Withers Swash empties into the ocean due south of midtown Myrtle Beach, meandering down through what is now Family Kingdom Amusement Park and what was a few hundred years ago the homestead of one of the area’s first families.
The swash has lost some of its natural beauty with the passing of time and the encroachment of civilization, but it opens widely upon meeting the Atlantic and sand and sediment deposits at her mouth offer a consistently decent spot to look for fossils.
Ebbing tides first leave curved banks on either side of the swash and then expose a sand bar about two hours after high tide. At least that’s the way it’s been when my buddy, Bram, and I hunt there about every other week.
The slightly elevated plateau of sand in the midst of the swash mouth — a mini-delta of sorts — has been especially fruitful as far as finding sharks’ teeth goes. Nothing big. Just a ton of small teeth there for the taking.
Waves flow across the bar, rinse through light beds of shattered shell, bounce off the banks and retreat back across the plateau, giving beachcombers twice the opportunity to find fossils or shells.
Bram and I found 100 teeth between us within two-and-a-half hours. As I said earlier, none of the teeth were of any size. Yet, they were all beautiful. As was the opportunity to search for gems of natural history on a sparkling, fall morning on my favorite beach with one of my best friends ever. A really good guy and a fellow fossil enthusiast.
We retreated to his bungalow, categorized our bounty, had a few oat sodas and rested for the next morning’s outing at Withers Swash.
For the record, Withers Swash was part of a 66,000-acre King’s grant to Robert F. Withers in the early 1700s. Robert and his wife, Mary, operated an indigo plantation overlooking the swash. It was a do-or-dye operation, so to speak.
Wish I could have seen the swash then. Glad I can enjoy it now.