Sometimes the best ideas on my bucket list are ones that I didn’t come up with myself – and that is the case of collecting shark teeth on Topsail Island.
First off, where is Topsail Island (for those of us on the west coast)? Off the coast of North Carolina, apparently there are MANY beaches of which I was completely ignorant in knowing about (I’m a west coast girl), and Topsail was about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport in Raleigh/Durham.
Oh also, it’s pronounced topsulllll not topsail. It’s southern, y’all.
Lucky for us, we have family with a beach house right on the beach of Topsail, and right from the beginning the weather and the beach were as good as it gets. The sand was super fine, the water was warm, and there were hardly any people around…so from beach snobs like me, it gets a very high rating.
But let’s get to the shark teeth. All along the beach it’s littered with shells, big and small. Over here in Oregon, there might be miles and miles of beaches, but you’re lucky to find a sand dollar. I asked for a lot of pro-tips from our hosts (who happened to have jars full of shark teeth) and I spent a lot of time looking at pictures on beach fossil forums online.
On my first day, I scoured the beach, picking up a lot of things but frequently wondering, Is this a tooth? Or a shell that looks like a tooth? I really wanted something that said THIS IS A SHARK TOOTH.
Also, I’m no spring chicken and bending over looking for tiny fossils was back breaking work. I would lay in the sun, look for teeth, eat lunch, look for teeth, read a little bit, look for teeth…
Here are my finds for day one:
On day two, the rain rolled in and I searched at low tide in ankle deep water. The fossil forums also had pictures of whale bones and stingray teeth which I’m pretty sure are part of my treasure finds below (on the right of the brain looking fossil).
I’ll admit that looking for teeth was mildly obsessive – it was hard to take a leisurely beach walk because my eyes kept scanning the sand instead of the coastline. I started following Facebook pages dedicated to fossil hunting on Topsail to see the most recent finds and compare my own.
On my later hunts, I did some looking but didn’t really come up with much and we left the beach for fried foods and a backyard party full of local surfers.
Next time, I’ll know what I’m looking for and I’m devoted to finding a BIG tooth (or whale bone) to show off, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with my treasures (and my enviable tan).