Hidden Gem: Sharks Tooth Island on Cape Fear River

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Wilmington, N.C. (WTVD) -- Summer is in full swing and that means a lot of people head to the North Carolina coast.

If you are looking for a different kind of adventure on the coast, you may want to put Sharks Tooth Island on your list.

Many locals told ABC11 they have heard about Sharks Tooth Island, but, not many know where it is.

So we went to Mahanaim Adventures and Lead Guide Joseph Harty unfolded the mystery.

The island formed when the Cape Fear River was dredged, and is accessible by kayak off of River Road Park in Wilmington.

"There are a lot of people who have lived here almost a lifetime and they've heard of the island but they don't know where it is and they'll walk onto the dock and be like, Wow! I've been past that island a good number of times and I never knew that was it," Harty said.

"We find all sorts of sharks teeth, some that can fit on the tip of your pinky to some we've found that are half the size of your whole palm out here. A lot of them are broken up as well," Harty explained.

Harty said his most frequently asked question is why this little island is so full of fossils.

"These islands are all dredge islands," Harty said. "Back in the late 1800's when the Cape Fear was initially dredged, it took all that sand and rock and piled it up and created these islands, Sharks Tooth Island and islands north of it," Harty said.

"In all that rubble there were all sorts of fossils and sharks teeth," he explained. Now, kayaking trips to Sharks Tooth Island are one of Harty's favorites to take families to.

"It's a lot of fun," Harty said. "It's not just for kids getting out there and having a whole bunch of fun. I always find myself out there looking down and looking for that next shark's tooth, that next treasure wondering when am I going to find the

next big one, It's always in the back of my mind when I'm on this island," Harty said.

Harty said the best time for shark tooth hunting is during low tide or after a big storm.