Your're certifiable, Quint! You know that?
I visited my brother in Baltimore this past weekend with plans of doing a “dig” with him and the infamous Daryl on Saturday. This was to be my brother’s first “shark tooth dig”. It was a long 7 hour drive up in mostly raining conditions from the large tropical low system off the east coast.
Daryl figured the Potomac would most likely be too high from the recent and continuing rains and with the fact that my brother only had hip waders we decided the Calvert Cliff area might be a better choice. I gave Daryl a call Friday night to confirm our dig / meeting location and we both noticed there was a Coastal Flood Advisory.
My brother thought Daryl and I were both certifiable; however he was willing to give this “fossil” thing a try. We all decided to give it a go and planned to meet around 6:00 a.m. right around high tide. Oh, I forgot to mention that my brother lives about 1:45 minutes away from the meeting locale (Daryl is 30 minutes or so away). The 3:45 a.m. wake up came way to quick and my brother questioned his decision in addition to my mental state.
We left his house with a slight drizzle in the air and hot coffee in our hands. I told him, “It looks pretty good”. But by the time we got on Interstate 97, the wipers were on high and my bother was shaking his head. I gave Daryl a call on his cell and left a message that we were on our way. Received a return call around 5:30 a.m. asking where we were at? We both realized that we were on the same rainy highway road with my bother and I about a mile in the lead.
We finally met at the designated gas station and Daryl led us to his “honey” hole. To our and mostly my brother’s amazement there was a vehicle already there. As we geared up that “early bird” put on his head lamp, turn on his flash light and got the lead down the trail.
The rain was still coming down as we shuffled along the shore line in search of “gravel” areas as the morning tide slowly recessed and the sun slowly rose. About ten more hunters came throughout the morning along with the scattered rain. I met David, an acquaintance of Daryl, who pulled out an awesome “C1” porpoise vertebra that he found in one of the material “piles” along the bank.
Daryl informed us that the recent rains made the potential for “material” falls to be greater. As a result, we kept more of a watchful “eye” above us. To my brother’s shock a massive section eroded off and came crashing on a previous material pile about 50 feet away from him. There was another fossil hunter proximate to my brother who was ON THIS PILE LITERALLY 10 MINUTES before the section of cliff fell on it. My brother later told me that the individual looked back at him and no words we spoken. My brother said his face had the expression like “I’m just going to forget that just happened”.
I decided to poke around in a different material pile (with nothing looming above me). I was scrapping material away with my fingers wishing I had a small stick or rock to assist me. Just then I hit what I thought was a rock and said to myself, great, now I can use this to scrape around with. When I dislodged it, I realized it was lighter than a rock. Then I “dusted” off the compacted sand around it and the “rock” took the form of a 4” porpoise vertebra that was 2” thick. This was my best find of the trip. We found a good assortment of fossils including hemi’s, tigers, grays, rays, bones… etc. Fortunately, Daryl brought his 1/8” screen which gave my brother the opportunity to definitely find some teeth in addition to some extra chest high waders. My brother said he had an absolute blast regardless of the weather conditions and could now see why Daryl and I are certifiable.