SCUBA, Shark Teeth and Beach Combing

A few weeks ago I was in southern Florida doing some SCUBA diving, sunbathing and shark teeth hunting! All these activities were extremely successful; we dove at a few scenic reefs off the coast of Marco Island where we were surrounded by beautiful corals, barracuda, goliath groupers, huge rays and we even spotted a nurse shark! We also spent a day at a famous dive site called Devil’s Den, which is a prehistoric freshwater spring in Williston, Florida! The spring was surreal; an underground cave that has one large hole in the roof, like a natural skylight, with sunlight beaming down into crystal clear water filled with fish and fossils. Devil’s Den and Marco Island are two dive sites that I will never forget!

Image 1. A shot of me diving in the crystal clear water at the prehistoric freshwater spring, Devil's Den in Williston, Florida. 

During our travels throughout Florida, we heard from some locals that the best place in the country to find shark teeth was just a couple hours from where we were currently staying. So naturally, we changed course and headed straight to the shark tooth capitol; Venice Beach, FL! This place did not disappoint; the people were friendly, the beaches were gorgeous, the water was warm and clear and the beach combing was a complete success!

We were lucky enough to get to one of the beaches just as the tide was beginning to go out, and low tide is the best time to search for ocean treasures. Low tide is my favorite time of the day because all the tide pools get exposed and they contain all sorts of interesting flora and fauna. Dozens of different species of algae all thrive on different parts of the rocky coastline; all have adapted to enjoy a very specific balance of time under the water during high tide and out of the water during low tide. It always amazes me how well adapted each and every species is to such a specific way of life in the tidal zone.

Image 2. The tidal zone filled with awesome shells, shark teeth and rocks covered in algae exposed during low tide in Venice Beach, Florida. 

We spent hours patrolling the beautifully vast and interesting beaches there; during low tide we found everything from teeny tiny shark teeth to a complete turtle skeleton. But, the best find of the day was a megalodon tooth that I spotted under some huge rocks right before a wave crashed over them! Megalodon teeth are different from any other shark’s teeth in a few ways including the size of the tooth, the shape of the top of the tooth and the thickness of the bourlette, which is the part between the root and the enamel. A megalodon tooth is a much rarer find than other shark teeth so, finding that giant tooth was the highlight of the trip for me. I can’t wait to get back down to Venice Beach one day to search for more treasures!

Image 3. The megalodon tooth surrounded by a few smaller shark teeth that we found at Venice Beach, FL (quarter for scale).