Connecting the Dots…

Before you continue to the text below the image, study the image and take a shot at guessing what it is.


Frost Science Museum


Last week I was visiting the family of one of my daughters. She, her husband, and their brand new baby girl live in Boca Raton, Florida, about an hour north of Miami. Each time I visit, she’ll have a new and interesting museum or other attraction for me to pop in while I’m in the area. One of them was the Frost Science Museum, a new facility near downtown Miami. We spent the afternoon there, navigating our way around four floors worth of a broad variety of exhibits. At one point, we were traveling down a spiral walkway whose walls were covered with artifacts related to the oceans.

The object in the image above caught my eye. I shot the photo, then tried to imagine what it was or represented. I guessed. Then I read the associated museum caption.

Marshall Islands Stick Chart

Stick charts were made and used by the Marshallese to navigate the Pacific Ocean by canoe off the coast of the Marshall Islands. The charts represented major ocean swell patterns and the ways the islands disrupted those patterns, typically determined by sensing disruptions in ocean swells by islands during sea navigation.

Most stick charts were made from the midribs of coconut fronds that were tied together to form an open framework. Island locations were represented by shells tied to the framework, or by the lashed junction of two or more sticks. The threads represented prevailing ocean surface wave-crests and directions they took as they approached islands and met other similar wave-crests formed by the ebb and flow of breakers.

Individual charts varied so much in form and interpretation that the individual navigator who made the chart was the only person who could fully interpret and use it. The use of stick charts ended after World War II when new electronic technologies made navigation more accessible and travel among islands by canoe lessened.

Meddo Charts

The meddo chart showed actual islands and their relative or exact positions. Meddo charts also showed the direction of main deep ocean swells, the way the swells curved around specific islands and intersected with one another, and distance from a canoe at which an island could be detected. The meddo chart portrayed only a section of one of the two main island chains.

It’s a map. Connecting the dots. It was a way for someone, another human, to envision how the dots were connected, and how one could use that information to get from one dot to another.

Fenn has more than once said that the poem is a map. Maybe all you need to do is connect the dots.

Connecting the Dots


Here’s the museum’s photo of the same stick chart.

Frost Museum Stick Chart


And, here’s a great article on the subject from a 2016 issue of the New York Times Magazine: The Secrets of the Wave Pilots

How Long Will Forrest Fenn’s Trasure Poem Live? Not Long Enough.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Poem in "The Thrill of the Chase."

As a result of research we have conducted during several of our most recent recons, we have come to the conclusion that Fenn’s Treasure Poem (and, inherently, the alleged nine clues in the poem) has a limited life.

We believe some of the directional clues in the third stanza will be neutralized in as little as 25 years. We believe they will all be completely neutralized in as little as 100 years.

We further believe some of the environmental clues in the fourth stanza will be neutralized in as little as 100 years, although some, e.g., the blaze, may live as long as 1,000 years.

We believe that, although it was not necessarily done with intent, we are confident that Fenn would have been aware of the treasure poem’s limitations.

Fenn has often indicated his desire for the treasure to remain hidden for 1,000 years. Fenn has never indicated that the value of his treasure poem has the same longevity.

It is very likely that if one of your grandchildren finds the treasure, they will have accidentally stumbled upon it. Unless, of course, you have passed on your notes, your solutions, and your desire to seek fame and fortune.

Perhaps someone can ask the question of him at his book signing at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe on November 2nd.

Click here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for an upcoming video on the subject.

Here Are the Nine Clues in Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem


  1. Begin it where warm waters halt.
  2. Take it in the canyon down.
  3. Not far, but too far to walk.
  4. Put in below the home of Brown.
  5. (From there) it’s no place for the meek.
  6. The end is ever drawing nigh.
  7. There’ll be no paddle up your creek.
  8. Just heavy loads and water high.
  9. If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, (your quest to cease).


Where DO warm waters halt?

AGK20131226-01As you can see in the attached photo, I’m constantly reverse engineering all, or parts of Fenn’s poem.

For me the poem is closer to literal than metaphorical, and closer to metaphorical than metaphysical. Although, I have sense it contains all three.  When Fenn writes, “Begin it where warm waters halt…” my instinct, and my brain configuration draws me to the literal before even attempting the more difficult (for me) metaphorical or almost impossible (for me) metaphysical.

So, where, exactly, do warm waters halt?

Upon asking the question, I realized I wasn’t quite sure what was the temperature of warm water. A little research indicates there are several ways to define “warm,” ergo there are as many ways to define “warm waters.”

As usual in life, “warm water” means different things to different people. To the chemist for example, “warm” water is 112° F, which is measurably specific. To a game and fish manager it’s temperature that ranges from “about” 55° F (the temperature under which cool water species, like trout, thrive) to “about” 75° F (the temperature above which warm water species, like bass, don’t). When I tested warm water from my kitchen faucet against the inside of my wrist, then measured it, it ws 99° F. Interesting considering normal body temperature is 98.6° F.

The dictionary lists several, but defines the adjective warm as, “Somewhat hotter than temperate; having or producing a comfortable and agreeable degree of heat; moderately hot.” Not very exact.

The National Spa and Pool Institute considers 104° F to be the maximum safe water temperature for adults.  Therefore, spa controls have a limit that prevents heating past 104° F.

But, wait…there’s more. Again, it’s about Fenn.

On one hand, he spent 20 years in the Air Force, most of it as a fighter pilot. My experience with fighter pilots is that they all have a Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde personality component.

Outside the cockpit, he mimics Mr, Hyde’s flamboyance of inexactitude, a very relaxed look at the physics of life. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Very much like the current public iteration of Forrest Fenn, and his responses to treasure hunt related questions.

Inside the cockpit, though, there’s a Dr. Jeykyll concentration on perfection. Turbine pressures, speeds, g-forces, coordinates, directions, distances, radio frequencies, fuel load, weapons count, etc. Want a good example? Count the number of numbers in the TTOTC Chapter entitled “My War for Me.”

Imagine how “…someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe…,” “…not on top of a mountain…,” or “…it’s 300 miles West of Toledo…” would work for a fighter pilot.

So, another questions results.

Which of Fenn’s personalities wrote the poem, Dr. Jeykyll or Mr. Hyde?

I think Mr. Hyde. When Fenn walked away from his aircraft cockpit the last time, he walked away from it in the truest sense of the phrase. He left “exactitude” behind.

Why?

Because exactness is an impediment to freedom and independence.

And, if Fenn is anything, he is a high priest of freedom and independence.

So, where do warm waters halt?

Warm waters halt at any boundary where they are literally, metaphorically or metaphysically transformed to any temperature other than warm.

Lukewarm, cool, cold, frozen, hot, or steamed all qualify – and temperature may not be measured in degrees.

(TO BE CONTINUED)