Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers

The Curse of Oak Island finale recap: It’s Crown time as team get behind Season 6

Team in the War Room on The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 finale
‘Once in, forever in’: The team celebrate their finds on The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 finale

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read below here if you don’t want to know what happened in The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 finale.

The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 finale was a rollercoaster of a ride — with some big disappointments, but also some eye-opening revelations.

It certified one thing, that this has without doubt been the most fruitful season yet for the Oak Island team in terms of discoveries. And it pretty much sealed the deal on there being a Season 6, which we previously already said was likely.

Here’s the 10 biggest things we learned in The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 Episode 16, Amazing Discoveries:

1 The gemstone is a rhodolite garnet

The gemstone found by Gary Drayton, which was revealed to be a rhodolite garnet

While the team had initially thought the gemstone found by Gary Drayton last episode could be a ruby, this wasn’t the case. After taking it to a gemologist in Halifax, Gary revealed it was actually a rhodolite garnet, a semi-precious stone known for its rose pink to deep-red coloring.

Garnets have been used in jewellery for a long time, as far back as the Pharaohs of Egypt. And while the fact it wasn’t a ruby was disappointing, there was something very interesting about it…

2 It’s 400-500 years old

Gary Drayton
Gary Drayton reveals to the team that the stone is 400 to 500 years old

The gemologist also confirmed that this was an OLD stone, from 400-500 years ago. That would mean it was from the 1500s to 1600s. Its age was identified by looking at two things, firstly the way it was cut.

Gary said of the gemologist: “In his opinion was it was a really old cut…these weren’t machine made and these were done before the days when people thought about refraction and light going through the stones.”

Secondly, the brooch the stone was set in was made of a type of silver that has a high percentage of copper in it — 73 per cent — a level apparently not used for many hundreds of years.

Marty was eager to do more research on the stone, and find out more about its origins. He said: “We got to figure out what it means and bring it to the next expert. I imagine four or five-hundred years ago, there might only be a certain amount of places where such a gem would come from, so that’s great stuff.”

3 Flocculant makes diving difficult

Mike Huntley preparing to dive
Mike Huntley being lowered into the DMT shaft to try and identify the obstruction

The next day saw diver Mike Huntley arrive to carry out his dive in the DMT shaft in a bid to find out what the obstruction was that the team hit earlier in the season, and which had been stopping them getting to what they believe could be the location of the Chappell Vault.

In order to try and improve the visibility, the team had earlier put what’s called flocculant into the water, which causes floating particles or small debris to clump together and settle at the bottom.

However, this had a negative and unexpected result — Mike couldn’t get to the bottom! Basically because the flocculant had caused all the debris to accumulate at the lowest point of the shaft, it became too dense and he was too buoyant to sink through it.

This meant he had to come up again and have 60-lb of extra lead weights added to his suit. After returning to the water he was finally able to get to the bottom, but couldn’t see a thing. He then said he felt a hard obstruction and “it’s kind of wide like a plate” — which got everyone very excited.

He came up to the surface again with a few samples of what was at the bottom, but it was nothing of any substance and certainly nothing that would have stopped the four-ton chisel bit which they earlier tried to break up the obstruction with.

It was now time for a third dive — to take down a pinpoint metal-detector and find out once and for all if the obstruction was actually a steel or cast-iron plate as they believed. As Mike had spent too much time under water already, back-up diver Nick Perry was sent down instead.

And it was bad news…

4 The obstruction in DMT is a massive granite boulder

Pieces of granite
The pieces of granite brought up from the bottom by Nick Perry

The metal-detector picked up…nothing. If the obstruction was made of metal it would have vibrated, and it didn’t. After receiving the bad news Mike, monitoring the dive from the surface, told Nick to take his glove off and try to feel the obstruction with his bare hand.

The result? “It just feels rough-ish. It just feels like a hard granite rock.” This was confirmed when Nick collected some bits from the bottom and put them in his glove to bring to the surface. He then laid them out on the top of a nearby casing top and…yup, they were definitely granite.

Everyone was baffled as to why the caisson couldn’t break through it as that’s what it was designed to do it, until Mike Jardine revealed that some granites “are as hard as steel”. With that, the team’s drilling operations for the year were over.

5 They’re going to have to reevaluate

Rick with members of Irving Equipment
Rick sends the Irving Equipment and Roc teams home for the season

The next day Rick met with the teams from Irving Equipment and Roc and with a heavy heart sent them home for the season. But he was still pretty sure the search in the Money Pit was not over yet, saying: “There is something down there.”

He’s certainly not wrong, as why else would they have brought up pottery, bones, book binding and parchment from the H-8 shaft earlier in the season? But the team, and fans, are going to have to wait to find out more.

Rick said he couldn’t promise that Irving and Roc would be back next year, but he added: “We have every expectation to see you guys back here. We’ll get to the bottom of this thing. It’s not goodbye, it’s we’ll see you soon. To that end, we’re not done.”

The question is — how are they going to get through that massive boulder?

6 They made A LOT of finds this season

Team and their discoveries in the War Room
The team in the War Room with all the discoveries they made in Season 5

The final scenes of Season 5 showed the team gathered in the War Room, along with Craig Tester via video link, with all the discoveries from Season 5 laid out on the table before them.

Seeing all the discoveries together was impressive. From the pottery, bones, book binding and parchment mentioned above, to the medieval lead cross and the rhodelite garnet brooch — as well as a ton of other stuff — there were A LOT of items.

Everyone in the room had their say as to what they believed were the most significant finds of the season, and it mainly came down to the lead cross, the bones and the parchment.

