Dip below the surface to discover a few treasures. Too often, summer is about at-the-surface splashing around. Here are four spots with unusual underwater attractions.
Shark teeth in the Potomac
You could go to a natural history museum to see fossils, but why not try the banks of the Potomac? There, you may find the forgotten remnants of megalodons, an extinct species of shark that grew to about 60 feet and swam over water-covered Maryland and Virginia many millions of years ago. Amateur fossil hunters have uncovered prehistoric shark teeth at Maryland’s Purse State Park and at Brownie’s Beach; all you need is a sifter and some patience.
Megalodon teeth vs Great White
A 100+-year-old shipwreck in Lake Michigan
It seems you can trace almost anything in Chicago back to Al Capone. The 147-foot paddle-steamer Rotarian had all sorts of fun in the roaring ’20s, serving as a dancehall, Democratic headquarters, and a reputed party spot for the original Scarface. After sinking at dock, she was moved to the lake and reborn as a site for divers willing to brave the chilly 85-foot depths to see her algae-covered beams and beer bottles from the pre-Prohibition days.
Monterey’s Grand Canyon undersea
Just off the coast near Monastery Beach in Carmel is the epic Monterey Canyon, a natural gorge that plunges two miles deep… That’s two Grand Canyons for those counting! It’s also what makes the area a top whale-watching spot: The leviathans love the krill that proliferates here. Divers typically leave from Monastery Beach. Once they descend to 130 feet below the surface, they can peer over a drop-off to ponder the mysteries of the deep. Beats a crowded plexiglass walkway any day.
Explore Planet Ocean without getting wet
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will feature the work of the jaw-dropping underwater photographer Brian Skerry through 2015.
Underwater whale encounter from “Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography of Brian Skerry” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Sant Ocean Hall. http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos/portraits-planet-ocean-southern-right-whale