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It’s 6 a.m. The sun hasn’t risen yet but we’re already a half hour into our two-hour run 60 miles offshore to the “ledge.”

The wind is calm (not typical), and the swell is small (also not typical). As we race to our destination, the ocean colour transitions from green to deep blue the farther we get away from the runoff of the Cape Fear River. Our trusty vessel is filled with dive gear, reels, catch bags, propeller scooters and ten-gallon buckets. I chuckle to myself as yet again I find myself the only girl and 20 years the youngest among this crew of salty divers who make a living collecting and selling “treasure” from the deep. It’s a perfect day to go diving and finding Megalodon teeth.
Kristi diving for teeth. Pic taken on her GoPro in North Carolina

Using the anchor chain as our descent line, we make our way 110 feet below the surface. There is no reef as a reference point and the bottom topography is sand, rubble and ancient clay. Twenty-five minutes of bottom-time is all we have, and after clipping our rec reels into the anchor chain, we each scatter in a different direction.

Forget the buddy system; my pony bottle and wit are my only friends as the adrenaline pumps and the clock into deco-time starts ticking. I collect myself and focus on the task at hand and start fanning the sediment with my gloved hand to expose what may be hiding just beneath the silt. Big black triangles are what I’m looking for, and my mind begins to filter out other shapes and colours as I kick away from the anchor chain. The disturbed silt drops the visibility to almost nothing but I keep fanning and hope my eyes adjust to the darkness.

It’s a perfect day to go diving and finding Megalodon teeth.

I head towards a pile of rubble and fan… there! I see its shape before I see the colour. Lying in the silt, covered in barnacles and growth, is what I’ve been searching for—a perfect five inch, 20 million-year-old Megalodon tooth. My heart races as the treasure hunt is ON. I continue finding megalodon teeth and search the area and uncover several broken shards of teeth, a rib of some kind and a few smaller teeth of other ancient species. But the Meg tooth is my prize, and I give a little “yeww!” through my regulator.

Ten minutes left at this depth, says my computer, so I turn around and follow my reel straight back from where I came from. The silt has settled and I’m now able to search the area more thoroughly and pick up a few more teeth on my way back to the anchor chain. I wish I had more time; it’s never enough down here, but the other divers have made their way back to the chain and I see that their catch bags are full.

They all used scooters and were able to cover a lot more ground and kick up a lot more sediment and I make a mental note to one day sell enough of my catch to pay for a scooter so I can also bring home teeth by the bucketful. But for now, the few precious teeth I found with my hands are plenty for my personal collection.

As I wait on my safety stop I hold one in my hand, close my eyes, and imagine what this watery world must have been like 20 million years ago with a predator whose jaws could fit a standing human. And at that moment, feeling very exposed in the open ocean, I’m pretty happy to never have to find out.

You can read this story and others in our latest Blue Healing Issue of Barnacle Babes Magazine. 

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