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[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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The next morning found us at Dickenson Hall on the campus of the University of Florida (Gainesville). We were there to meet-up with Dr. Richard Hulbert (another go-to expert when we have an unusual find that we’d like to identify). We first met Dr. Hulbert in person when volunteering at the Thomas Farm dig site several years ago. Tammy and I have had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit more over the years while volunteering at the Montbrook site. We dropped off a few specimens for the FLMNH collection and I had also brought along a couple of oddities that I’d found in the Peace River over the last couple of years. One item defied identification by photos alone and so that was the first to be looked at. It appeared to be an oddly tall piece of mandible with several alveolae (tooth sockets) along one edge. It didn’t match anything that Dr. Hulbert could think of and when he had it in hand he was pretty sure that it was actually not a mandible at all. Harry had suggested the day before that the “sockets” might actually simply be the burrowing holes from pholid clams. These are the same mollusks that often riddle dugong bones with pencil diameter tunnels. The current thinking is that this (non-mandible) bone might have been buried upright in sediment with only the edge protruding which was an open invitation for a bunch of pholids to create a series of pseudo-sockets. That mystery solved, we moved onto some true mandibles. I had brought along a jaw from a Round-tailed Muskrat (Neofiber alleni) that I found on a trip with John @Sacha a couple of seasons ago, a rabbit jaw from last year, and an odd piece that somehow suggested turtle/tortoise. The last was confirmed to be a mandible from a snapping turtle (Chelydra). I asked if these pieces would be welcome in the FLMNH collection and gladly donated them when I heard they were.

 

Dr. Hulbert had mentioned that we should check out a new exhibit at the main Florida Museum building. Many many fossils have come from the recent Montbrook site—enough to keep years of students, volunteers, and PhD candidates busy. This site is on private property but the landowner has been gracious enough to put up with the excavation of the site and the many comings and goings of university staff, students, and a cadre of volunteers. They created a nice showcase of some of the interesting items that have come from this locality. There is even a short video showing the site and featuring the property owner and several scientists from the museum. They have been digging at the site for a few seasons now and have a remarkable number of specimens with lots more waiting to be cataloged. They will be opening the site again for a shorter but more intense digging season in October/November of this year. Anybody who would be interested in volunteering to dig this site is highly encouraged to check the FLMNH website for volunteer opportunities.

 

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After our short visit in Gainesville we continued north to make Jacksonville by dinner. We have friends in the area and enjoyed catching up with them. The next morning we left early with the intention of making Charleston, SC by noon. Our plans diverted here for the first time from my detailed itinerary. At 70 mph shortly after entering Georgia from Florida we felt an unsettling strong vibration in the car accompanied by a raucous noise. I looked in the rear view mirror just in time to see the tread from our driver-side rear tire flying through the air. Luckily, there was nobody directly behind us and we were in the outside lane at the time. I brought the car to a stop well off the road and got out to see what had happened. In short, the tire had catastrophic tread separation. As the tread peeled itself off the tire the rotation allowed the unreeling flap of rubber to beat the snot out of the side of our car. It also managed to rip off the plastic bumper guard that wraps the back of the car. The vibration and noise was not so much from the wheel as it was from this piece of plastic, displaced and flapping wildly in the wind.

 

It took a bit of time to unload my dive gear, sifting screens, and all manner of other items from the trunk so that I could access the spare tire and tools. I had barely got the lug nuts loose when the flashing lights of a roadside assistance truck pulled up behind us (CHAMP—Coordinated Highway Assistance & Maintenance Program). I was just trying to figure out how to operate the tiny scissor jack that came with the car when the guy got out of his truck and said that those type of jacks scared him to death. It moments he used the much safer, quicker, but not trunk-size hydraulic jack to prop up the car for the spare tire. I’m really glad that help had arrived so quickly (without so much as a call from us). We would have been there for some time since I had inflated all four tires to the proper operating pressure before this roadtrip but the spare tire had not even crossed my mind. In fact, I was pretty sure the car had a spare but I’d never had to use it in the nine years I’d owned this car. The spare was (of course) completely flat. A few minutes later and the compressor onboard the truck rectified that oversight and the spare was firmly secured to the car. Our knight in shining armor even had some delightfully dayglow duct tape to secure the loose piece of plastic so that it wouldn’t vibrate. We limped our way up many miles to the next main exit with hopes of finding a spare tire.

