Smith's Cove

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Smith's Cove

Postby RRD2 on Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:32 pm

The importance of Smith's Cove in the overall understanding of Oak Island cannot be understated. We probably understand less about this area than we do about the MP, and as Cerris might point out, we may not understand that at all.

I have uploaded an image of RDI's field sketch of Smith's Cove on the OIRG photo site, located at:

http://www.msnusers.com/oakisland

Please see the "Documents" section, and enlarge the image by placing the cursor at the lower left hand corner for the image icon...

I have been reluctant to discuss this feature for several reasons, but now may be an appropriate time to begin preliminary discussions. The field sketch (in slightly altered form) was previously pirated and used without authorization on another website which is now suspended.

The sketch is also now available in a new (reprint) book, but portions of it have been altered or deleted. In all fairness, the original is in my possession, but copies have been made available to interested parties on a limited basis from Triton. I don't have an opinion either way regarding the use of the sketch in printed materials, for that was at the discretion of Triton management and if they deem it appropriate, then they have my blessing. Triton documents in my possession have never been made public or given to any individual in accordance with the confidentiality agreement and that will not change. RDI data and information, however, will ultimately be available to everyone.

In any event, the sketch is now available for everyone here, and we will discuss various aspects of the cove as well as the details on the sketch. I have been studying the sketch for about five years, believe it or not, and some interesting details have become apparent.

As for photos of of this area, I am trying to have two rather poor images enhanced as well as working with some film. I will be assisting someone with these pics if they turn out, and hopefully we will all see them very soon....

More to come...


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Postby RRD2 on Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:50 pm

Treasure, anyone.....?

Smith's Cove was important to RDI for many reasons, the least of which you will find in the following entry dated Feb. 8, 1967.

"By accident through dozer work we located an original circular hole behind the junction of the drains. This hole is filled with man-sized rocks and beach sand, it was back-filled and covered by 10 feet of material to replace its natural over-burden. In March, I tried to excavate this hole with a 3/4 cubic yard mobile clam with 1/2 yard bucket; we bailed out rocks, etc., to a depth of 25 feet and were unable to dig further with the small bucket. A platform of logs or timbering left us scratching half a day with no recovery. Coupled with depleted finances and thawing, rainy weather, we were forced to move the machine with dozers before it settled out of sight. The project was finished. Financing was not available and of course Mr. Chappell could not be expected to renew a 6 year old lease when money could not be provided for further work.
It is my thinking that pirates had go no further than this particular shallow hole, made their deposit at depth, flood it at about 35 feet, and replace the over-burden. It would be effective, rational and very possible."


I have two grainy photos of this hole which I am trying to enhance. Hopefully, the pictures will be worth seeing in the future.....


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Postby RRD2 on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:00 pm

RDI wrote:......" A platform of logs or timbering" .....


Sound familiar......?

One would think that with a discovery such as this, everything would be done to follow-up and see what was exactly there. It was not to be. The discovery in question was never subsequently examined, despite extensive lobbying by RDI. This fact remains true to this day.....

There were many problems, to be sure. The weather, lack of funds, and the expiry of leases and TTL's being but a few. Later, other areas of interest drew priority and the exact location was all but forgotten. One must understand that there are literally over a hundred different holes and shafts in the vicinity of the cove, indeed about 80 by Restall alone not marked (but noted) on the field sketch.

There was a great deal of work at the cove done by Triton in 1970, much of which may be reviewed in several of the books on O.I.. Many interesting discoveries were made, but little with regard to the hole (Hole #3 for identification..) or the filter and drain system. Additional structures were uncovered as well as a few interesting artifacts.

The importance of the area near the cove was realized by just a few of those directly involved in exploration. Credit is due Restall, who spent several years probing about the area, initially with the intent to slow or completely eliminate the water problem. It is my guess that after a period of time and realization, the scope of the work being done there changed from that of the water and the money pit to something else entirely. In retrospect, I believe that Restall was very close to making a substantial discovery....

The location of hole #3 was not noted on any map, except as an afterthought on a late copy of the field sketch. Finding the spot now would be extremely difficult, except for one feature.....the "huge boulder".

As D'Arcy correctly surmised, this natural feature is likely the only survivor of natural or human intervention since before the time of the depositors. From this, nearly everything may be located in the present, as it was in the past. As a side note, the triangle of stones was also likely from the time of the depositors. It points primarily due North, in the direction of the money pit, as it was intended.


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Restall

Postby Tank04 on Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:29 pm

RDII,

In retrospect, I believe that Restall was very close to making a substantial discovery....


Having been privy to some new information on the Restall years recently, I believe your statement is spot on. Restall spent a lot of time in Smith's Cove and did it all with a pick and shovel. That is tedious, close up, careful, dificult work by it's very nature.

I believe that if he had more time to explore the Heddon and Chappell shafts, he may have made some ominous discoveries. The Heddon shaft during his time, including a three foot sump, was 173 feet deep. Alas, he worked on a shoe string budget and was often beset with mechanical problems.
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Postby RRD2 on Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:01 am

Indeed, Tank...

