Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party. - Jimmy Buffett


My shark's tooth jar is always half full.

Englewood is an accidental town of sorts. Situated on the Gulf coast somewhat close to I-75 and even closer to the historic Tamiami Trail don't text while driving through or you'll miss it. Even most Floridians couldn't tell you where Englewood is located.  (Also on that list would be Chiefland, Alva, & Gulf
Hammock & I have kinfolk in them all) Most vacationers end up in Englewood for a quick stop to visit their retired parents on their way to the real vacation destination of Disney World.  Other tourists stumble upon the beaches of Manasota Key while on their way to more well known beaches like Boca Grande Island or Siesta Key.  At any rate it's one of the best accidents you could have.

Although Englewood beaches cannot boast of the sugar white sand of Siesta or the swanky shopping of Boca Grande.  Our beaches have their own distinctive treasure to brag about - fossilized sharks teeth. The official past time in Englewood is hunting for sharks teeth.  Our beaches are loaded with them.  For a town where the pace is a little slower, walking the beaches and looking for sharks teeth is the perfect speed.

Finding sharks teeth is easy if you know where to look, when to look, & what to take with you to make the looking even easier.  The sharks toofs that wash up on the beaches are usually 1 inch or smaller.  The huge Megalodon sharks teeth are found occasionally on the beaches, usually after a storm but more commonly by scuba diving or snorkeling. Most Englewood residents are happy to simply stroll the beach picking up a handful of the smaller teeth.  Those teeth as a rule end up in a container that  graces most homes.  It's a time-worn tradition here in Englewood that the decades cannot improve.

Most shark's tooth hunters walk the shoreline when they are looking for teeth.  My method is to look past the shells for patches of crushed shells and tumbled rock. My brain has a hard time focusing on both shells and shark's teeth.  For me, it's one or the other.   More shoreline is exposed at low tide but you can find patches of the shell crush at any tide.


Just a short walk up the beach can produce a handful of shark's toofs.


When you find patches of what I call "shell crush" take a closer look.  Shark's teeth in abundance are hidden among all the shell fragments and tumbled rock.  The low tide exposes the most shell crush but you can find patches to sort through even at high tide.


 
Some beachcombers can put quite the hurting on their Florida Snow Shovel aka Sharks Toof Shovel.  It was beyond fixing so off to Wal-mart for a new one.  We have some very creative & ingenious shark's tooth hunters in Englewood. Check out some of their contraptions.


Find yourself a nice cool spot in a tidal pool and start sifting.  An empty water bottle is a good holder for your shark' teeth.  You can attach it to your bathing suit with a rubber band or a carbine.

Another good shark's tooth hunting position especially if you are my age.



A collection of shark's teeth from 4 generations of Englewood natives that are the proprieters of The Shell Shop located at McCall Rd & Beach Rd in Englewood.

Shark's teeth come in all shapes, colors, & sizes.  The color varies due to the type of material they fossilize in.