Rick, pointing to the book binding, said: “I have always said that what’s here may be ‘treasure’ or may be manuscripts or books — ancient knowledge, something, something that is far more valuable than temporal wealth. And this substantiates that belief.”

But what did all the pieces mean? Rick said: “We certainly have a mosaic here, and are yet to put it together. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces. Mom would tell us ‘get your straight edges here, put your corner pieces here, put your colored pieces here, put your blue pieces here’. And that’s what we’ve got laid out before us, and we have yet to figure it out.”

They obviously need more time, but it was now the moment for a critical decision for the team, one they reach at the end of every season — should they continue the hunt and, if so, how?

7 Dan questions whether it’s worth it

Dan and Dave Blankenship
Dan talks about the monetary cost of continuing the hunt

Dan Blankenship has spent more than half a century looking for treasure on Oak Island, but played Devil’s Advocate when the team started discussing what to do next.

The hunt is costing millions of dollars, but they are yet to find anything that would even come close to repaying it monetarily. Looking at the items laid out on the table, Dan’s son Dave said: “There’s a lot of stuff here that cost a lot of money to find. We are not getting our money back.”

When Marty asked Dan whether he thought they should quit or keep going, he said: “It’s a hard question, Marty, it really is. It’s a deep question and it’s hard.” After a long pause he added: “How deep are your pockets? It boils down to weather it’s worth it.”

Marty replied: “That’s the key question, Dan. How do you evaluate that, whether it’s worth it? How do you evaluate that?”

8 Marty thinks it is

Discoveries on the table
Items grouped together by Marty, which he said looked like a “regular mini treasure chest”

After having long been the biggest skeptic on the Oak Island team, it was surprisingly Marty who gave the biggest defence of continuing the hunt.

In a poignant moment and in response to Dan’s comments, he grouped several of the items on the table together — a few coins, the gemstone and the lead cross — and said: “Well, if you opened a little box and you found that — you might say you’ve found a bit of treasure wouldn’t you? It kind of looks like a regular mini treasure chest doesn’t it?!”

His point was that they ARE getting somewhere. They are finding things, and very interesting ones at that, and they are helping solve the mystery of what happened on the island in the past, which is what this is all about — history.

He said: “I will say this from my own standpoint, I entered this whole quest thinking that maybe nothing of any consequence really happened on this island prior to 1790. But as this year draws to a close I have to say I don’t believe that anymore. There’s too much here. I now believe something DID happen here prior to 1790.”

After hearing his brother say this, Rick smiled as he reached out and shook hands with Marty. He said: “Well, there you go, that’s getting somewhere!”

9 Everyone else is on board

Alex Lagina
Alex Lagina, who revealed that, like his dad, he is no longer a non-believer

Marty then went around the room asking what everyone else’s opinion was about quitting or continuing — and it was a pretty much unanimous “let’s keep going”. Gary, Doug Crowell, Charles Barkhouse, Laird Niven, Dan Henskee, and Jack Begley all gave affirmative answers.

Craig Tester also agreed, saying via video link: ” Well, the evidence this year Marty…we didn’t find the treasure but I think we had a fantastic year. We got a number of major things out in Smith’s Cove — the u-shaped structure — and could there be more things like the lead cross that could tell us who did it? Yeah, definitely.”

Alex Lagina then revealed that, like his dad, he had gone from skeptic to believer, saying: “Year one I was kind of thinking ‘come on, what are we really going to find?’ This year I’m thinking ‘ok there’s a lot more to BE found’.”

Rick joked: “You always thought when I told you the story, you thought ‘oh there goes uncle Rick again’.” Alex, laughing, replied: “I did, I did. I won’t lie, I did think that. I don’t think it any more. The preponderance of evidence here — I wouldn’t drill this up and then stop, that’s my opinion.”

10 Bring on Season 6!

Marty and Rick Lagina
Marty says “it’s time to take a break” before Rick adds: “For now.”

It was then Dan’s turn to answer. He told how he first came over to Oak Island after being attracted by the mystery. When Doug Crowell asked if he thought there was still a mystery to solve, he replied: “Well, the answer to that would have to be yes!”

Finally it was Rick’s turn. He said: “I think what we need to do, given the amount of significant material there — I’m going to fall back on what Dan suggested to us last year. Take a step back, try to ascertain what all of this may mean and…

“For me this puzzle is ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’. And this year in particular this little piece of parchment might be the what. And this little item right here [the cross]…this might be a clue to lead us to who. And the rest will fall into place, but we have to follow. We speak a lot about family here and for Marty and I, we always run back to mom and dad.

“So mom would say, you know, ‘sempre avanti — always forward. Get the puzzle together’. But for me the only way to really put this thing together is for us to do it together. One in all in, once in forever in!”

And with that, the future of the show, and the hunt, looked rosy. Marty said: “I say we celebrate, I say we declare victory!” After one final comment from Dave Blankenship, Season 5 of the Curse of Oak Island was signed, sealed and delivered. “It’s Crown time!” he said.

Marty replied: “It’s Crown time! I say, to the Fellowship of the Dig!”

In an interview with producers, Rick added: “We’ve certainly made progress, and I think that we certainly have a substantial amount of puzzle pieces. Now it’s getting time where we start putting some of these pieces together. We need connective tissue.”

Marty said: “To some extent it’s like a love, hate relationship. This island can be brutal, and it can be rewarding, and it’s beautiful, and it’s mystical. And it’s all those things, but it’s time to take a break. The search goes home for a while.” Rick added: “For now.”

The Curse of Oak Island airs a special Drilling Down episode next Tuesday at 9/8c on History.