The Curse of Oak Island recap: The team may have found a direct path to the Money Pit, as well as evidence of mysterious offshore ciphers

Rick Lagina and Craig Tester on Curse of Oak Island.
Rick Lagina and Craig Tester on The Curse of Oak Island. Pic credit: History

On The Curse of Oak Island this week, the team gets a status report on the massive sinkhole that’s developed at H8, as well as an update on what could be off-shore vent locations. But perhaps the most promising development takes place at Smith’s Cove, where the positive results of a dye test could prove the existence of legendary flood tunnels on the island.

On last week’s episode what started as a small cave in around the caisson at H8 grew to epic proportions within a matter of hours. With human safety at risk, Marty Lagina made the decision to shut down the entire operation until an engineer could inspect the site.

This week they’re told by Vanessa Lucido, CEO of ROC Equipment, that the whole H8 area needs to be monitored due to the compromised ground. Because she cannot be sure of what exactly is taking place underground, she suggests that the treasure hunting team use a vibro hammer, a massive hydraulic tool, on H8 in order to jiggle the huge metal can. Ironically the jarring motion will cause more earth to cave in, but could at the same time cause the surrounding ground to stabilize.

Then again, the other scenario is that the vibro hammer causes a catastrophic cave in. According to Lucido, the good news is that the collapse appears to be an isolated event. The bad news? There’s no guarantee that something bigger is not brewing.

Rick Lagina replies that there is no treasure in the world worth anyone getting hurt for, and he still has hope for H8.

Later, the vibro hammer is clamped unto the caisson, someone yells, “Tickle it!” and with that the vibrating tool kick-starts, rock and rolling the tubular caisson.

Elsewhere, members of the team travel 60 miles east to the Center of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, to follow up on the offshore data that experts collected in last week’s episode. There they are told that LIDAR scans reveal two possible vent locations off the southern shore of Oak Island, just south of the swamp. Could these be a cause of the ice holes that Dan Blankenship found in the same area back in the 1970s?

A graph of the south end of Oak Island
The team travels to Nova Scotia to the Center of Geographic Science. Pic credit: History

Next, the team is shown several triangular shadows picked up by the LIDAR and speculation ensues. Could there somehow be a connection between these three-sided shapes and the triangular swamp? Or perhaps these triangular shadows have a connection to the many triangular symbols that have been found carved in stone on the island?

Marty asks the experts where the shadows are pointing to, and when told their direction, he notes, “Interestingly enough that would be pointing … at the Money Pit.”

He declares the data very valuable, albeit with some anomalies present. He wants more data.

Meanwhile, at Smith’s Cove, Marty asks the heavy equipment operator to cut deep trenches as part of the latest exploration effort. In just two months’ time, the team has uncovered a plethora of intriguing finds here, including wooden and concrete walls, massive U and L shaped structures, and a wooden slipway possibly over two centuries old. But the most significant find is what could be one of five stone box drains, part of an elaborate booby trap system.

The stone box drains were discovered in 1850, with a reported convergence point at the beach. Marty wants to find this convergence point, with the hope of following it all the way to the Money Pit. When metal detecting expert Gary Drayton shows up and starts getting pings on his equipment, Marty wants to know if it indicates ferrous metal.

“So far registering as non-ferrous,” responds Gary. But when Marty sinks the heavy equipment claw into the spot Gary’s found, and says, “what’s this?”

Gary finds only, “a bucket, a big metal bucket.” The excitement quickly fades, but undeterred Marty keeps on digging. Later Marty says of the day’s efforts at Smith’s Cove, “no answers, just more questions.”

Later the team gathers in the war room to discuss re-running the dye test. In 2014 the team conducted a dye test at borehole 10X to see if the dye emerged at various points around island. If so, it might be evidence of manmade tunnels, possibly pointing the way to the legendary treasure vault. But the team used green dye (indistinguishable from seaweed) and no tunnels were detected.

This time around Marty has fluorescent red dye. “The goal of the dye test,” he says, “is to determine natural versus artificial introduction of seawater into the Money Pit area.”

They hope to find proof of the flood tunnel system, thus proving that the old stories are true. In particular, they hope to see the dye seep out into Smith’s Cove. If this happens, Rick says it’s, “information confirmation,” while Marty offers that he’s willing to stay, “open-minded.”

Geologist Terry Matheson is entrusted to pour the dye inside borehole C1. Dug in 2015, C1 has produced evidence of an underground void, and a glittery, gold-colored object.

A pump forces water down C1 along with the non-toxic dye to the island’s eastern- and southern-most points. Team members are deployed on boats and at Smith’s Cove. They put three drones in the air, and use hi-def video cameras at remote viewing areas so they can see the live feeds from each drone.

But within seconds of the water being pumped, Marty yells, “What the hell! Kill it, kill it, kill the pump!” The hose has twisted and if it explodes the tremendous pressure could cause irreparable damage.

Dejected, Marty calls it an inauspicious beginning, noting, “I hate to say, ‘typical Oak Island,’ but I’m gonna say, ‘typical Oak Island!’”

But it’s a minor setback, and once the hose is unkinked the water flows and the dye is introduced into the shaft.

Now it’s hurry up and wait time. Without a hint of irony, Rick says, “the dye has been cast.”

Soon Jack Begley points to one of the live-feed screens and yells, “What is that? there is something there!”

He radios diver Tony Sampson who is out on one of the boats and tells him there’s, “a weird anomaly in the water.”

Scanning the area, Tony tells Jack he’s right underneath the spot and sees nothing.

The mood brightens when Dan Blankenship arrives on site. Will the patriarch of the dig bring the team some desperately needed good luck? The 95-year old has spent five decades trying to solve the Oak Island mystery, and he has passed on his wealth of information to the team.

In 1988 Dan and his son Dave ran a similar dye test at borehole 10X and they saw red dye emerge at Smith’s Cove and along the north and south shores. Unfortunately, Dan lacked the financial resources to follow up this exciting find.

Eventually, word comes in that there is no dye spotted on the south shore beach. But when Gary has a look at Smith’s Cove, it’s a different story.

“Oh my god, look at that,” he exclaims and summons the team. Pointing to the wet ground, he shows them a reddish-brown trickle.

“Is it dye seeping out,” he wants to know, noting that, “The spot was dry before this morning.”

The Curse of Oak Island team found a trickle of red dye
Is this the red dye? Pic credit: History

Saying he hates to be the dog in the manger, Marty says, “I think that’s just rust-colored, Gary.”

Still, the team speculates further. Could this be a sudden flow of water connected to the Money Pit and Smith’s Cove?

Gary thinks the flow of water is now increasing and is turning vivid orange, and Jack volunteers to scoop some of it into two water bottles right before a sudden downpour threatens to wash out the experiment. He takes the samples to researcher Paul Troutman, who is waiting in the Oak Island research center.

Paul uses a fluorometer to measure traces of the red fluorescent dye. On the first sample he gets a baseline reading of 9.689. If the next reading is higher than this it is a positive indicator of dye. When the fluorometer shows the second reading of 11.98, Jack yells, “yeah!”

“That’s a good indication,” says Troutman.

The sample tested was from the spot Gary pointed out beneath the crane pad, and Marty concludes this an area they need to dig further. “It’s significant, very, very significant. I don’t know what to say other than that it’s great news.”

If this development proves that there is a strong connection between Smith’s Cove and the Money Pit, it signifies a huge breakthrough for the team this year. Has the team uncovered a direct path to the Money Pit and its fabled treasure vault? Or have they stumbled onto a deadly trap instead?

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on History.

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