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Venice/sarasota Area Fossil Scuba Diving And River/quarry Hunting Sites?


PainTheRosesRed

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PainTheRosesRed

Hi, I am going to be spending the summer in Florida with my parents on a key between Sarasota and Venice (10min drive) to Venice. I am looking for options for scuba and other non beach fossil hunting.

I am technically an advanced diver (I have the certification, but I recieved it at a summer camp 6 years ago in a lake and I have never actually been saltwater diving). My parents are not fans of diving and wouldn't let me go alone, until I became an adult (21). I want to go fossil diving down somewhere around Venice, but I don't live down there, so I am very unfamiliar with the territory and don't know of a good diving group to go with. I would also need rental equipment and maybe even a refresher course since it was so long ago. Given that I am a green diver, large groups (12) are not ideal. Any suggestions on groups would be wonderful!

I was also wondering what some good hunting spots in the area are and what kind of fossils would be found? I have so many small sharks teeth, mouth plates, petrified wood from years of snorkeling off the shore, so I was hoping to expand the variety.

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calhounensis

Your best bet for an easy dive would be a charter from Venice. Although a refresher course would be highly recommended, Venice isn't a very difficult dive. You'll be around 20-25 ft. Charter groups usually have small groups, 6 or less and you can get rental gear from their associated shops. You'll need to bring your cert. card to rent anything. Personally, I haven't taken any charters in Venice, I usually do beach dives. I think Aristakat is one of the more popular ones in the area.

Peace River is another possibility. You'll be down there at the start of the rainy season so that may be out of the question.

Other possibilities are land sites. No shortage of them in that area. Anywhere that ground has been broken is a good spot to look.

You mentioned quarries, you will need to join a club if you want to get in one. I believe the Tampa club and the Orlando club both take monthly trips into Vulcan mine. You'll find a variety of fossils from the Oligocene Epoch there (echinoderms, mollusks, and vertebrates).

Edited by calhounensis
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The Tampa club doesn't take any trips to Vulcan during the summer months. From what I understand it's like an oven in the mine pits during the summer.

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Shellseeker

If you want to understand local scuba, look up Aristikat Charters on youtube. If you want to get more info on what you might find in the Peace River, search this forum for the word "Peace".

Scuba charters routinely find large (4-6 inches) Megs, sometimes mammoth/mastodon teeth, whale materials, etc. I got this very nice small one from a friend who was diving off the Aristakat.

post-2220-0-79269000-1429054904_thumb.jpg

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I recommend that you do a refresher before you dive. Venice is easy diving but you still need to be fresh on your skills. Also, spend several days walking the beach learning to see shark teeth if you've never looked for them before. Finding teeth in venice requires a sharp eye and if you don't know what to look for you may not find much. There were several beginners with me on some of my dives and they came up empty handed while the rest of us found teeth.

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