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Matoaka Beach, MD & Calvert Marine Museum trip

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This is part 2 of my Maryland fossil hunting trip on Chesapeake Bay.


Be patient with me as I tell my stories. There are lots and lots of fossil pics to come, especially shark teeth from the Calvert Marine Museum. I know there is a Trip to the Museum section, but since many of the fossils I found hunting that day were on display at the museum I deemed it appropriate to combine the two in one post.

I planned to drive to Matoaka Beach to hunt, but I would pass by the Calvert Marine Museum. Several people had recommended visiting it. @BobWill had even given me the name of someone who volunteered at the museum, Mike Elwoods. When I got there the turn was coned off. I had to drive 1/4 mile and circle back by another route. There was a field across from the museum filled with cars. It was just after 10:00 but there were people all over the place.


It was Patuxant River Appreciation Day. A big community event with 2 live bands, free boat rides in a nice sail boat, free paddle boats and then the old fashioned row boat with ores. There was also face panting, little sailboat building tables ( the boats looked amazing for the little kids building them, with adult assistance of course). There were all kinds of venders and arts and craft booths and food and drink booths. On one end of the complex a good size stage with a rock band playing. On the other end there was a band playing jazz and big band music, think Benny Goodman, if you know who he was. I’ve been a fan of big band, Benny Goodman and Glen Miller since I was 12. My music tastes are pretty eclectic. 


I had to park about 1/4 mile down the street and walk past the quaint houses.

I walked into the museum and up to the receptionist to buy a $9.00 ticket. She said that today everything was free. Yay!! I asked if there happened to be a Mike Elwoods there. She said yes and told me how to get to the prep lab. I followed her instructions, but came to a hands on fossil table where 2 men sat. I asked one of them if he could point me to Mike Elwoods. He said that was him. I introduced myself and told him Bob Williams said I should look him up. I told him I was a member of the DPS. Fossil tales and discussions ensued.

I looked at the interactive material and took pics of a bunch of it. Here is what I did take pics of on the display table that you could touch and pick up.


I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photography. The museum was kind of a hit and run kind of thing so I was trying to get through it all quickly so I could get some good hunting in since this was my last day.


A shark tooth display case on the table.



This meg tooth was one of Mike’s recent finds. He let me hold it. He had a foam replica of a much larger one. The foam

one was for kids to hold and look at.

He said the smaller one’s like this are found around Maryland. The larger ones he said were found in more recent formations in the Carolina’s.



I found a number of single bar fragments at Brownie’s Beach of at least 3 kinds I think, but I thought it was cool to see the bite surface is the smooth surface.



In hind sight I wish I had gotten straight on pics of each of these little shark teeth cards. These were easier to photograph than those on display, which were in poor lighting and behind glass.















I believe the loose pieces are crocodile material not dolphin.



I did find one of these Only mine is a bit more translucent.



These are dolphin ear bones. The one on the left is phosphatized.


I took many pics at the museum. I’ll share more of those later.



He wanted me to come to the prep lab to show me a bunch of echinoids he had recently found, which had fallen from the cliffs near his home on the bay. I happily obliged.

The prep lab was small, but the shelves were lined with cool fossils found in the cliffs and on beaches of the area.

These are the echinoids he found that he wanted to show me. There were boxes of them unprepped on the shelf. I think he said he found 60 something. Don’t quote me though.



There was a work table in the middle of the small room with a plaster cast with a whale jaw in it in the process of being prepped. The skull was in a box on a cart at the end of the table.

You can see the ear bone there in the middle.



The whale jaw. He said they were almost done with this side, then they were going to plaster it, flip it over and prep the other side. I asked what glue they were using on it. He said B-var, but I can’t remember which. I think 72.



He said the skull had been found in the cliffs on the beach nearby after a recent avalanche. When they cast it and removed it another whale skull was found behind it. That one was supposedly still in the cliff. Later in the day I found out exactly where it was found.


These are other whale items on the shelves.



I saw this and my jaw dropped in awe of the coolness factor and how it looked. I thought it was glued together or contrived somehow, but things are as they found them.


It was found on a beach outside of St. Mary’s City. He said this is all reworked material. Nobody even recognized the material or knew of any place with this kind of matrix with this mix of fauna in it. It was found washed up on the beach.

I don’t have any starfish in my echinoid collection, but I think a starfish would be in my top 5 bucket list of things to find. I recently found a site about 2 hrs from where I live where they have been found. So I’m Jones’n To take a trip there. Trilobites are in the fauna list too for the site near me. I don’t expect I’ll find either, but I gotta try.

