Calvert Cliffs, Potomac River, other MD and VA rivers

April 6-8, 2007

Fossil Collecting in the Bering Sea

This was a cold, windy, and wet trip. Sky and sea were against us, but we managed!

Fossil Collecting in the Bering Sea

In early April we went down to the Maryland and Virginia Area to stay at a beach cabin with Paul, Paleoscan, and their wives. Traveling south, we thought, would be a nice retreat from winterís clutch. Unfortunately, winter followed us. Temperatures steadily dropped, until the final day, we awoke to an inch or so of snow. To make matters worse, high winds kicked up the waves. This was not ideal weather for staying at a beach cabin or jet skiing.

Ignoring all common sense and accumulated wisdom, upon arrival we quickly headed to a boat ramp to launch the fossil ski toward fossil exposures. When waves were crashing into the rear window of the car on the boat ramp, logic should have kicked in, but it didnít. As I parked the trailer, I noticed Amy getting pounded by wave after wave as she was trying to hold the fossil ski from becoming jetsam on the ramp. We were soaking wet and freezing almost instantaneously. I started her up and off we went. At about 10 yards out, and 15 waves cresting over us later, we looked like flotsam disappearing and then reappearing through the crests and troughs of the waves. Before death became of us, I turned the fossil ski around, into the buffeting winds, and headed back to the ramp. I vowed never to do that again! With all hope of reaching decent fossil exposures lost, we took a detour and decided to hike to some nice exposures a few miles up the beach. Since the waves were kicking high, I told Amy the best chances of finding something would be to search the clay blocks. To my surprise, the 3rd block I looked at contained a whale scapula. I tried to find as much of it as possible, as the block containing the scapula had broken into 3 large pieces upon impact. We were able to carry 2 of the smaller blocks, but in my desire to get the third large block home also, I decided to break my vow and take the fossil ski back out into the turbulent sea to pick it up.

Defying all common sense, wind, and waves, we again deployed the fossil ski at a nearby boat ramp and headed toward the cliffs, again looking like flotsam. I loaded it on while Amy attempted to keep the fossil ski from being bashed against the shore by the waves. We then took off, leaning to the left and steering into the waves because we were heavily weighted on the right. We knew if we tipped, we may not survive the hypothermia. After what seemed an eternity, and becoming numb, we made it back with the large cliff chunk that contained the rest of the scapula. Once the drama was over and feeling returned to our limbs, we met up with Paleoscan and continued to the cabin.

Day 2 was colder, but the winds and waves were calmer. Once again, having not learned our lesson the first two times, we took out the fossil ski again to hit some remote collecting areas. Amy found the best Croc tooth I have ever seen, a decent porpoise tooth, and I found a decent mako. Paul and Paleoscan also hunted; Paleoscan found a small megalodon. We then retired for the day to the beach cabin.

On day 3 we met up with some DVPS friends, hunted a little Eocene spot, and found some teeth. We were then supposed to boat to a Paleocene cliff exposure, but the snow kept us ashore. On a side note, Paul and Paleoscan got a fossil ski. Itís the same make, model, and year as mineÖ HmmmÖ Coincidence? It however has a girlie pink seat while mine has a manly blue seat. If youíre down by the bay, be sure to look for him! What a funny site it isÖ Paul driving a girlie pink jetski!

Instead of freezing on the jetski, one way to the fossils exposures was to climb down the cliffs via rope. Here paleoscan is making his way down. (No, we are not trespassing)

This is the 2 1/8" croc tooth that Amy found during day 2.

This is the scapula we found. It was in three cliff chunks, plus shattered pieces on the beach. I'm currently reparing it. More images soon.

Unfortunately, we awoke one morning to snow showers. It really put a damper on the day.

We spotted an eagle while at the bay. It's a little blurry; I need to start bringing my tripod along.

Here are the finds by Amy and I. The highlights are the beautiful croc tooth, nice porpoise tooth, and the decent mako tooth. The lower center bone is fossilized mammal bone. I'm just not sure if it's Pleistocene or not.

Here are the finds by Paleoscan. He also found a nice mako which I didn't get a picture of.

Here are Pauls finds. The objects in the clay are fish vertebrae

Here is the crocodile tooth.

Porpoise tooth

Mako tooth

Well... Paul and Paleoscans jetski is the second one back. As one can see, it's identical to mine. He says its coincidence... I think not. Luckily for me, it has a pink girlie seat, so I can make fun of him on a daily basis.

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