Hollis Marsh or Hollis Island, nicknamed Sharks Tooth Island is a great little area to anchor your boat or park your kayak and scan the shoreline for fossilized shark and porpoise teeth, shells and vertebrae and stingray dental plates from creatures that inhabited this area many, many years ago.
This place is only accessible by boat, kayak, canoe or jet ski, You cannot drive to it with a car. If you do not have a boat or a friend with a boat, you may be able to charter a ride there with a local captain.
Permit-holders can scour the sandy and marshy areas for Miocene Epoch fossils which are millions of years old! The teeth of extinct sharks most commonly found here belong to the Tiger, Requiem, Mackerel, Hammerhead and the Sand Shark. Teeth of the spectacular giant White Shark, (Carcharondon Megalodon) are found here too, but are rare.
The Sharks Tooth Island Backstory...
Way back when, this entire region was under water. Once the waters receded, the 100-foot high cliffs that tower over the Potomac River began to release all the fossils that were stored. What happens is the cliffs erode, the fossils fall into the river and they are carried downstream where they come to rest on Sharks Tooth Island. Please do not attempt to dig in the cliff areas upriver as they are on private property, for one. They are also very unstable and prone to collapse. Evidence of recent landslides can be seen from the river.
The smaller-sized teeth are plentiful here and it's possible to find larger ones as well. The teeth in the photo above were all found within about a 20-minute timeframe.
Watch out for jellyfish if you visit the area. Don't get stung! Bring some vinegar or baking soda, whichever works best for you to apply to any jellyfish stings just in case.
Here's a neat drone footage video of the area:
You may even be able to catch the occasional live music performance.
The property is privately owned. Here's the contact information so you can secure a permit to visit.
Hollis Island Owners, c/o Tam Foxwell, 1390 Poor Jack Road, Montross, VA. 22520. Please note this is a mailing address only.
Seasonal Permit Fees: $150 per boat, $155 per jet ski and $100 per kayak