 

After a bit of searching we managed to find a place that looked like they could install a new tire. Sadly, they didn’t have one in stock that would fit but the owner directed us to his competition just a few buildings down the road. That place had a tire that would fit the vehicle but as it was a Saturday they were totally booked for the day and couldn’t install the tire. I gladly paid for the tire there and drove back to the first place with a smile on my face and a tire in my hand. Before too long we were patched up and back on the road.

 

We had planned on making for Mace Brown of Natural History on the campus of the College of Charleston but, as the museum closes at 4pm, our delays meant that we didn’t arrive till close to dinnertime. We added Mace Brown to our list of places that we’ll pick up on a future visit to the area. After checking into our hotel we drove down to the campus for a nice dinner and to walk around Charleston and the campus area. One of my cousin’s daughters attends this campus but as it was summer break she was not in town. It’s a beautiful area and a revisit of Charleston is already on our travel to-do list.

 

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The following morning, after a bit more sightseeing in Charleston, we completed the journey to Carolina Beach, NC. We met-up with Chuck and also met Wanda and George who came up from the Atlanta, GA are for this trip. The record for the most distance traveled for this week’s diving goes to Stephan who flew in from Germany (and has done so for the last several years). The last member of our party, Jennifer, was coming down from New York but was delayed a few days but joined the group midweek.

 

The plan for diving was to get to bed early, rise early, be ready to either go out on the dive boat or to receive the dreaded call that conditions were unfavorable for the long trip offshore to the ledges and the day was a scrub. The marine forecast was not looking very promising with 4-6’ seas and 25 knot winds making things somewhere between uncomfortable and dangerous. We did surprisingly manage to get out on the first day and I got my introduction to diving the Meg Ledges and finding shark teeth at depth far from shore. Because the conditions were rough and the skies dumping rain we only made it out to one of the more inshore ledges but this was a good intro for the newbie to the group.

 

Basically, a day of diving the Meg Ledges consists of the following: Rising early and heading out to the offshore site. These sites are anywhere from 18 to 40 miles offshore. With heavy seas and pelting rain to limit visibility, this tends to be a 2+ hour trip out to the site. Thankfully, some wise person had the bright idea to stash several 1970’s style bean bag chairs on the boat for the travel portion of the day. Once we were going these bean bags came out and we found a place on deck to plop down and chill for the long ride. Once out at the site the plan is to get in 2-3 dives. These are deeper than your average recreational dive and to reduce the amount of Nitrogen absorbed during the dive we were using a mixed gas called Nitrox which contains 32% instead of 21% Oxygen (and a correspondingly less percentage of Nitrogen). Too much Nitrogen diffusing into bodily tissues is a problem for divers as it limits our dive time (bottom time) before we would have to do lengthy decompression stops to let the Nitrogen safely diffuse out at a safe depth before surfacing. The boat’s insurance only covered non-decompression diving so even with this Oxygen-enriched air we still had relatively short dive times. Depending on the depth our first dive might only last around 35 minutes on the bottom. We waited a minimum of one hour for our “surface interval” between dives to allow more Nitrogen to offgas but not all excess Nitrogen leaves the body in this short of a time so the dive times get reduced for the second and third dives of the day till the last dive is barely 20 minutes of time to scramble around on the bottom attempting to retrieve meg teeth.

 

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The activities on these short dives are pretty simple. The visibility is not always very good (especially after rain storms and high seas) so after jumping off the back of the boat we follow the anchor line down to where the anchor was set by the mate who had placed it specifically and securely. Once on the bottom we take out a spool of line and attach the free end to the anchor chain. This allows us to swim away from the safety of the anchor line for some distance and still be able to follow the line back to the anchor line which we use to guide our ascent at the end of the dive. The procedure is basically to try to find an area with teeth and put them in your mesh bag (it’s not rocket science at this point). The technique and experience comes in figuring out where the teeth might be hiding. On my first dive I followed the general direction of the other divers (having let them go in first). While careful not to crowd the others I struck out in a direction and found some rocky areas on the very flat open bottom.

