Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hunting for Shark Teeth at Venice Beach

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I took a carefree vacation to Florida in our buff bodies and a rented red convertible Chrysler Le Baron listening to Collective Soul and Tom Petty. We spent a day on Venice Beach with nifty little metal shovel sifters hunting for shark teeth. Venice Beach is known as "Shark Teeth Capitol of the World". Our bodies glistened in the sun with Coppertone Oil and we found bags of shark teeth. When we came home to the Midwest, I stored them away in a newly started memory box.
Fast Forward 15 Years to 2010..... We are on vacation in Florida with our four children ages 9-3 in a rented "Twilight Silver" minivan listening to Radio Disney and wearing Coppertone 50 Sport for Kids sunscreen and clothes a few sizes larger.
We realized we were only an hour drive from Venice Beach and thought the kids would really love finding shark teeth. We became quirkier parents than the Griswold's in Family Vacation. On the journey down the coast, we encountered vicious thunderstorms thanks to Hurricane Alex. We cheerfully told the kids the storm would pass and we'd be in action soon. We got to Venice Beach in the pouring rain and found a restaurant called Sharkey's to hang out and eat waiting for clear skies. Little Scout developed a new found passion for Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise tune.
The skies cleared a little and we lugged our umbrella, buckets, cooler, and towels out to the empty beach. The power was out at the shop on the Pier that rents the sifter shovels essential in digging for the ancient teeth. We still pressed on optimistically thinking we could scoop and sift in the cold crashing surf. We were wrong. We decided to get back in the van in our wet and sandy suits to try and find a nearby store that sold the special shovels. Thankfully, a few miles up the coast we found an overpriced shack that sold them. My husband bought three. We also decided to relocate our beach camp and try a fresher location. The kids were wet, shivering, and not excited.
Our perseverance and optimism paid off. Minutes into digging with the magic shovel-sifter, we struck shark teeth. The kids squealed in delight and my husband and I felt triumphant! Rainy hours passed and the kids had sifted through piles of shells to find 53 shark teeth. We were still the only family on the beach. We succeeded in our mission and we now have more baggies of teeth in a much bigger memory box. The van got us back home with sleeping kids and we shared a bottle of our favorite Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. An unforgettable family adventure. ~kathy