We are 21 episodes into the sixth season of "The Curse Of Oak Island" and I have become convinced the Oak Island curse actually has something to do with the slow pace of the show. I understand that it takes time to find treasure and I'm even resigned to watching lots of episodes where nothing much new happens. But there have been episodes this season where the big reveal was along the lines of "they find an old nail." I'm not asking for television's answer to "Indiana Jones," but the only reason this season was expanded to a soul-sucking 22 episodes (the finale is next week) is that viewers are apparently eager to have the same facts recapped to them week after week.
On this week's episode, it's two weeks to go before the team is set to leave Oak Island for the winter and the activity at the Money Pit area remains at a standstill. A strike of local crane operators has stopped activity, which is an issue since the strike might last as long as 21 days and that would mean nothing else will happen before the winter weather shuts down operations. And the team has just started work at the borehole known as "Site 3," which they believe directly intersects with the original money pit.
While everyone waits for the strike to end, Rick Lagina and Craig Tester go to the Money Room to start a video conference call with Marty Lagina. They need to make some decisions about how to move forward and wisely use whatever time is left in the season. All three agree to concentrate on Smith's Cove and try and finish that excavation in the next two weeks. But Craig and Marty are leaning towards shutting down for the season after that, while Rick would like to work until the very last moment possible. But Marty does suggest that they should explore all their options, even if it involves taking another run at excavating the triangle-shaped swamp the team tackled in their early years on the island.
During those earlier excavations, the team found a Spanish pirate coin dating back to 1652, a large iron spike and a piece of deck planking. All of these discoveries dovetailed with the theory of Fred Nolan, a previous Oak Island treasure hunter and land owner. He believed the swamp had been artificially created so someone could sink a sailing ship and hide it from view. The team decides to do geoseismic testing of the swamp, similar to the work done earlier in the year in the Money Pit area.
Rick Lagina then traveled to Smith's Cove to examine work being done there by other members of the team. Three weeks ago, work had begin to excavate the beach where a pad had been built for the crane that has built the cofferdam around the cove. There was some indications that the area might be the location of the mysterious stone box drains, which are rumored to funnel sea water into the Money Pit area as a way to protect it from fortune hunters. Suddenly, the team uncovers yet another mysterious buried wall, along with some sort of wooden plank system. It's another structure in Smith's Cove that no one can identify.
While work continues at Smith's Cove, Rick Lagina, Craig Tester and other members of the Oak Island team meet at the War Room to hear yet another theory about how they might be able to find the treasure rumored to be buried there. Oak Island has a Kennedy-assassination-level number of theorists and viewers have been introduced to a number of them. Chris Donah had contacted Rick Lagina about research he had been doing about the island's mysterious triangle-shaped swamp. He spins out his theory to the team which attempts to connect several constellations, parts of the Zodiac and even the Free Masons to Oak Island. Like all of these theories, Donah's sounds pretty ludicrous. But it does kill some screen time. He claims there may be a back door to the original Money Pit in the Eastern corner of the swamp. And for what it's worth, five years ago the team did discover a large, mysterious flat rock buried in the swamp in that exact area.
In preparation for the seismic survey, the Oak Island has spent two days draining the water from the triangle-shaped swamp. In order to create a walkable surface for the survey team, a large number of plywood pieces have been laid across the mud. Testing of the swamp will require placing nearly 2,000 individual charges nearly two feet below the surface. When they are all ignited in sequence, they will set off seismic waves that will allow testers to build a 3-D image of what lies below the surface of the swamp.
While the preparation at the swamp continues, Marty Lagina and metal detection expert Gary Drayton begin an exploration of Lot 27. That is the location where the team has deposited material they retrieved from the swamp during recent efforts to drain it. Marty uses a bulldozer to spread out the piles of spoils, while Gary uses a metal detector to examine things closer. They find a very old button and some sort of old coin or token with a hole punched in the middle.
The following day, seismic testing begins at the swamp. It will involve detonating 2,025 charges one at a time-about 300 per day. At the same time, work continues at Smith's Cove, where Charles Barkhouse joins team geologist Terry Matheson and archaeologist Laird Niven. They are continuing to excavate what they believe may be the main flood tunnel, first discovered in 1850. If they are correct, the flood tunnel could lead them directly back to the location of the original Money Pit. As they dig, they uncover a pile of rocks that has water running through them. The rocks seem to go back towards the Money Pit, leading to some speculation the team might have uncovered one of the long-lost stone box drains.
That evening the team gathers back at the War Room to hear the results of testing done on samples of wood that had been taken from various wooden structures the team had discovered once the water was drained from Smith's Cove. Dendochronology uses the rings found in wood to date when the wood was cut. Each sample is compared to samples where the ages of the wood are already known. Tree rings are very specific for each year and the results are considered to be extremely scientifically accurate. Professor Colin Laroque from the University of Saskatchewan did the testing and he joined the team via video chat to give them the results.
The first wood sample-taken from one of the mysterious horizontal walls that had been found in Smith's Cove. Professor Laroque was unable to accurately date the wood, due to some water damage of the sample. But the sample from the slipway was dated back to 1771, over two decades before the Money Pit was originally discovered. Two samples from the strange U-shaped structures were dated back to 1769. All of which is impressive, since it means the structures seem to have been built as part of whatever happened in the Money Pit. And as Marty Lagina speculates, finding wood of a similar age in the Money Pit area would tie everything together.
That's it for this week's episode and the tease for next week's season finale shows the discovery of another buried wall in Smith's Cove as well as a new theory which argues the treasure from Oak Island was discovered and used by America's founding fathers to pay for the Revolutionary War.
So it sounds like whatever happens next week, we'll be back again in 2020 for more drawn-out discoveries on Oak Island.