 

There is a small rocky ledge visible where the anchor is secured but mostly you are swimming out over very open flat bottom with bits of algae growing here or there. Occasionally, you’d see a fragment of whale bone or other identifiable object on the ground and these areas were often productive. I found some reasonably thick sand at one point and, while waving your hand to blow away the loose sand, it is pretty easy to excavate a shallow depression in the bottom. It is important to keep an eye on what is appearing from the sand and then quickly disappearing back into the cloud of fine silt kicked up by the activity. I soon realized not to keep the mesh bag open and nearby while doing this as I came back up with quite a bit of fine gravel along with my intentional finds. There are several species of fishes: porgies, pinfishes, and small seabass that have learned to take advantage of the disturbance on the bottom from the fossil hunters. They eagerly await their chance only inches away hoping to spot a tasty invertebrate worm or brittlestar that they can gobble up before you even notice.

 

It didn’t take long to realize that the teeth that were in better condition tended to be buried further down in the sediment. I picked up some nice small megs as well as some makos and even great whites. My favorite fossils on the first dive had to be the nice caramel colored chubutensis (an ancestor of the megalodon with interesting little side cusps). We don’t get these down in South Florida so they were a special treat. I also learned that many of the larger teeth are lying on the surface under just a shallow layer of sediment. Covering more distance waving at the surface rather than excavating was also productive. It resulted in more larger teeth but the ones at the surface tend to be more worn or broken with lots of missing enamel. Nice condition large teeth are out there to be found but are a lot less common than the small ones in good condition or the larger ones that are bruised and battered.

 

In the end I did come up with some beautiful smaller teeth including several great whites which are more common there than in South Florida. There were also many of the same types of teeth that we see in the Peace River, Hemipristis, Physogaleus contortus, and lots of makos. It was the chance at larger megs that was the main draw. I managed to score a few interestingly ugly 5.5” megs with significant enamel peeling and two badly broken monsters that would likely have been near the 7” size class. The most unusual fossil of the week for me was a nice rooted sperm whale tooth, probably Kogiopsis so says our resident odontocete expert @Boesse.

 

We fell into an easy pattern hoping each morning to get out and on the days we did hunting feverishly for the few minutes we had on the bottom to see what we could retrieve. While the forecast was for improvement as we days rolled on, the calm seas always seemed to be pushed off to “tomorrow”. On the last day the seas were flat enough that we were finally able to get to the deepest offshore ledge (along with a flotilla of other boats that were all waiting as patiently for the seas to calm). The deeper site has a better chance for larger teeth but they are more scarce there and with the deeper water (I got to 124 feet) there is less time to search for them. We didn’t score any truly great condition monster megs—but they ARE out there and hopefully will wait for our return.

 

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On one of the days we got blown out and couldn’t dive, Tammy and I decided to invoke one of our alternative activities rather than sitting around all day in our room. We jumped in the car and set the GPS for Aurora, NC—home of the Aurora Fossil Museum. After an enjoyable trip through the smaller roads of North Carolina, we arrived at the tiny town of Aurora. It was not difficult to spot the museum with its large gravel pits across the street. We left the pits till later and wandered through the exhibits inside the museum. There were lots of great fossils to see from the local Lee Creek Phosphate Mine. There were also some nice modern shark jaws including a particular favorite of mine—the Cookiecutter Shark, Isistius brasiliensis. We spotted a display of associated set of Paradotus benedeni teeth (a relatively rare shark species). This set had been found by George Powell @powelli1 and were donated to the Smithsonian Intuition. The dentition displayed at the Aurora Fossil Museum were casts. We were to see another set of casts and the man who made them and discovered the original teeth later in the week.

 

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After we’d had our fill of the museum we headed back out to our car to pick up some sifting screens and baggies to take away some micro-matrix to pick through later back home. There were a number of visitors out at the gravel piles with their kids and grand kids. It had been raining heavily throughout North Carolina for the past week and they informed us in the museum that the heavy equipment had come that morning to turn-over the piles to expose new (and very wet) material. It was quickly apparent that the fine window screen that I use to pass through the finer sand while sifting for micro-matrix was not going to be of any use with this wet and sticky micro-gravel. Instead, we used the ¼” sifting screen to remove any larger items and filled a few baggies with the finer bits that fell through the sifter. The kids quickly realized that the sifting screens helped to quickly reveal some of the larger shark teeth. As we were only interested in harvesting a bit of micro-matrix for later perusal, we were happy to help the kids sift for teeth. I’m not quite sure who had more fun—us or the kids (it was probably a tie). We had fun identifying the teeth that we could for the kids and took pictures of their proud finds to remember this fun time. Finally, hot and sticky and quite a bit dirtier than we’d been just a short time earlier, we packed it in and headed back down to Carolina Beach.