Anyway, Mike said to his knowledge starfish had 

The color is a little off in the pic. The matrix is a light gray without a yellow component in it as best I recall, like what is seen in the 2nd pic.


This is a close up of one of the starfish with shell material in it. I see phosphatized gastropods and 2 species of turitella I think.



This was on tje workbench in front of the prep room observation window. I commented on how cool it was and was in the process of taking a pic of it when Mike said “Oh, the scallop? We have lots of those.” He pulled a box of shells from the shelf with large gastropods, sea shells and scallops. He held it out and told me to “ Take what I wanted.” I chose a large complete scallop valve. I’ll post it in the next post.


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This is the scallop Mike let me take. I thought the hinge was broken off, but he said it was not. I have an eye for good things. This was at the bottom of the box under everything else. It needs some cleaning up. It still has sand on it.

It is right at 15 cm or 6 inches at its widest.

It is a Chespectin nephrens.


The inside of the shell.


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Here are some more fossils from Calvert Marine Museum. I’ll refer to it as CMM hereafter.

I have been referring to these pics a lot for ID of what I found on the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay. Sorry for the poor quality. Poor lighting with glass makes for a bad combination with a camera phone.

More pics to follow. More shark teeth too.










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Looks like a you had quite the trip. How do you find the time to post all this info?!:)

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More fossils from CMM. I collected several of these species of shell from this pic home.



I think I may have found one of each of these too. The Cockle shells did not hold up well. They were very fragile.



I believe I collected tongue clams and maybe 1 Venus clam too.



I brought home a number of Quahog-Venus clam. They were one of the more stable clams, but the detail is fragile. I also bought home one like that in the top left, but mine also had the issue with it flaking away like the one in the pic.



Hum, the surf clam and the Quahog one look quite similar. I’ll have to check the hinge on the ones I have.

I did manage to collect both valves of  a Geoduck. Although one piece of the shell broke in transite home. I can glue it back though. I found one enormous one. Almost twice the size of other ones, but it was too fragile.



I did find a couple pieces of coral and a fragmentnof a large barnacle cluster.



The lady I hunted with found a spider crab claw and gave it to me, but I can’t find it for the life of me. I hope I didn’t lose it.

I found a number of pieces of sand dollar. I thought they were turtle shell at first




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We love that museum! I'm a member even though I'm 90 minutes away...anytime we have a weekend with nothing scheduled we head over to Solomons.

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12 hours ago, Darktooth said:

Looks like a you had quite the trip. How do you find the time to post all this info?!:)

Yes, posting it does take time. Writing the story takes me the longest. I had today off of work.

Somehow I get real productive posting when I’m procrastinating doing something I don’t want to do.

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4 minutes ago, RCW3D said:

We love that museum! I'm a member even though I'm 90 minutes away...anytime we have a weekend with nothing scheduled we head over to Solomons.

Maybe you could get Mike Elwoods’ email address for me. He gave me a business card and I told him I’d send him some stuff. I think I lost his card out hunting. 

I could call the museum I suppose. Or maybe @BobWill has his email address.

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Thank you for posting these pictures! It's like taking a walk through the museum! I really appreciate you taking the time to post all this!


I'm also glad your trip was successful and fun, and hopefully healing for you as well. 

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10 hours ago, KimTexan said:

Maybe you could get Mike Elwoods’ email address for me. He gave me a business card and I told him I’d send him some stuff. I think I lost his card out hunting. 

I could call the museum I suppose. Or maybe @BobWill has his email address.

I'll message it along after I see if I can find the snail-mail for you. I'm so glad he got back in town in time to meet up with you. Mike and Cathy are great folks and even their dog Reba was pretty good company.

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11 minutes ago, BobWill said:

I'll message it along after I see if I can find the snail-mail for you. I'm so glad he got back in town in time to meet up with you. Mike and Cathy are great folks and even their dog Reba was pretty good company.

Thank you Bob.

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Continuing with the museum. These are some more fossil related displays followed by a few from the aquarium section.

I apologize again for the quality of pics. I was taking them more for my own purposes.


These are just a few of the displays from animals from the Calvert Cliffs area I believe.

Miocene croc



Fossilized wood material



This is their sculpted representation of a megalodon. It looked pretty weird. The gills looked the weirdest.


Pic of their representation of the gills from the side.





Ambulocetus skull whatever critter that is.



Whale skull superimposed over what an artistic representation of a whale head.



