Sunday, March 15, 2009

You can't always get what you want...and sometimes that's OK.

This treasure hunt started last fall. I had posted some of the sharks teeth that I find at Myrtle Beach along with some of my metal detecting finds on the Treasure Depot. In response to this I received an email from Kirk in Hampstead asking if I would be interested in hunting the Aurora mine in North Carolina for fossils.

I jumped at the chance. The Aurora mine is known for giving up some outstanding megalodon teeth. If you are unfamiliar with the hugest shark that ever lived do a google search and also

But sometimes things don't work out. The open pit mine filled with water and we were not able to hunt last fall. Kirk let me know that he would contact me in 2009 when we could go.

A few weeks ago Kirk again emailed me and said he had three openings for March 14th. I asked Diana if she wanted to go and she said yes but I could tell she was a bit apprehensive.

So we were set for the 14th of March.

Now I should have mentioned that I had never met Kirk, he was just one of the guys that posted from time to time on But there is a comraderie amongst treasure hunters and the treasure detecting forums are a place where we share our stories and finds and lives. It is more than treasure, it is people. Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few treasure hunters from the metal detecting forums. What a great bunch of folks!! And what a great bunch of stories I have heard.

As the 14th approached Kirk let me know what Diana and I would need to bring and what we could expect. I was stoked! Visions of 7" long megalodon teeth sticking out of the soil continually bounced around in my head.

But I was getting strange vibes from Diana about the trip. Finally she said she wasn't all that keen about going deep into a mine with the bats and spiders and faulty flashlights and eternal darkness. I almost laughed out loud...but I knew better. Somehow I had forgotten to mention that it was an open pit mine. After we visited the fossilguy website she felt a lot better. Just for the record I'm not too keen on the eternal darkness thing either.

The plan was to drive two hours to Hampstead, meet Kirk, and then drive two more hours to be at the mine by 7:30 in the morning. I did some sharp mental calculations that went something like; drive four hours in the dark, hunt six hours and then drive four hours home. Something about this 14 hour day thing bothered me. I'm not very good at 14 hour days.

On Friday, the 13th, I decided it would be much better to drive to New Bern, NC, get a motel and then only have 40 minutes to drive to the mine. I let Kirk know and he agreed that would probably be better.

I tried to find a motel online in New Bern but was not impressed so I thought we would wing it.

When we got to New Bern, Diana and I found a motel, not so reasonably priced called the Days Motel. It seemed nice enough.

When we got to the room I noticed little things, like the small burn hole in the bed sheet and a cigarette burn in the carpet. Some of the light bulbs were missing from the fixtures.

We asked for a wakeup call at 5:30. They had continental breakfast at 6:00. We would have plenty of time to get to the mine by 7:30.
I set the alarm in the room just in case.

Just as I turned out the light I noticed cobwebs in the corners of the room. I slept for a few minutes and then I heard a car on the street below; boom, boompa, boom, boom, boompa, boom. Think Rap. Then I heard something that was between a squeak and a squeal. At first, it sounded like far away cats mating. The sound would stop and then return every few minutes. What the heck was that! Boom, boompa, boom, boom, boompa, boom. Police sirens. Squeeek. Boom, boompa, boom. I stared at the alarm clock's irredescent numbers. The hours dragged by. Boom, boompa, boom. Squeeek.
At 2:00 I got up and read my book for a while. At 3:00 the noise seemed to increase. I wasn't sure how that was possible but I speculated the bars closed at 2:00.

At last it was 5:15 and I got up, not quite refreshed. I think I felt better after running into that deer on my bicycle. That's another story.

We went down to get the continental breakfast. We were the only ones looking for breakfast. They had not turned on the lights in the dining room. The bagels looked old. I opted for one of those little boxes of cereal. The coffee was strong...probably several days older than the bagels.

When we got back to the room the TV was on. We had not turned it on. Hmmmm???

We packed up and checked out. When I went to check out there was a $4 charge for the room safe and about $12 in taxes added to the bill. "What the ....was this?!" The manager took off the room safe charge. It took for ever to print out the receipt.

We were now running a bit behind schedule. I reviewed the map for ten seconds and hit the road.

Kirk had told us that the mine bus left at 7:30 and if we missed it we'd be out of luck.

"Slow down!" said Diana.
I slowed to 65. I tried to call Kirk on the cell phone. No Service.

I needed to turn on road 33. I pulled into a little convenience place and asked where 33 was. "It's right at the end of the building." There was no sign. If I wouldn't have stopped and asked we would have been somewhere north of Virginia by now.

