By STEVE HATHCOCK
Special to the PRESS
Last month’s high tides have created some of the best beachcombing conditions we have had in a long time.
The best place and time for shelling, is along the wrack or trash line just after high tide. The shells found here are generally of a higher quality and have yet to be broken. Once, I was able to fill a small jar with tiny auger shells that littered the shore just north of the Wanna-Wanna Beach Bar. Another time, I found a perfect, fossilized shell near the base of some dunes by Inverness Resort. This past year, several of our winter visitors found fossilized stone crabs. These creatures lived here over three million years ago. The best place to look for fossils is about 6 miles north of beach access 5. As you walk along the beach, watch for washout areas. It’s in these spots that the water from higher tides has washed far inland before dropping their load of booty. It’s not uncommon to find arrowheads and darts like the one shown. I never reveal the exact location of my sites but here is a hint, this beauty was found about three miles north of the end of Highway 100, and several hundred feet….. or maybe it was several hundred yards off the beach in a small hollow situated between two taller dunes.
Some of my best driftwood finds have been beyond the normal tide-line. This is where you will find big tangles, whorls and knobs of exotic woods that have drifted in from around the world. I have found mahogany timbers from wrecked ships and walnut logs that floated down the Mississippi.
Mr. Bubba Sue, one of my Golden Retrievers, who passed away a few years back, found one of my more interesting pieces. It’s a life-like replica of a horse head. Out of a sense of fairness, I traded him a half eaten tuna sandwich I found behind the front seat of my truck for it!
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