A sculpted representation of a type of Plesiosaur, a filter feeder.




These are just a small small sampling of the aquarium tanks.

I have loved seahorses since I was a kid. My grandmother lived in Florida and my dad and other family members went scuba diving at times. They would bring my grandmother stuff back. She had a Florida room on her house. It was like a screened in patio. Anyway, she had dried seahorses, fan corals and so many other cool things out there and around her house from the ocean. the seahorses were my favorite. They seem mystical like little water unicorns or fairies. They also seem very elegant (although they are awkward while swimming) and so cute with how they wrap their tails around thinks to stabilize.



This is a good sized crab





I absolutely loved their jelly fish display. It was circular and the lighting triggered their bioluminescence. Sorry for posting 3 pics. Hope it isn’t overkill. 



Closeups of some of them





Tiger fish looking pretty neat. Love the detail.



There se was more to the aquarium, but I didn’t want to overdo it.


There is a lot more to the museum downstairs. They had Native American stuff, early colonial stuff, a bunch of boat related stuff. They had a pretty large outboard motor collection from very early models to more recent. 

They also had fishing and oystering and crab catching related displays, tools of the trades and such.

They also had an otter tank. They were fun to watch. A lady looking at them said she had some where she lived, but they kept killing her ducks.


They had a significant collection of boats, sale boats, fishing boats, canoes, and boats for pleasure like water skiing and others. I won’t bore you with pics from those, but if anyone is interested I will post them.

I do have more fossil pics, which I believe may be Cretaceous material from Maryland. I’ll post those next.

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These next pics are from the 2nd floor of the museum. They only had fossil displays up there.

These were the hardest to photograph. Often the teeth were in magnification boxes, which made it near impossible for me to get detail due to light refractory off the magnification plus the acrylic display cases. So, I am just posting these mostly so people know what types of fossil remains may be found in Maryland. 

I know the pic quality is poor.

This is a mososaur skull.



The others all self explanatory.








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These next few are croc and turtle from the Severn Formation, which is early Cretaceous.

I included pics of the signs the help know what the scientific names referred to.

I have more fossils from CMM to post still.








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35 minutes ago, KimTexan said:

Ambulocetus skull whatever critter that is.




Ambulocetus means "walking whale" I remember it from my son's BBC prehistoric life dvds.  They believe it is a transitional animal from land based mammals to whales. 

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I have never visited the museum, as whenever I am in the area it's always for a short visit and I have preferred to spend the day fossil hunting.  Your photo tour has convinced me that I should take the time to check out the museum.  Thanks!



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5 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

I have never visited the museum, as whenever I am in the area it's always for a short visit and I have preferred to spend the day fossil hunting.  Your photo tour has convinced me that I should take the time to check out the museum.  Thanks!



I still have more to post. It isn’t that big of a museum. You could easily walk through it in less than an hour depending upon how long you look at stuff reading the info. 

One shortfall I noticed was that it did not note what formations things came from, unless it was at the very beginning where the interactive tables where and I missed it. 

The teeth on the interactive table had general location and geologic age. The first teeth in the wood box had all the info, but the items on perminant display downstairs didn’t have anything other than name unless I missed it.

Upstairs they kind of had the geologic group, but it was on signs on the walls.


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More of the upstairs. There are even cute little dino tracks.










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I am not sure how realistic this thing is. It looks like something from the Flintstones or something. It is sculpted.131F1E42-3B29-40EF-9265-B4B8339015D2.thumb.jpeg.100d690fc9cebcc902d3b975e0330b8f.jpeg




This item is a cast A6B25DC8-5EC4-4682-BC05-5D4F8088BD09.thumb.jpeg.3ca2126be18edf3be07016f1d65a640d.jpeg


The other items are self explanatory. This is it for the museum. 

They did have a tank of ray skates, which were really cool to see. They had lights behind them so you could see the baby attached to the yolk sack wiggling.






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After I left CMM I drove the short drive to Matoaka Beach Cabins. You have to turn off a paved road and drive for maybe 1.5 miles on a narrow dirt road. This is the road driving in.



Maybe half a mile before the cabin are some tent sites for camping. There were a number of campers there. The lots were large with lush green grass and very quiet and serene. There was forest separating the various lots so they seemed nicely secluded. I don’t know if there were any shower facilities available to campers. There was a port-o-potty. Some of the camp sites looked like they may even have an overlook of the beach.


The cabins were nothing fancy. They were very basic and simple. I think only 1 had an AC window unit.

