Beach Bites

BY Hannah Bunn Kristen Nieto and Richard Leder

Mighty Megalodon

The Ocean was a scary place 5 million years ago

You’re watching the swirling blues and greens of the ocean when a dull silver cone shoots up to the surface. Its head is half your size with crowded rows of teeth a wide red abyss of a mouth and bottomless black eyes. Your knuckles turn white as you clutch the railing and stare in fearful wonder.

Despite evidence against the negative stereotypes surrounding the great white shark the creature’s sheer size and length cause most people to shiver. The average great white is 10-15 feet long or around the same length as a Honda Civic Sedan with 2-inch teeth as sharp as razors. The largest great white ever found was 21 feet long the same length as a Ford Super Duty pickup truck.

Though great white sightings at Wrightsville Beach are few and far between if any 5 million years ago there was a shark off the coast of North Carolina that could have swallowed the great white whole. The megalodon or the megatooth shark is speculated by some to be “Jaws’” prehistoric granddaddy. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage the only evidence found of the megalodon’s existence are its teeth which are 6-7 inches long three times the size of the great white’s.

Based on the size of the teeth paleontologists have calculated that the megalodon was in the neighborhood of 50 feet long with a jaw so large that seven adults could fit comfortably inside its open mouth. It is classified as the largest ocean predator that ever lived.

Nobody really knows how the megalodon became extinct but its teeth can be found all over the world especially on the beaches of North Carolina. So be on the lookout. One can be strolling along Wrightsville Beach hunting for shells and instead find the remains of a prehistoric titan. — Kristen Nieto

Take it to heart

American Heart Month

It’s not just Cupid taking aim at your heart; February is American Heart Month — a month dedicated to the dangers of cardiovascular disease — and the entire health industry has you in its sights. A collective and special effort to raise and promote awareness of staying fit though exercise and good nutrition is being made. Cardiovascular disease is the numero uno killer of both men and women so take this message to heart: Don’t smoke eat smarter move more and get a good night’s sleep. A healthy heart is a happy heart; no better gift for your Valentine. — Richard Leder

Horticulture 101

15th Annual Wilmington Garden Show

For 19 years the New Hanover County Arboretum has been presenting the beauty of gardening with trees and flowers native to the Azalea Coast. This February the Arboretum hosts its 15th annual Wilmington Garden Show a display of vendors that offers patrons the supplies they need to turn their own gardens into paradise. On Friday February 1 there will be a preview show to benefit the Ability Garden a program that teaches disabled individuals about horticulture. Tickets for the preview show are $30 in advance $35 at the door and will include hors d’oeuvres music coffee and desserts. The garden show will then open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $7 and children younger than 12 get in free. The show will feature numerous speakers and 40 vendors including the Cape Fear Community College culinary department. Last year more than 3 000 people attended the event throughout the weekend. To reserve tickets or for more information call (910) 798-7670. — Kristen Nieto

Give a dog a bone

Black-tie event benefits canine rescue

On Saturday February 9 the Sunburst Foundation of Wilmington — a local canine rescue organization dedicated to helping stray and discarded animals find permanent homes — is hosting its first fundraiser “Hope Floats ” through its new fundraising group the Dragonfly Network. Sadly the rate of animal euthanasia in the Port City is steadily climbing. There are more pets than owners and animal control organizations are euthanizing more and more healthy homeless animals. The Sunburst Foundation believes that spaying and adopting are the best ways to prevent unnecessary euthanasia so it created the Dragonfly Network to help this cause. At the Holiday Inn SunSpree the Dragonfly Network will host a black-tie event from 7-11 p.m. Tommy B. & The Stingers will get everybody dancing hors d’oeuvres will be served and all proceeds from the live and silent auctions will benefit the foundation as well as other local rescue shelters and spay and neutering programs. Tickets for Hope Floats are $75 per person. To make reservations or for more information call (910) 622-0011 or visit — Kristen Nieto

Sur la table

Art of the Table event at Bellamy Mansion

Built in 1861 for John Dillard Bellamy his wife Eliza and their nine children the Bellamy Mansion is a symbol of Wilmington’s storied history. In 1865 the mansion was commandeered as headquarters for federal troops after the fall of Fort Fisher. It went on to survive the Civil War and is now a local history museum as well as a Historic Downtown Wilmington landmark. From Friday February 22 through Sunday February 24 the mansion will host its first Art of the Table event a showcase that will feature 30 tables and several mantels made by local craftsmen. Thursday evening the Bellamy Mansion will host a party for sponsors and exhibitors then on Friday there will be special preview events. On Saturday and Sunday admission will be general admission and everyone will get a glimpse at the latest innovative table styles. Tickets for Friday’s preview events are $25-$35 general admission tickets are $18. To reserve tickets or for more information call (910) 251-3700 or visit — Kristen Nieto

Lessen your impact

WB Recycling Center is convenient clean and easy to use

Reduce reuse recycle. We’re all familiar with the phrase and today with the drive to be “green” and “eco-friendly ” it seems more important than ever. Of the six recycling centers in the county Wrightsville Beach is home to one of the most impressive and most used facilities according to public works director Mike Vukelich. “We have a fairly environmentally friendly community here in Wrightsville Beach ” he says. “It’s a very active recycling center.” The center is located on Causeway Drive beside Town Hall and is open seven days a week 24 hours a day. Anyone can drive right up to the bins to sort recyclables which include glass aluminum plastic mixed paper newspaper and cardboard and be on his or her way. “The center is in very close proximity to both roads; people here in town use it and we have people come from the west side of the bridge as well ” says Vukelich. “Its location makes it convenient and easy to use.” When the bins fill up (which is often) the trash is then taken to the New Hanover County Wastec Facility and turned into useable materials. So start recycling and feel good about doing your part to help out the WB environment. For more information call the recycling center at (910) 256-7935 or visit the Web site — Hannah Bunn

What Can you recycle?

The Wrightsville Beach Recycling center breaks down recyclable items into the following six categories

Clear brown and green glass. Bottles and jars only. Lids should be removed.

Clear plastic green plastic milk jugs and detergent bottles.

Aluminum cans only.

Mixed Paper
Paper paperboard folders egg cartons catalogs magazines telephone books and paperbacks.

Newspaper only.

Corrugated cardboard (packing boxes) only.

Chocolate lovers…consider yourself warned

Sixth annual Chocolate Fantasy Adventure Show

The Volunteer Older Citizens Action League (VOCAL) presents one very indulgent weekend Friday February 8 through Sunday February 10: The sixth annual Chocolate Fantasy Adventure show. The event will take place at the New Hanover County Senior Center and begins Friday night with a preview gala from 6-9 p.m. The gala will include wine tastings heavy hors d’oeuvres jazz music raffles and of course plenty of chocolate. Tickets for the preview gala are $20. The Adventure Show itself takes place on Saturday February 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday February 10 from 1-4 p.m. at the senior center with more than 25 local vendors setting up their sweets and decadent desserts for guests to sample and buy. Fudge candy chocolates baked goods and everything else to satisfy your sweet tooth will be offered. A raffle and a Chinese auction will happen during the show as well. All proceeds from this very sweet weekend will go to the New Hanover County Department of Aging in support of area seniors improving upon and continuing existing programs such as the Family Caregiver program Meals on Wheels and many more. Tickets for the Chocolate Fantasy Adventure show are $5 in advance $8 at the door. For more information call (910) 798-6400. — Hannah Bunn