 

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After the diving portion of this trip we said goodbye to our new fossil friends and while they went their separate ways we made a beeline for Greenville, NC. Don @sixgill pete organized a group of locals to meet-up for a fossil hunt on the Green Mill Run (GMR) creek that courses through Greenville, NC. It was great to see so many TFF members for this outing—we met @AshHendrick, @NCFossils, @RickNC, and youth member Tyler @Wolf89. We were worried that the recent torrential rains in the area would make the creek too deep to hunt but the section we walked through was well drained and not very deep at all. It was fun to use our sifting skills gained working the Peace River in Florida to hunt for new types of fossils far from home. Since the GMR cuts through a variety of strata back to the Cretaceous (Peedee Formation), there are a wider range of fossil finds possible. One of the first Cretaceous items to be seen were the Exogyra oyster shells. As oyster shells tend to be calcitic rather than being composed of aragonite, they stand the test of time and survive to the present where most other shells of this age would only be found as hollow molds. Also commonly preserved from this formation are the amber colored belemnites (Belemnitella americana). These conical internal shells of a squidlike animal are quite common and fun to find (especially for those who’ve never seen these before). We enjoyed the novelty of Crow Shark (Squalicorax) and Goblin Shark (Scapanorhynchus) teeth but the highlight of the day was seeing Tyler come away with a nice set of smaller reworked meg teeth and the really impressive great white tooth with awesome color.

 

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We checked into our hotel in Greenville and then took time out to do some laundry to restock our supply of clean clothes. While waiting for a load to dry I perused TripAdvisor in search of a decent pizza restaurant (I was jonesing for a good pie). I struck paydirt when I turned up a recently opened restaurant in town called Luna. We liked this place so much we had dinner both nights we were in Greenville. The following morning we poked around a bit more in GMR till we were satisfied with the experience (and our little cache of finds). We then cleaned up and headed over to meet with George Powell. @powelli1. Don said that our visit to Greenville would not be complete if we didn’t drop in on this local legend. We’re really glad we took Don’s advice and contacted George for a visit. I think the term “personal museum” was coined for George (if not BY George). The hours flew by as we got a personal tour of George’s collection. The room was filled with more than just the fossils he’d found over the years—it is a museum with artifacts of the various facets of a remarkable life well lived. We talked enjoyably so far into the night that we barely made it back to Luna for another meal of world-class pizza before they closed for the night. We ended up chatting with the staff and when they recognized that we were the couple who were chatting with the owner the night before they said they had something to show me. The previous night we discussed with the owner that the reason for our visit to Greenville was to visit George and to hunt for fossils in the GMR. He had instructed the staff to show us a tooth he had found years ago in the GMR. It turned out to be a really nice (and large) great white tooth with perfect serrations and root. Before long I was pulling in my bag of Carolina Beach shark teeth to show the staff at the restaurant who really had no idea that crazy big shark teeth like that were hiding out in the waters offshore.

 

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The following day we headed west to the Raleigh area to visit with Eric @Al Dente and his wife Teri. While I was out diving for meg teeth during the day earlier in the trip, Tammy busied herself traveling around the greater Wilmington area and also looking for things to do in North Carolina. She had realized that Mount Airy, NC—the birthplace of Andy Griffith wasn’t too far of an overshoot of our route and so we planned a short visit to this quaint little town. You can easily see that the fictional town of Mayberry was based on Mount Airy and the nearby town of Pilot Mountain became Mount Pilot in the series.

