Black Water Fossil Diving in Beaufort, SC
RivrDigrFest 07 raged on without me as work and family duties let me be a grown up for a few days. When Saturday arrived, I had the blessing of my better half to scour the bottom of the river for goodies. I could hardly wait because rivrdigr and scubapaul have been rackin for days. I haven't been in Beaufort too many times, but the prospect of serrated beauties at the bottom is inticing. I was excited to go, but nervous about this dive.
What, me worry? Well, sort of. I was in the midst of an equipment gap. I was in-between Buoyancy Compensators. I sold my big rear inflator BC but I had not received my new Jacket type yet. All I had was my first BC, barely adequate for the rigors of river diving. Rivrdigr assured me that his spot was pretty tame current-wise so I made the decision to use the old BC. It would have to do because I wasn't missing this dive.
I woke up at 5:15 am - an unheard of hour for ditchweezil - and I was on adrenaline from the beginning. I was on the road by 5:30 and I got there in time to help launch the boat. Scubapaul got there and took a few digs at me for not diving any of the rest of his days here while we stashed his gear, then we were off.
It was a log boat ride. Rivrdigr navigated the channels like a pro and we chatted the whole way there. When we arrived at the dive spot, a pod of dolphins was playing right on top of where we were going to dive. RD shut the engines and they hung around for a little bit before moving on. There was a mother and a baby, so they probably just didn't want to risk us messing with the little one. We weren't after the dolphins, though. There were giant fossil shark teeth of Carcharodon megalodon, the terror of the Pliocene oceans, just 30 feet under the boat.
There is no buddy diving when in the river. You can't see a thing! When I hit the bottom, the current had just started moving and all the sediment was being swept off the bottom. What a mess! I just saw different shades of muddy water in the light that trickled through my mask. For the first 20 minutes, I relied on my fingers only. I pressed them into the sandy, rocky bottom to feel around for the smooth surfaces, the serrated edges. Every so often I would grab ahold of something that swam away. Creepy! I found a few teeth this way, but it wasn't until the current picked up that I started finding anything. Once I had about 6 inches of vis, I could see the teeth. There were big ones there, but all I found were broken. The complete megalodon evaded me on both dives. I did manage a very nice angustidens, so I counted the day a success.
Everybody got back to the safely with all our gear, our teeth, and our limbs attached. Scubapaul and rivrdig both did pretty well, too, though I never ran into them on the bottom. They swam far while I stuck to the general vicinity of the anchor rope. I didn't want to get too far with my little BC and not much lead to fight the current. Next time I'll be ready - my new BC arrived just a couple days later!