Calvert Cliffs, Potomac River, other MD and VA rivers

July 14-18, 2006

Welcome to the Redneck Yacht Club

Traveling to the cliff exposures, redneck style

Entry into the Redneck Yacht Club

Yes, this last trip has gained me entry into the Redneck Yacht Club! I’m so proud! Yehaaaa!

It was that time of year again, where Paul and I do fossil presentations near Philly PA, and then head down to Maryland to do some hunting. This time was a little different. I now have the fossil ski (formerly known as the jet ski), which can literally do circles at 50 MPH around Paul’s boat, which I like to call the “Sea Slug”. So, when he mentioned about bringing his boat, I said of course not! Lets just use the fossil ski for a few days, and fly to all kinds of cliff exposures throughout MD and VA.

This all sounds nice in theory, at least to me. However, there is one part of this equation I need to explain. We were also meeting up with Paleoscan, who has a place down by the cliffs. Now, the fossil ski holds 3 people… 3 “normal” sized people… Paul is kind of on the big side, just big all over (sorry Paul)! Paleoscan power lifts, and is therefore not a small person either... So, the complete equation looks like this:

Paul + Paleoscan + Little me + Fossil Ski = Floundering/Sinking Fossil Ski

All was not lost though… We still used the fossil ski. I came up with a wicked idea… I ran to the nearest boat store and bought one of those towable inner tubes. The equation now looks like this:

Paul + Paleoscan + Little me + Fossil Ski + Inner Tube = Floundering (but floating) Fossil Ski + Little me on inner tube being beat to death by crab traps and waves and jumping rock fish.

The system actually worked out pretty well. We could get to any cliff exposure anywhere within minutes, and Paul and Paleoscan had a comfortable ride. The only drawback was I being stuck on the inner tube for long stretches… Inner tubing sounds like fun, and it is, but after hanging on one for over 15 minute stretches at high speeds, being beat by waves, getting airborne on occasion, running over crab traps that Paul “didn’t see”, almost getting your head chopped off by the occasional jumping rock fish, and having a constant stream of spray hit you, makes tubing become old fast!

This is why I gained entry into the redneck yacht club. I believe this is the only time inner tubing was not used as a recreational activity, but a mode of transportation.

Anyhow, we hit numerous spots all over the bay and rivers, many places one can’t easily get to. Paleoscan did the best with 3 roughly 1 to 1.5” mako teeth, and a transitional tooth (it looks like an otodus but is halfway serrated) from a secret spot where these strange teeth can be found, and a nice C. subauriculatus tooth ~2” in size. Paul did second best with a ~1.25” mako, and the blade of one of those transitional teeth. I did the worst with a beautiful ~1.25” mako a decent cow shark tooth, and maybe a complete cetacean vertebra still in the chunk of matrix (I have to prep it to see if all the processes are there). The Calvert Marine Museum also did well. Paul spied an articulated fish fossil (missing the head) in a chunk of matrix. We quickly delivered that to the museum, as those fossils are VERY hard to find and is probably scientifically valuable.

Overall, I think we didn’t do so hot, but it is mid summer. Sea nettles are out everywhere, red algae is in the water making it murky, lots of aquatic plants are washing up covering the beaches, and sand is covering allot of the good collecting areas. Even though we didn’t find that much for 3 days of collecting, we all still had a blast… except for the groundhog incident!

Cub Scouts

They love digging for fossils

The Bay

Cove Point Light House

Cliff Exposures

Waiting out a storm at Parkers Creek

The groundhog incident:

I didn’t mention the Groundhog incident? Well… on the rivers, there are always numerous of downed trees fallen from the cliffs and splayed out into the river, which create barricades along the beach. While negotiating such a barricade, I noticed a branch next to me shaking. Assuming it was a fluffy woodland creature, or even a snake near the base of the tree, I shook the branch, to let it know I was there and to also allow it to scamper away. This happens allot on the rivers, snakes and fluffy critters love those downed trees. However, what doesn’t happen allot is the following. As soon as I shook the branch, the branch shook violently back as I heard noises above me. I quickly glanced up, over my head to where the branch was leading, and saw a groundhog perilously hanging on for dear life, just inches from my head. As I was thinking “#^&*$&! #*$%!! This thing has sharp claws!! #$$%!!! It’s going to fall on my head!!” I quickly rolled out of the way unscathed as the poor critter caught its balance and darted to the base of the tree. So now I have to look for snakes at my feet and falling groundhogs in trees above my head. Fossil hunting is becoming complicated.

Some of Paleoscans makos

Some more of Paleoscans finds. The tooth on the right is actually a transitional tooth, it has tiny serrations running halfway up the blade.

My mako. This came out of a slump from zone 13 and never touched the water.

A chipped cow shark.

Here is the fish, some vertebras can be seen in this image.

Ending the day Redneck style.

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