We Want YOU, To Come Dive With Us!

Cooper River
Charleston S.C.
September 13th-16th, 2006

Jerry took me to one site that is considered tough to dive, at one time, he took two Navy Seals to this spot. The first went down 3 feet and jumped back on the boat, the other made it to the bottom for about 3 minutes and surfaced. This is a site where you have to really want to find fossils and you have to have the right mind set, or you will freak out at some of the things you will encounter. Fortunately for me, Jerry had briefed me on what to expect, but it was still a little unnerving seeing some of the stuff at the bottom. You start off descending 35-40 feet to the bottom, as soon as you hit, you are fighting the current for the first few minutes until it gets a little slack. You dive alone as you cannot see any farther than your dive light will shine, mine goes about 2.5 to 3 feet in the black water. Once on the bottom, you begin to search for gravel beds that may contain fossils and artifacts, but as I said, at this particular site, you can find so much more! As I crab walked along the bottom, I came across a stainless steel cable about 1.5" in diameter. Jerry had told me about these cables, they are dragged across the river bottom, he likes to hold onto the cable and work his way back and forth across the bottom. It also helps when the current is strong to have something to hold onto.

Cable at the bottom of the river.

I worked my way to the left following the cable, then I noticed that the cable was badly frayed . Strands of 1/8" stainless steel flowed in the water like long strands of hair, getting caught in this would surely be the end of the unsuspecting diver, no dive knife will cut through stainless steel! I then decided to move to the right, after several yards, I noticed a 1/2" anchor line that was running parallel to the river bottom. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to follow the line to see what was at the end. What was at the end was a big, nasty looking ball of just about everything you could think of, fishing line, sea grass, rope, cable, all massed together hanging at the end of the line flowing in the current. The mass was the size of a VW, if you slipped and fell into this, it would be like getting caught in a huge net.

Hard to see, this is the VW size ball of crud swaying in the current.

Other things to be found at this site include giant mud balls, the mud balls are formed when the bank erodes away and drops to the bottom of the river, it then begins to slowly roll down the river like a giant brown snowball. Getting to around 6 feet in diameter, Jerry says they sound like a train coming when they are rolling along the bottom, you just hope they roll past you and not over you! I found a few of these about 4 feet in diameter sitting on the bottom and searched around them for fossils. I also encountered fallen trees, poles, concrete, and much more fun stuff. One of the worst things are the undercuts. You are in black water following a fossil gravel bed, you may follow the gravel into one of these undercuts, then, when you decide to surface, you have a ceiling over your head. You have to find your way back out to the open water, hard to do in pitch black water with a light that shines 3 feet. But on the bright side, there are some really cool fossils down there!

Old rice plantation on the Cooper.

After doing a couple of dives to what Jerry calls the "King Kong Balls" site, we went for the Red Banks. Known for a thick layer of fossil gravel containing many indian artifacts and bones.

Gravel bed at the Red Banks.

We conducted seven dives over a three day period and visited several locations on the river. Each evening we would sit at the hotel showing off our finds and taking pics etc, the following pages are pics of the many cool specimens we found.

Me showing off my arrowhead found at the Red Banks.

Jerry with about 30 pounds of fossils and artifacts in his goody bag.

Jerry holding up the best find of the week, a 3" Auriculatus tooth, perfect condition with excellent color and enamel. The Auriculatus is much older than the Megalodon, a very nice find by Jerry.

Close up of Jerry's tooth.

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