Collecting prehistoric shark’s teeth has been a favorite pastime of visitors and residents of the
Sharks of all species continually shed their teeth and grow new ones. They have 40 or more teeth in each jaw. Behind the functional rows or teeth are seven other rows of teeth developing into mature dentures to replace teeth as they are shed or lost. In ten years, an average Tiger shark can produce as many as 24,000 teeth.
For millions of years, sharks have lived, as seen by the catches from the city-fishing pier and died in the Gulf of Mexico of our
Historical Finds On the
The furthest north is the Jetties to the
South of the public beach, is the Alhambra Bone Site. It is immediately to the North of the northern most condominiums, where
South of Alhambra street is the Venice Fishing Pier, and there is diving to the north and south of it. You can either park in the parking lot for Sharky's or in another parking lot just to the North next to a Coast Guard substation. Just head West out past the second sandbar. Stay clear of the pier unless you are into being hooked up. It is also a state law which is seldom enforced but when it is, the fines are stiff with your gear all confiscated and the end to a could have been great day.
There are a couple of showers here, restrooms and shaded pavilion with water and, of course, Sharky’s is itself a great place to eat; Sharky’s on the Pier.
Just south of the pier is another place to dive. There are a couple places to park, one parking lot at the dog park. This is where Mastodon leg bone to tusks has been found fossilized onto old coral beds just off the beach in an area called “The Springs.” This is where I found my saber tooth, out not more than twenty feet from the waters edge.
The Bone Yard of Golden Beach is another site, but is out just far enough, like the Venice Beach Reef to its right, that it is best not as a shore dive but with a scooter or off your boat. I do not have any coordinates, but you will want to anchor due west of a pair of large, white drainage pipes. There are two sets, actually, one on each side of the northern most condominiums south of the Venice Inlet. You want to anchor off the Southern pipes in around 25' of water, lining up in a triangular position to the pine trees, water tank and pipes.
The beds start in around 13’ of water, and continue out as far as you can go on a shore dive. I spend most of my time between 13’ and 18’. After the sandbar, drop and head west. The bottom will either be sand or small rubble, and at the southern spots, small ledges and rock outcroppings along with the Gulf’s version of a reef. Because of the City of
At the northern sites, there is not much structure at all; again buried under our new beach construction. When you do come across rocks or other features, pay attention to the seaward side, otherwise, look for little gullies that run north and south. The bottom of these hold a lot of teeth, mainly Sand Tiger, Bull, and Lemons, with the occasional Tiger, Snaggletooth, Great White and Melodeon. Megs are also more common at the bone yard, and they have found at least 6 1/2”out there.
You can either dig to find the teeth or just scan the bottom, looking for black patches After you find a couple, you will tend to see more as you more aware of what you are looking for. Digging can be done by fanning my hand over the sand, blowing the sand in the direction of the current.
For strolling the beach in search of history, at the waters edge, there is usually a ledge (around 1’ deep, sloping to the sandy bottom of backwash). In spots, this has large shell deposits, other times it is made of sand. If you scoop into the shells and look, you will find sharks teeth here. You can find a dozen or so if you look for an hour. This to be the best spot in the whole of
A fine mesh bag and a Dive Flag. You may want to bring something to dig with (a beach scoop if not diving), but I would not bother if diving for a waving of your hand is enough.
You need to have a flag to dive here, there have been tickets issued to people who were not carrying one. Otherwise, the boaters would not have any navigational buoys. Seriously, be aware on your ascents. Pops to a prop can be a deadly experience, not to mention the bump to the head!
How do you know the conditions are good? You do not. Not even if you were there last week. Visibility is hit or miss, mostly hit in the summer, mostly miss in the winter. There needs to be a couple of nice days with either no wind or wind out of the east for a clean clear dive. Water temperature varies from the mid 40’s to the mid 90’s.
Seahorses and pipefish, schools of sheepshead, pinfish, Blue and stone crabs, flounder, starfish, ornamentals to bait fishes, mackerels, reds, blues and to many to mention swimming above the sand dollars below. If the sand dollar is any color other than white, it is alive, so leave it be, removing only the whitish ones. Sharks are abundant off