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The thunderbolts of Rügen are orange, crystaline bullets. They are the remnants of ancient squidlike creatures, which became extinct with the dinosaurs. They are called belemnites. We stayed three days on the northern corner of Rügen where the clear blue waters of the Baltic and white chalk cliffs dominate the coastline. In these cliffs you can find belemnites and other fossils embedded in the matrix and along the rocky beach.

The first thing I wanted to do when we got there was look for them in the cliffs, but we were distracted by food and walked inland. Later, on the second day was my chance to find fossils. I walked out onto the beach on my own, with some tinfoil wrapping and a small drawstring bag. I started by walking the shoreline and picking up fragments. Along the way I talked with some locals in rudimentary Deutsche. They were collecting. Most of them only had small pieces of belemnites and somtimes a pristine tip. “Where are these coming from” I thought. And more importantly, “where are the whole ones?”

I soon answered my own question while walking along the cliffside. The cliffs at this point of the beach had risen up many meters. Black flint lines ran throughout the cliff in veins. I came across one that was cracked open. To my suprise, a belemnite was stuck inside. It was pristine, but I couldn’t dig it out due to its size, and the depth it was into the cliffs.  I ran back to the beach house and came back with a spoon and started chipping away at various spots in the cliff.

I gave up coming across belemnites by chance and began to look for fresh slidings where the cliff had torn itself away. Almost immediately I found the tip of one sticking out of the cliff. The rest of the day was spent clawing at them and putting their pieces into tinfoil. I continued to dig them out for the majority of my trip at Ruegen. At home I pulled the pieces of them back out and started gluing them together. The biggest is about 4.5 inches.