VENICE, FL– A Venice diver and charter boat captain made a profession find while diving with clients on Dec. 11– a massive Megalodon shark tooth in the Gulf of Mexico.
The tooth steps at just over 5-7/8 inches, said Capt. Michael Nastasio, owner of Black Gold Fossil Charters.
Venice is a popular place for discovering shark teeth and other small fossils. It’s referred to as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World” by some for excellent factor. But it’s known for the quality and amount of the shark teeth found in the area, not their size, Nastasio said.
”This is the kind of thing you always wish for. You know they’re out there someplace, and when you finally see it and know what it is, it makes your heart stop,” he said.
He was out diving with 3 clients the day he made his find. Everyone on board had actually currently discovered numerous shark teeth and fossils throughout the very first two dives that day.
For the 3rd and last dive of the day, Nastasio took the group to “a hero or zero type spot,” he said. “You’re either a hero or you’re a zero. They were game for it. They wanted to find that hero, too.”
It’s tough to explain how he felt when he first saw the big, exposed tooth at his trick diving spot, he said. “My very first reaction was just, I don’t know. When you see it exposed like that, there was a wave of emotions. That (kind of tooth) is what we look for. That’s what we wish to find. To see something like that personally and that exposed took my breath away.”
Prior to becoming a charter boat captain, Nastasio worked as an agent for Farmers Insurance coverage, where he always felt like the office “oddball.”
He invested most of his leisure time outdoors, fishing and searching for arrowheads. And the brand-new pastime he picked up when he transferred from Missouri to Venice ten years ago– searching the beaches and waters for shark teeth– made him stick out even more.
He included, “I never believed I ‘d make the move to really do it, however delighted that I did, obviously. I didn’t think it was possible to work for yourself.”
Nastasio said his phone “hasn’t stopped calling” given that his huge find, however he’s currently dreaming of his next discovery.
“It’s something I want to duplicate in the future,” he said. “There’s still larger teeth to be found.”
Discover more about Nastasio’s dives on his YouTube channel, “I Hunt Dead Things,” where he shares undersea video footage.