 

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Dawdling too much in the Andy Griffith Museum and walking around Mount Airy combined with rush hour traffic once we were back in the Raleigh area meant that we arrived tardy for our appointed visit later that evening. Eric and Teri took us out to a really great Indian restaurant and we once again feasted upon a great meal in North Carolina. After dinner we had some time to look through Eric’s fossil collection. Though based on a great diversity of shark teeth and echinoids, his collection is actually quite extensive and well rounded. I particularly liked his displays of the tiny micro-fossils he’s found picking through various local micro-matrix sources. While we could have talked fossils into the wee hours we tried not to overstay our welcome too much and with tugging from Tammy managed to break me free from conversation so that we could make it back to our hotel for the night.

 

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At Eric’s prompting we visited the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The museum is really two separate museums connected by an overhead walkway. We found street parking right in front of the entrance to the Nature Research Center portion of the museum and we were entranced by the great interactive exhibits and laboratories. In the few hours we were there we never even made it over to the more classical Nature Exploration Center portion of the museum to see the collections. We made note to spend a complete day (or more) visiting the museum next time we were in town.

 

From this point we had reached our apogee in the trip and finally turned the car south again making for South Carolina. I have family in the Hartsfield, SC area and we briefly visited for the night. We enjoyed a nice boardwalk tour through a shady riparian forest. The following morning post breakfast we had but a short drive to visit our final TFF member of the roadtrip. Early on during the planning of this trip I had contacted John @snolly50 to see if he was available for us to drop in for a visit. We still had to put on many more miles and make it back down to Jacksonville again by dinner but the prospect of spending some time chatting with the forum’s Poet Laureate could not be missed. Instead of chatting briefly and then heading out for a lunch in a restaurant somewhere in town, John’s wife Kathy offered to cook us a wonderful meal. The company was delightful, the food delicious, and the conversation stimulating. What more could you ask for of the finale to our TFF meet-ups on this trip? Unfortunately, my little Olympus TG-4 camera seems to have developed a focusing issue lately and many of my photos of this entire trip are sadly best viewed through squinted eyes. Luckily, at least one photo of the palatial Snolly Estate survives to document our visit. It’s one that John took with me stuffing my gob with a tasty assortment of fruits, cheeses and crackers.

 

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After another night staying with friends in Jacksonville, FL we were in the correct state and within striking distance of home. Rather than drive these final 5 hours in one stretch we decided to drop in on more friends in the Merritt Island area. Jake works for NASA and his wife Lynn works with me on data management for one of my other passions/interests/hobbies—coral reef research. Besides visiting with them and seeing their new house (and new baby) we had a few other reasons for visiting the area. Several years ago we had visited the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) where we took in the visitor’s center and took tours of the launch complex, the Shuttle launch control room, and the gargantuan Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). At the time Space Shuttle Atlantis was parked in the VAB and we got to see it there. They were in the middle of construction of the museum that would eventually house this historic spacecraft. Once the foundation was completed, the Shuttle was lifted into place on enormous mounting pillars and then the rest of the museum was completed around the Shuttle. As this museum had now been open for over 5 years, we thought it high time we visited. Being able to see Atlantis up close is really fascinating and I encourage anybody who has not already visited this iconic artifact of our space program to make plans to correct that oversight.

 

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The very last thing we had to check off our list before this trip was complete was to get out and collect some Merritt Island micro-matrix. This is a unique micro-matrix that is composed almost entirely of shell hash with truly tiny micro-fossils, phosphate stained a dark black making for an easy high-contrast search. This locality was brought to the forum’s attention by John @Sacha and perhaps made even more famous by Juliana @oldbones when her micro-finds included a tree frog phalanx earning it the name “Frog Toe Micro-matrix”. I knew that the FLMNH was interested in the items that were coming out of this micro-matrix and so I wanted to try to pick up a supply of this so that I could occupy my time while waiting for the dry season and the official start of the South Florida fossil hunting season.

 

With information from John, I planned my final collecting mission of this trip. I arranged to rent some kayaks and Tammy and I headed out on a very overcast morning. Our collecting effort was delayed for a bit while we enjoyed the company of a family group of 4 manatee frolicking in the opaque muddy waters of a small cove. Though they were only feet below us, the murky water meant that the only way to track them was to look for the eddies of churned water erupting from swishes of their great paddle shaped tails or a brief snort as they surfaced just enough of their snouts to exchange a fresh breath of air. It was intoxicating hovering above these unseen sea cows and occasionally feeling them swim directly under the kayak. They often spun around and rolled over doing exposing protruding belly buttons or splashing their big spatulate tail flukes to power back down to the bottom. We were happy to inconspicuously enjoy this display without being flipped out of our kayaks into the murky waters.

