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Another Meg Ledges Trip


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A couple of members have been asking about my recent trip to dive the ledges off Wilmington.  Here is a quick trip summary. We chartered a fast 43ft boat that took us out 42 miles to an area that is a little over 100ft deep. That takes two hours of running to get there.  Then we dive using big 120cu ft HP steel tanks filled with Nitrox (air with more oxygen mixed in it), so that we can stay on the bottom a bit longer than if we were using air. We did two dives on the first day, and returned back 5 more days in a row, diving 3 tanks every day after the first day. We dove 17 dives in six days, all over 100ft. This was the first time I ever got to go out everyday that we were scheduled to go.  The weather is quite variable 42 miles from shore, and it was a gift to get out that many times in a week.  They had to cancel the day before we arrived, and the day after we left.  We had a perfect weather window, but not without hurricane GERT going by to give us 10ft swells for a day. That was a real eye-opener to see how much the swells could move you and the bottom 100ft down.  Everything and everybody was surging back and forth about six feet with each passing wave overhead.  Easy now to see how disturbed the bottom could be over millions of years and thousands of severe storms. 

My final tooth count for the week was: 77 megs,  93 makos, 35 whites, 1 benny, and 2 tiny hemis. I got 1 meg over 6 inches, and around 15 or 20 4's and 5's. A couple huge 2.5 in GW's with no roots, and a decent 2.75 in mako that cleaned up with some nice color. Some dives I came up with almost nothing, and the next dive I needed a lift bag to get them all up...LOL.

 

Everything is big out there... We had a 14ft Tiger shark circle us, I saw 2 Lionfish at the anchor that must have been over 2ft in length, a huge brown sting ray went by along the ledge, and I saw a Lizardfish that had to be a world record 2ft+. It looked like the big iguanas in the Fla Keys.

Here is a before and after pic to prove some of it is true!

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The above picture is before soaking in diluted cider vinegar for a few days.

 

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This is after cleaning. All the teeth to the right of the ruler are the great whites. 

 

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I don't see a lot of quality teeth from out there, but you get a lot of big teeth.  The smaller 2's and 3's are often much nicer condition. If you want better quality you need to dive in the rivers, or hunt the low country on foot...  But if you think it's fun to find a meg in your screen, imagine seeing them laying on the bottom from a few feet away.  The big meg above was laying in plain sight waiting for me to adopt it.

Too much fun...

P.S. I'll be back...

  • I found this Informative 5
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:o so many megs! The whites are real nice to!:envy:

Sounds like it was an adventure to get them!

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Thanks for the report, and particularly for the description of the ocean floor during the storm.

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Wow, awesome finds Chuck!!! Sure wish megs were that plentiful here:fistbump:

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Great report!  Loved reading this one.  and lots of stuff you found too! 

 

RB

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I find this very interesting as it describes the formation of a transgresive lag deposit. 10 or 12 thousand years ago the area was about 200 feet above sea level. As the sea level rose it concentrated resistant clasts such as the meg teeth. Judging by the abundant epibionts this area may well become a thin limestone on top of the lag during this interglacial period. We have another couple meters of transgression (judging from previous warm interglacial periods) which shouldn't change things down there.

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Plax,

 

There is in fact a thin layer of broken up limestone coating the bottom, and the teeth are under it for the most part.  This rubble is "piled-up" against the high rock ledges for a few feet.  As you move out away from the deep area and out closer to the underlying exposed bedrock bottom, there is less and less rubble and teeth to be found.  If you go way out away from the ledges there is little if anything covering the solid bottom.  I also found broken glass buried a foot BELOW 2 big megs while digging a hole with my fanning hand!

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Sweet trip!

 

I wish I could have attended but the siren's call of a total solar eclipse lured me much further west. I know well of the swell of which you speak. I remember hearing once that there is some sort of formula for predicting how deep the swell (back and forth movement underwater) may be felt. I think it was something like twice the distance between wave sets. When you have widely spaced waves out far from shore the swell can be felt deep (and it usually stirs up the visibility in areas with silt on the bottom).

 

Glad you killed out out there and vacuumed up a lot of nice teeth before they were reburied or broken up. Would love to see some close-ups of the GW, makos and some of the nicer smaller teeth. You are going to need a big bowl to hold all that treasure. If you are thinking about going back out next year, let me know (and start your search for a bigger house--you'll need it). :P

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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19 minutes ago, megaholic said:

Plax,

 

There is in fact a thin layer of broken up limestone coating the bottom, and the teeth are under it for the most part.  This rubble is "piled-up" against the high rock ledges for a few feet.  As you move out away from the deep area and out closer to the underlying exposed bedrock bottom, there is less and less rubble and teeth to be found.  If you go way out away from the ledges there is little if anything covering the solid bottom.  I also found broken glass buried a foot BELOW 2 big megs while digging a hole with my fanning hand!

This is all very good information! Will add it to my scenario for creation of the lag concentration. Is the solid bottom away from the ledge limestone like the ledge? I would imagine that the limestone rubble accumulating on the teeth closest to the ledge was being shed from higher up from weathered limestone (during the subaerial exposure last glacial period) & broken epibionts during storm events. Is there any chance that the teeth are eroding from a stratum within the ledge to accumulate at its base? The phosphorite bed is mapped as being quite extensive in the Geology of the Carolinas CGS 50th Anniversary Volume. 

  Any chance the glass could have winnowed downward between coarse clasts or is finer sediment filling the spaces between the large clasts?

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anthracite31
1 hour ago, Fossil-Hound said:

@megaholic those are some nice teeth. You should donate one to @anthracite31 His daughter just recovered a broken Meg. :megalodon_broken01: 

 

@Fossil-Hound  Thanks for thinking of us.  A good portion of her fun comes from being on the hunt.  She was given one by George Powell a couple years ago and has been hell bent on finding one of her own.  The huge smile that's been on her face since finding the partial tooth has been great.  

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anthracite31

Amazing haul!  My daughter and I are in the process of getting certified.  Still need to do our open water check out dives.   Maybe someday if we get competent enough, we'll be able to take trips to spots like that.   Thanks for sharing!

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Good plan. The Meg Ledge is definitely advanced diving (and Nitrox) and would be best done after you have gained the appropriate experience. No sense risking life and limb for meg teeth (no matter how impressively large they are).

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Ken is so correct above. There are shallow ledges at 85 ft. that are 10 miles closer to shore, (so it is a cheaper trip) but all that does is give you more time on the bottom, and more people searching the same area more frequently.  I have done both several times now, and have a curious comparison.  The 85ft area has a significantly higher number of Chubs, and many more varied species to be found.  The deep ledges are mostly what I showed above, big megs, abundant makos, and to a lesser degree whites.  The big picture geological setting is the same at both places.  There are more land animal remains at the shallow area, but it would seem to cover a much longer time period considering the species found there.  Both are still not suitably explained in my opinion.  I'm just glad somebody found them!

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Fossil-Hound

The advanced dives that get into good Meg territory are at least 80 meters down. That's why there are good teeth there. It's because most divers aren't deep sea certified which as @digit mentioned requires Nitrox which you can't breath for very long and the compressed air means you won't be down there that long anyways but you'll definitely have a chance to find some neat teeth and you'll probably see some common Carolina sharks such as Sand Tiger and Sandbar.

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