I tried the cell phone again. No service.

"Oh, look at the deer," said Diana as she pointed into the darkness.

After I tried the cell phone three or four more times I got a signal.
I asked Kirk about where I needed to turn in Aurora.
He said, "You need to turn left at the Wayside cafe..." The phone went dead.
Diana spotted the Wayside cafe and we made the turn. The sky was beginning to lighten.

At 7:20 we pulled into the parking lot. We got out and met Kirk.

Kirk looked worried. "There's hardly anybody here. I wonder if they cancelled for some reason."

At 7:45 the lady that drives the mine bus shows up and tells us the ramp into the mine was under water on Thursday so they cancelled. They had sent everyone emails. Kirk and five or six others had not gotten the email.

This might have been a real bummer...but Kirk said that there were piles of material across the street from the Fossil Museum in Aurora. We headed into town to hunt the piles.

When we parked I was kind of disappointed. The piles looked a bit like a big sand box. Kirk let us know that he had found some nice teeth in the piles.

Diana and I watched as Kirk used a trowel to skim some sandy material back and forth. Soon he showed us a small tooth.

Diana and I started hunting. Soon we both had small teeth. Mine was microscopic. I didn't think sharks teeth could get that small. I put it in a plastic bag and had to look twice to see it in the bag.

We hunted till about 11:00 and Kirk took off towards Hampstead. He said he wanted to get home to metal detect the beach. Diana and I ate a PB and J sandwich and then visited the fossil museum. What a great little museum; full of fossils from the mine and indian artifacts from the area.

Diana and I went back out to the piles and hunted some more. I found some more sharks teeth and two vertebrae. There were some others hunting, some using screens to sift the material. I think that's cheating. I'll bring a sifting screen next time.
It was really nice to see parents with kids digging in the piles. What an education!! I think the parents enjoyed it just as much as the kids.
These are just the teeth, bone fragments and vertebrae that I found. I think the tooth below the two vertebrae may be a mesosaurus tooth, maybe not.

At about 1:00 we headed back to Myrtle Beach. What a fine adventure!! And it was great to meet Kirk. Thanks Kirk for everything!!

Someday...someday maybe I will find a megalodon tooth...but if I don't I will still have had the adventure and met a new friend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weird Day, Large Sand Flea and Ring Daddy #2

Yesterday morning I met the sunrise and got this picture.

This morning I headed for the beach with a sliver of hope. There was some wind yesterday so it brought my spirits up to about a two on a scale of ten.
The beach is terrribly, mega sanded in. Everyday I go out it looks like more sand has come in. And there are no holes in the surf.
I am over winter. Done with it. Don't care one twit about seeing anymore cold.
This morning was gorgeous; high fifties, maybe low sixties and sunny. Lots of people on the beach today. Many come down just for the weekend when it's nice weather.

After about a quarter mile of swinging I found my first target, a kids car...deep. Another half a mile of swinging and I finally get a signal. I didn't pay too much attention to the signal, just a mid-tone. I kick the sand around and spot this silver ring. No way! As I picked it up I knew from the heft, the weight, that it was gold. Two targets in 3/4 of a mile and one is a gold ring. Go figure! Well there were a few coins and I ended up with 17 cents, seven pennies and one dime. I only got one pulltab today. Amazing!! I have been averaging way over twenty pulltabs everytime I go out.
While digging one of the holes a sand flea rolled out of the sand. This had to be the largest sand flea I have ever seen. A monster sand flea. Probably works out and uses steroids. An inch and a half long. He looked disoriented so I picked him up and put him back in the hole and put the sand back on him. It must be hell to live under the sand all your life. I wonder how the economy is down there.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gold Ring #1 on a cold, cold day

I don't know if the temperature got to 40 today. It's been a few days since I went detecting. The beach is still terribly sanded in. I've been very discouraged every time I go out. Pennies and pulltabs are what I normally bring back. It has been at least a month since I found more than one dollar in change.

Even today it took a long walk before I got into an area with a few targets. Found at least 35 pulltabs today. Also, 59 cents and finally my first gold ring of the year. I wonder how many hours of detecting it has been since I found my last ring on Dec. 26th. Way over one hundred.

Also found a rare blue pulltab and a sharks tooth. I might put the blue pulltab on Ebay.
How do you like my three pieces of paper light box?
Definitely not very big. Will not even go to the first joint on my pinkie. 1.9 grams There are 3 itty bitty diamonds on each side of the star diamond.
Man, we need some wind. I hope this is not how the whole year goes. Diana tells me to be grateful, so I'll shut up now.