 

We located a spot where we were able to collect some bags of this shell hash and hoped we were in the correct location. John had mentioned that he collected not far from the spot of his initial collection and found the shell hash to be non-fossiliferous. Given how tiny the fossils are, we wouldn’t know for sure if we were successful till we were able to dry and then pick through a sample to see if we were on the correct spot (we were). The ominous skies were opening the spigot and dousing areas all around us with downpours of heavy rain. It wasn’t long before the odds caught up with us and it was our turn to get soaked. We planned for this eventuality and the rain signaled the end of our collecting. We scurried back to shore and looked much like drowned rats by the time we got there. Luckily, Tammy has a good sense of humor and after we were able to change into some dry clothes we drove the final leg back home. We arrived early enough to clean out the messy car, start some laundry, and I was even able to was my micro-matrix collections and start them drying on a tarp on the driveway.

 

Though we left a few things to do next time we are in the area, the journey went largely according to plan (new tire notwithstanding). We met a good number of TFF members and other fossil hunters and they were, without exception, some of the nicest people you’d want to hang out with or meet in the field on a fossil hunt. We had a number of new experiences and found novel fossils with which remember these experiences. By the time we pulled in the driveway and shut off the car we had spent 17 days on this roadtrip and driven 2912 miles (next time we’ll aim to surpass 3K).

 

[Thanks for making it to the end--kinda feels like it took 17 days since you started reading this, doesn't it?] :)

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

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Hi Ken

 

Great report and thanks for your kind words about me and my collection.  You & Tammy had a dream trip and you found  Mount Airy, alright. You all come back any time. George

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Awesome report full of awesome eye candy, thanks for sharing! Makes me think I live in the wrong Mount Airy...

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1 hour ago, WhodamanHD said:

Awesome report full of awesome eye candy

Eye candy is one of my strengths. My little Olympus TG-4 has been dependable for the last couple of years but recently it seems to have a bit of a mind of its own and petulantly refuses to focus in what should be a reasonably well lit setting. Had it not been for camera issues, you'd still be scrolling through images. :P

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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41 minutes ago, digit said:

Eye candy is one of my strengths. My little Olympus TG-4 has been dependable for the last couple of years but recently it seems to have a bit of a mind of its own and petulantly refuses to focus in what should be a reasonably well lit setting. Had it not been for camera issues, you'd still be scrolling through images. :P

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

And instead of being lightly doused my keyboard would be swamped in drool! 

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Uncle Siphuncle

I'm nitrox certified and would love to make that meg dive.

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Ancient Bones

What a great trip ! I really enjoyed reading about all you managed to accomplish and the interesting people met along the way, not to mention your finds !   

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Wonderful report Ken.

Glad You and Tammy had a good trip and got to meet up with so many TFF members.

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Great read, Ken. Good thing I had a half an hour to spare :)

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2 hours ago, Ludwigia said:

Good thing I had a half an hour to spare :)

That's only 1 TV show and I will say well worth reading!!!!! I enjoyed it immensely, the combo of fossils and friends!

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10 hours ago, Uncle Siphuncle said:

I'm nitrox certified and would love to make that meg dive.

Nothing stopping you. :) The dive shop we went out with is called Carolina Beach Scuba out of Carolina Beach (what a coincidence). :P There are probably several other companies running boats out of the greater Wilmington, NC area. The trips are several hours from shore and so these dives are more expensive than your average recreational dive but they are great fun and an unusual method of hunting for meg teeth. If you've got the certification, I'd consider giving it a try. Keep in mind that bad weather and rough seas can keep the boat from going out so to increase your chances of finding some nice teeth, planning a multi-day trip is advised.

 

1 hour ago, minnbuckeye said:

I enjoyed it immensely, the combo of fossils and friends!

"Fossils and Friends" would have been a great alternative title for this topic. Meeting up with folks along the way was just as fun as fossil hunting--and double fun when we could combine the two.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Wow I love those meg teeth you found :wub: And of course all the other things too :envy:

Would love to hunt there once!! Thanks for the trip report! 

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