I parked my car in an area near the cabins.

It wasn’t obvious where the office was. I got out and walked towards a couple loading wood into a pickup truck. I told the lady I wanted to walk the beach. She said it would be $5 and I could play to my heart’s content. I paid and then went back to my car to change my shoes and get my backpack. 

The path was on the far right side of the complex facing the beach. I stopped to take a pic of the view. It was pretty. This is a view looking across Chesapeake Bay to the other side. It’s the thin dark line in the distance.



This one is looking North up the beach from above. The beach or coast curves eastward.



I walked down onto the beach. The beach was not very wide from the water to the enbankment or trees. Maybe 20 feet max. The water was a bit turbid, but I could tell the bottom sloped very gently out into the bay.

There was a family and other people to the right (south) on the beach, but only 2 people to the left walking south. So I went left (North). I walked a while, but wasn’t finding shark teeth or shells like I expected to find. While walking a few other people entered the beach and walked North as well.

This is the beach looking North.



As many beaches often have unpleasant odors, this was not different. There was the occasional dead fish on the beach. But the odor was stronger than one or 2 little fish. Finally I came to the source. It was a dead dolphin. It looked like it had been there a few days. Yuck.



Other people the were behind me passed me and waljed down to the first fallen tree

and then turned around. Others did the same. I thought if that was the case I may have some luck after all.



I walked passed it and kept going down the beach. I might have been walking an hour. I wasn’t finding much. I did find iron concretion type flat rocks with unusual patterns on some of them. I picked a few up. I started getting a headache. It got worse. I had not drank anything since I got onto the beach. It was maybe 1:30. I found a fallen tree and sat down on it to eat a protein bar and a drink. I sat there for quite a while just enjoying the solitude, peacefulness of it. I was waiting for my headache to go away. 

I saw a shark tooth hunter walking my way up the beach. I thought I’d let her pass and then I’d move on. She got to me and asked if I was having any luck. I showed her the iron plates and said I thought they could be something, but I wasn’t finding teeth or shells. We talked a bit and then moved down the beach together. I have no idea how long we hunted together. But time flew and we were having the most delightful time together talking about fossils, life, our kids and family. We really hit it off. Her name was Kim as well. We were both pretty close in age, but her 4 kids were grown, the youngest was 18.

Kim hunted the area fairly often for teeth and bones. She lived about 2 hours away. She and her husband were on vacation that week at the cabins. This was one of her favorite beaches.

I’ll post the hunting pics next.

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As we walked we came to an exposed embankment. Kim told me I could find intact shells here, but they were fragile. She pointed to some up in the embankment overhead.

This is the enbankment and Kim.



I climbed up on the clay ledge and found an intact gastropod sitting on the ledge. It was pretty fragile. It was a moon snail, Polinices duplicatus. They were fairly common, but often quite fragile.

I got busy talking and forgot to take pictures.

Once we got past this point avalanches became common and there was not much of any stretch of the beach that didn’t have avalanche material. From this point on we spent a lot of time picking through avalanche material, which was full of shells and shell fragments. Kim was wonderful. She kept finding special little things like a fossil crab claw and ray tooth bar, gastropods and such and she gave them all to me! I was surprised by her generosity. 

I kept coming across these large clams. Kim tried to dig one out for me with get knife. I had brought a garden spade, but forgot I had a chisel in my pact until I found it there. This was a pretty big one, but it crumbled too. I attempted another time to get one. It crumbled too. These are Panopea americana, known as Geoduck clams.


I did eventually get one. I just happened to see it in avalanche material already loose in the dirt. This is it.



Kim kept telling me a little further ahead was a really good place to hunt. So far much of the avalanche material had a heavy clay component to it, which made for harder collecting. Finally we came to the place. It was another avalanche, but this had more sand mixed in with the clay. The chunks broke more easily and some of the shells I had been trying to collect, but kept crumbling, I was now able to find some decent ones in tack. We collected there for a while. It was maybe 1700 or after and we needed to be heading back.

Getting the shells back in one piece was going to be a real challenge.  I had 2 gallon zip lock bags full. I had a cloth I wrapped my geoduck in but, but so many of the others were so fragile too. My pack was going to be very heavy. I had collected maybe 3 gallon zip locks worth. I was trying to arrange it all in my back pack and carry some of the fragile ones in my hands. 

Kim came over and picked one of the bags up and said she would carry it for me! She was so sweet. We had such a good time.

