Finally! A Shot at the Cliffs
We went on vacation to Williamsburg, VA, and that's too close to some great places not to do a little fossil hunting. I had my wife's stamp approval, so my dad and I mapped it out with m4 and fossilguy way in advance. (be sure to check out the razor time precision in the end!).
- meet at bowling alley at 7:00 am.
- walk cliffs at one spot until 9:00 am.
- cruise to another spot to get a quick geology lesson from the master, m4
- dive a good spot until 1
- be back at my room at 5:30 pm
I picked up the tanks in Hampton on Thursday, so I had the first hurdle out of the way. Friday morning after 3 hours sleep, I got up at 3:30 am and got ready. I scooped up my popZ at 3:50 am and we were on the road. The roads were completely devoid of travellers until we hit I-95. North of Richmond there was this riduclous truck accident that had the other side backed up for miles. We counted ourselves lucky that we didn't hit that one on our side! We passed some of my popZ old stomping grounds in the Navy and he regaled me with tales of cool stuff they got to do. I'm always dumfounded when he tells me about blowing stuff up. I dunno. I've always had a soft spot for things that go boom, you know? Anyway, I digress. We showed up at the bowling alley and m4 offered donuts. nice. very nice. I can't think of a better way to start of the day except for maybe a burrito. Taco Bell doesn't open that early, though. fossilguy showed up promptly at 7 and we piled into my wife's van and hit the first spot, a private community north of Breezy Point. This was a killer spot! Conditions were ideal! Perfect sun, a breeze, clear water, gentle waves lapping at the gravel so you could just pick up teeth forever there! I could see how people would really dig coming here. There were a lot of teeth - a lot more that I expected. I found a decent cow after about 20 minutes of walking. Then m4 grabbed up a killer 2 1/2" lower meg with tip intact. We walked a little further, and we were all just kind of milling around looking for stuff when we heard this thunder. We saw some sand falling and and realized that a chunk of cliff had just broken off. We dove for safety as the chunks and a tree hit the ground 20 feet from us. None of us were injured, and so a scary event turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip for me! I'd heard that was a common event, but I'd never in a million years expected it to happen so close while I was there. Even m4 and fossilguy said they had only witnessed it from afar until now! Anyway, we checked the new falls for teeth and we walked a little further before we turned back a few minutes later. In this little shallow cove where we had just walked minutes before, I scored what I never thought I would - a megalodon. Its got feeding damage to the tip, but its beautiful otherwise. We got back without any further incidents, and headed off for the Geology lesson.
m4 tore it down old school for us and showed us what we should look for when we were under water. He took us to Western Shores and showed us this banded layer (zone 14) that is thick with oysters, big gravel chunks, bones, and sometimes, teeth. We split this spot and headed off for the dive spot.
The dive spot was at Calvert Beach where the Zone 14 is under water. All of us except m4 suited up and went in. fossilguy wasn't wearing shoes, and he tore one of his toe nails off by smashing his toe into a rock. SUCKY!! I went on under water while m4 taped his toe back together to salvage his dive. We were supposed to look for this ledge underwater, but we never found it. Instead, I swam around looking between at the giant gravel chunks for anything resembling a tooth. This spot was only about 7 feet deep and there were oyster shells and rocks everywhere. There were hardly any teeth though. I did manage a decent little mako though, so I can't be too disappointed. The second dive, I decided to employ river tactics and I fanned at the gravel / oyster areas hoping to uncover a big ol' flapper. The vis was awful when I did this, though, because it blew up a black plume from the bottom with each hand motion. The big megalodon never came though, and I wonder if I was even in the right layer? Towards the end of the dive, though, I ran up on a strange tooth. Underwater, I thought it was an isurus desori that was broken in half, but I didn't want to come back empty handed, though, so I put it in my bag. On dry land, though, it looked like it could be a lateral giant thresher or a benedeni. I may have to take it to the Jedi Master for positive ID.
We bid adieu to m4 and fossilguy (who, by the way, gave us cool www.fossilguy.com t-shirts. Thanks again, man!) Anyway, we traveled back and hit terrible traffic all the way to the dive shop due to flaming RV's and rubberneckers gawking at cops giving some poor speeder a ticket. We missed our deadline by 15 minutes and showed up at 5:45. AWESOME! My trips never go as scheduled, and I'm way surprised this one didn't. We didn't get lost, the van didn't break down, no one was bitten by a beaver, etc. Man, it was a fun trip. I hope I can get up that way again and do some more walking and try my hand at snorkeling.
Thanks to fossilguy and m4 for the awesome day!