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Story by DANIELLE GRIFFIN
Walking along the dock at the Oak Island Marina, it’s easy to spot Tony Sampson on his boat, The Island Belle, with a young family on holiday from the US. There’s no way to miss Tony’s fun-loving charisma and energetic storytelling. The family has just finished a private boat tour and are posing for photos with their animated skipper. They are enthusiasts of the History Channel’s hit series The Curse of Oak Island and have come to Nova Scotia to explore the island’s mysteries firsthand. The kids are giddy: they can’t get enough of Tony’s riveting tales of buried treasure.
Years ago, as a child in the UK, Tony was enthralled by a book called Treasures Beneath the Sea by Robert Silverberg. Very early on, he knew he wanted to explore the depths of the ocean.
Tony has now transformed his passion into his dream job. In response to the success of The Curse of Oak Island (the highest-rated show on the History Channel with 4.1 million viewers each week), Tony created Salty Dog Tours. As a diver and crew member on all six seasons of The Curse of Oak Island, Tony’s knowledge and enthusiasm are highly sought after.
He clearly loves his job, “This boat is my office and I get to talk about pirates, treasure and shipwrecks all day.”
Tony has taught diving all over the world but landed on the South Shore over a decade ago. He started running guided tours in the summer of 2018 so that aspiring treasure hunters could explore by boat the mysteries of Oak Island, along with the magic of the greater Mahone Bay area. Tony’s love of the water and ocean adventure is infectious and the response to his tours has been overwhelming.Even in his spare time, Tony gravitates toward the sea and is grateful for the opportunities the South Shore has to offer. He especially adores exploring the Mahone Bay Islands with his family.