Sale May Renew Oak Island Hunt; By James Latter in 2006
OAK ISLAND ‑ Treasure hunters may soon resume the search for hidden riches on fabled Oak Island, after a lengthy hiatus.
Dan Blankenship ‑ one of the two principals who had sought treasure on the island since the 1960s ‑ confirmed last week that he intends to search anew, bolstered by the emergence of an American company, which purchased the interests of his long‑time partner, Montreal businessman David Tobias.
With the sale of Tobias’ 50 percent ownership of Oak Island Tours Inc. to
Michigan‑based oil and gas company Rock Management, the local company will approach the province for a treasure‑hunting license, said Blankenship, who owns the other 50 percent.
“I’m glad to see something happen to the island,” he said, noting that the island “has set idle, almost since 1992 or 93,” when the last exploration shaft was completed.
His new partners “are very excited” at the prospect of a treasure hunt, said Blankenship, though he added that he’s “old enough, not to get excited anymore.”
The island ‑ particularly its ‘money pit’, a shaft that plunges more than 60 metres into the earth and is
guarded by flood tunnels ‑ has been the subject of intense speculation and excavation.
Many people believe that pirate treasure is ingeniously buried there. But efforts to find it, which have
involved countless treasure hunters, and the expenditure of large amounts of money, have come up empty.
Blankenship said his firm would also approach the province’s Tourism Department about opening the island to public tours. But he said he’s not interested in operating them. “We ourselves are not going to run tours. We want no part of that,” he said.
However, he said he’d be interested to hear what ideas the Oak Island Tourism Society may have.
“It’s just fabulous to know that there will be an active treasure hunt on Oak Island,” said a spokesman for the society, in another recent interview. “If the province was to start tours there this summer, it would fit into our
plans very well,” said Danny Hennigar, whose society has been working to establish an interpretive centre on the island. It doesn’t matter to the society who conducts the tours, as long as they are provided, he said. “Certainly, we stand by to help out in any way we can.”