The tragedy should never have happened. Your point about the slow, tedious work that the Restalls endured is a good one. If things had not progressed in this fashion, then much of what was learned about the cove would not be known. If unlimited funds were available during that period, our mystery might have been solved, but then, with the money comes all the dirty details and politics. His methods, I believe, in the end will prove themselves worthy. The slow, cautious approach often yeilds far more clues.


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Postby Keeled_over on Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:09 am

Tank,

Having been privy to some new information on the Restall years recently, I believe your statement is spot on.


Anything you can share with the rest of us?

I believe that if he had more time to explore the Heddon and Chappell shafts, he may have made some ominous discoveries.


Ominous? What do you think he might have encountered? Just what could be considered "ominous"?

Regards,
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Postby Keeled_over on Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:20 am

RRD2,

RD1 wrote,

It is my thinking that pirates had go no further than this particular shallow hole, made their deposit at depth, flood it at about 35 feet, and replace the over-burden. It would be effective, rational and very possible.


Did your father ever elaborate on why he believed that pirates were responsible for the workings on OI? Or, was he trying to rule them out?

Thank you for sharing this new info. It seems as though there is still ALOT of information that is held privately, just waiting to be placed into the puzzle. Too bad others weren't as willing to share as you. key word is "willing", no one is obligated.

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Postby RRD2 on Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:17 pm

Keeled_over wrote:RRD2,

RD1 wrote,

It is my thinking that pirates had go no further than this particular shallow hole, made their deposit at depth, flood it at about 35 feet, and replace the over-burden. It would be effective, rational and very possible.


Did your father ever elaborate on why he believed that pirates were responsible for the workings on OI? Or, was he trying to rule them out?

K_O



Keen observation, K_O...

I believe that he chose his words carefully. It is interesting to note that the word "depositors", etc.. was not used here and this is a relatively late entry, meaning there was much time to consider the evidence.

I plan to elaborate further on why I believe he used this term...


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Postby RRD2 on Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:53 am

One interesting feature of the works at Smith's Cove is found on the field sketch, identified as the "V" drain at elevation B-B'. This portion of the drain system was located and identified by RDI from the junction of the five finger drains to another junction, landward at a depth of 34 feet.

This is essentially a channel which connects the finger drains to the tunnel which in turn intersects the money pit at about 111'. The "V" drain is essentially a subsurface trench, lined carefully with beach rocks, clay and the familiar coconut fiber and eel grass. It not only channels the feeder drains to one defined area, it allows for additional seawater to filter through at high tides and storm surges. In essence, it is an extension of the drain system landward and a larger single channel for water to enter the tunnel.

Searchers since about 1850 have struggled to find the source of the water from Smith's Cove which enters the MP from the western end of the island. This has included a number of shafts and drill holes - a few of the more notable ones are identified on the sketch. This probing was an attempt to intersect the tunnel which leads to the MP and block it in order to stem the flow of water.

Now we know that there is an additional tunnel which originates on the South Shore, so these attempts were destined to be fruitless. Unfortunately, attempts to intersect the tunnel and block it with timbers, cement, or brute force were also destined to fail because what was thought to be a tunnel from the drain system was actually a channel drain in itself, supplying not only water from deeper in the cove, but also water from the beach.

The tunnel from Smith's Cove also parallels the suggested strike of the Windsor Formation, so the depositors may have known of the feature simply by virtue of their tunneling and excavating in this general direction. One can only guess if they were aware of the natural limestone cavities at depth, but if they discovered one or more, they probably made use of them as their engineering would allow.

The flood tunnel from the South Shore is a different matter altogether. When RDI discovered this system, it was completely new, but the method of excavation and construction were the same. The tunnel from this system was deeper, at about 60 feet at the point it was intersected. Digging in this area was difficult until, near the top of the tunnel, the excavator bucket sank about three feet in very soft material - obviously refill. After careful excavation, the tunnel was defined further by the discovery of another original shaft, about 8 feet square, filled with beach rock, eel grass, sand and other decomposing vegetation from the surface of the island.

This system, although not nearly as complex as that at Smith's Cove, was far larger and more extensive. Chances are that the scope of the original tunnel and engineering here was defined by the distance to the MP - much shorter than that from the cove.

One might have expected that the Windsor Formation was in fact a natural watercourse for seawater to enter not only the MP, but the cave-in pit, as these areas of subsidence are found associated with it.

(See the OIRG photo site - documents - "Windsor" for the map....)

The discovery of the additional flood system from the south shore dispels this theory and in fact, makes the engineering at the cove far more important to understand.



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Postby acdonah on Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:19 pm

RRD2,

To be Honest with you, I really don't know much about Windsor Formations, but it is quite interesting to see some reasearch about the South Shore. It looks to me that a Windsor Formation is some kind of natural water way underground. Is this the water in the MP? Have the other filled areas along the South Shore ever been explored? Do you have the sketches of the cross sections of that area?

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