there trapped by the tide, we decided to get right to it.

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The first thing we had to do is to get the block that the trackway was on leveled. We took our tools and cleared some of the loose rubble away so that we could get some leeway to be able to twist and turn to a favorable position. Once that was done, we chiseled away some of the excess off the block to make sure it wouldn't move while we applied the plaster on the surface.

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Matt getting ready to move the block

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That chunk of sandstone was heavier than we anticipated. We managed to rotate and set it into a somewhat flat, leveled position. While we were taking a breather, we took some putty out and made the borders that would hold the liquid plaster to form the mold.

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While we were working away with the putty, we received some visitors. The people we had met when we first arrived came to check on our progress. Matt had great fun talking with our youngest guest Liam about animals and fossils.

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Matt and our new friend Liam

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Preparing the plaster mix!

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The pouring

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Let the drying begin!

After the plaster was poured and strengthning material applied (cloth to help solidify the mold), we picked up our tools and headed back West to the other site. We were hoping that by the time we are done extracting the other trackway, the plaster cast should be dry. The Sun was at its peak so this should help speeding up the drying process.

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Second trackway site

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As pictured in the above diagram, most of the visible tracks are located on one section (East). The plan to retrieve these tracks were to take them off in pieces. Matt had reassured me that it would be easy to put back together, just like a jigsaw puzzle (I saw these tracks a few days later and he did a great job putting them back together). The following photographs show shots from right to left (East to West) to give you a general idea of the surface.

On to Part 3!

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