We both are the only person in our family’s who are fossil crazy. We both enjoy company, but have a difficult time getting anyone to hunt with us. So we were a good pair to meet up that day. She was really good to me.


She was barefoot. Walking on the beach isn’t too much of a problem, but we walked up onto the road back to the cabin.

We had had a talk about wild edible fruits as we walked.

There were chestnuts on the road still in their spiky jackets. Along the way back, along the road Kim said she smelled something sweet. At first I didn’t smell it. She told me it was the smell of ripe pawpaw frui. She asked me if I had ever eaten pawpaw fruit. I said no I had not. Then I began to smell it too. She pointed to some trees and told me they were pawpaw and said we just had to find the fruit. I spotted it kind of high up in a cluster almost like bananas. I pulled a limb to pull the fruit lower and she picked one she thought was ready to eat. This is my first and only pawpaw fruit


If was pretty tasty. Kind of a mango like taste with texture between mango and banana. There were lots of seeds in it maybe the size of a dime.


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We got back to her cabin. She invited me in. Her husband was there. We sat and visited for a while, maybe an hour. I honestly have no idea how long it was.

We talked about a number of things. The conversation flowed easily between the 3 of us. No awkward silences or pauses.


We talked for a bit about some natural remedies or aids for common health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and diabetes. My husband use to call me a nutraceutical evangelist. I am big into the natural stuff and pretty health conscious.

We had a nice visit. I didn’t want to wear out my welcome. She got my Facebook name and requested to be friends so we could exchange info. 


It was getting close to dark and I needed to drive a ways to get to the motel I had arranged for the night in California, MD. It was a Red Roof Inn.

It definitely felt safer than the Motel 6 the night before. I checked in, got my stuff and headed to the room. I walked in, turned on the light and the first thing I noticed were 2 roaches on the wall!! Then a spider. Then more roaches. I dispatched quite a number of them.

There are 2 things that I absolutely hate, that creep me out. I’m not afraid of them, but they give me the creepy crawlies and I am repulsed by them. Roaches and mice/rats. It is the filth and disease they represent. I don’t want them on me. I suppose I could have gone and asked for another room, but if they were this bad in this room, other rooms had to have them too. I wasn’t going to find another hotel tonight. This was the 2nd cheapest and ai couldn’t pay more. This was already out of my range at $84/night. In Texas $84 will get you a pretty decent place. 

I remember as a kid when we use to rent a motel my mother would always asked to see the room before renting it. Hum, maybe I need to start doing that. Anyway, I must have seen a few dozen roaches and killed quite a few.

I had all my fossils I needed to clean. I filled the ice bucket with water and began rinsing them. I rinsed the iron concretions too and laid them on the bathroom counter. I was going to have to pack all these somehow and try to get them home in one piece. I rinsed them all and laid out to dry overnight.  The ice bucket was full of sandy mud. I ended up having to leave the ice bucket full of the sand and mud. There was still water in it so I couldn’t put it in the trash. I couldn’t pour off the water because the mud and sand poured out too. I cleaned up after myself in the morning, with the exception of the ice bucket. I figured it wouldn’t be too much work to clean. I knew I wasn’t going to get anything refunded because of the roaches, but I mentioned the roach issue at check out. The clerk said they had been sprayed by pest control on Thursday, but they should be dying off. They were not dying off. They were alive, well and thriving.


Of the hunting trip my trip Matoaka was a memory maker due to meeting Ms. Kim. She was a lovely, warm and generous woman. Hunting with her made the day.


I haven’t noticed people doing it up north, but in the south a sign of respect is to address women as Ms. or Miss and their first name. Men would be Mr. and first name. But we do it in the south even to our friends. 


I will try to post my finds tomorrow, but here are a couple. The Moon snail



I think this is a Quahog Venus clam. It was one of my favorites for the colors on the shell, reds and some blues. I’ll post more tomorrow.D7829A75-AEBD-4D00-B053-B6E1C647A336.thumb.jpeg.228774cb7b9463e8291ab2d09c17df08.jpeg

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6 hours ago, KimTexan said:

Along the way back, along the road Kim said she smelled something sweet. At first I didn’t smell it. She told me it was the smell of ripe pawpaw frui. She asked me if I had ever eaten pawpaw fruit. I said no I had not. Then I began to smell it too. She pointed to some trees and told me they were pawpaw and said we just had to find the fruit. I spotted it kind of high up in a cluster almost like bananas.

I really like pawpaws but the fruit are difficult to find. I frequently find the plants but they seem to rarely produce fruit. 

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