Long ago, the pirate ship Wild Goose, led by Captain Oliver, sailed the coast of Nova Scotia. One night, according to legend, the Wild Goose was caught in a storm. Before she sank, Captain Oliver had the ship's stash of treasure put into a life raft. The surviving crew members steered the raft to the nearby Brier Island, and hid the treasure there.

You, a world famous treasure hunter, are headed to Brier Island in search of the lost treasure. When you arrive on the island, there is no trace of the treasure. You do however find a journal which is clearly very old. Most of the pages are too faded to read, but one of them contains some mysterious writing:
enter image description here

What is the treasure, and where is it hidden?


4 Answers 4


This really is an addendum to Quark's answer, which has all the individual words deciphered. As commented by Julian, there is still one word missing and Quark's word order is not correct.

I think the correct word order is:

Fifteen million golden loonies are buried beneath the ...

where ... is the missing word. That word can be found

by taking the first letters of the encodings used for each word in the order of the final sentence. The encodings are the Caesar cipher, ASCII, Morse code, the Pigpen cipher, the Semaphore alphabet, Italian, the Telephone keypad and plain English.

So the complete hint for the location of the treasure is:

Fifteen million golden loonies are buried beneath the campsite.

  • $\begingroup$ I liked the metapuzzle. The puzzle reminds me of the puzzle on page 4 of the P&A Magazine sampler. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ I tried so many of these first letter things like with the individual answers, the people's names, etc. Nice job though, if you missed even one of the names of those (such as semaphore alphabet and telephone keypad), it's impossible to see. $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Quark: I was a bit lucky that my assumption that the order of letters is the final order of the words was correct. I had alternative letters for the Pigpen cipher, which I know under the name of Freemason alphabet, and for Flag / Semaphore. The one I couldn't guess was E for English. I had Plain and Unencoded as options first. (And maybe E means something else; after all seven of the eight clues are in English.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 17:41


Referring to this link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brier_Island), Brier Island is actually in western Nova Scotia (which is part of Canada, never knew that before). Being in Canada, it makes sense that the coins are loonies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loonie). According to the first wiki page, Brier Island is well known for their ship wrecks.

With all of this making up an accurate story so far, it's possible Wild Goose and Captain Oliver have some special meaning.

It may be a coincidence but there is a Geocache hidden in Oliver's cove on Brier's Island (http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC13ACV_olivers-cove-brier-island-series?guid=72a041dd-752a-4c0a-8bff-bbb0adf65f3c). I would go there myself to dig and check if there are any golden loonies but it may be a wild goose chase. heh.

Here's a potential answer (unsure of the last one):

The codes are as follows:

(1) 4D 49 4C 4C 49 4F 4F
This is ASCII for "million"

Rotate 23 for "fifteen"

(3) I think the is just the.

(4) SEPOLTI is Italian for buried

(5) The morse code translates to "golden"

(6) The icons are pigpen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigpen_cipher), this translates to "loonies"

(7) The symbols are flag symbols (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_semaphore) that translate to "are"

(8) 2363284
This is the one I'm unsure of, how can a 7 digit number be translated to a word? If this was a modern day puzzle, then I'd immediately think of a cell phone number. If you type it out, it does spell "beneath"(http://phonespell.org/combo.cgi?n=2363284). It doesn't mean anything meaningful in any bases (base 36 is 1ENIS), it can't be broken up and converted to letters in any way, and I don't see any references online. Maybe "long ago" isn't so long?

Final answer when unscrambled:
The fifteen million golden loonies are buried beneath. (yes I know, anticlimactic)

  • $\begingroup$ You have decoded these six words correctly. However, there is another hidden word that is clued, describing a more specific location where the loonies are buried. Also, the word order is not quite right; these six words don't form a complete sentence by themselves, but only with the additional hidden word. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JulianRosen do you mean 6 of the 8 words are correct? Or 7 including the but the wasn't decoded so you're saying 6? $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ Whoops, I meant to say you have 8 correct, but they form a sentence with the 9th. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ Good work! I'm a bit surprised, though, that you were reluctant to consider a phone keypad for deciphering the numeric code when you happily used another anachronistic code to get the first word. :-) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm Good point lol, whenever I see ASCII I basically decode it in my head before I even type it in a converter since I see it so much, didn't even consider that. $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:53

There is no treasure.

Loonies are a Canadian coin introduced in 1987, certainly long after the supposed ship wreck. This is, indeed, a wild goose chase.


The treasure is

fifteen million golden loonies, and it is buried beneath the campsite.

Each line in the journal entry is a word.

enter image description here

This is encoded in ASCII. The text reads 'MILLION'.

enter image description here

This is encoded with a Caesar cipher. Shifting each letter three places back in the alphabet gives 'FIFTEEN'.

enter image description here

This is simply the English word 'THE'.

enter image description here

This is the Italian for 'BURIED'.

enter image description here

This is Morse code for 'GOLDEN'.

enter image description here

This is a Pigpen cipher. The text reads 'LOONIES'.

enter image description here

This is flag semaphor. The text reads 'ARE'.

enter image description here

When these numbers are entered on a phone keypad using T9 predictive text, the result is 'BENEATH'.

We can rearrange these words to get


There is a word missing, which would tell us what the golden loonies are buried beneath.

The names of the codes that were used (ASCII, Caesar, English, Italian, Morse, Pigpen, Semaphor, T9) are in alphabetical order. This is a clue that the names are important. If we write the names of the codes in the order the corresponding words are used in the sentence, we get


The initial letters of the code names spell the final word of the message: 'CAMPSITE'.

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if this is a supported practice (maybe it is, but I don't recall seeing it elsewhere). Generally you'd edit the closest answer with more information (crediting those who solved parts). $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ From the community wiki info page: "When should I make my answers Community Wiki? When you want to enhance the "wiki" aspect of your post, so that it can be a continually evolving source of good information through repeated editing. When you feel your post would benefit from less concern about voting affecting the reputation of those participating in it." $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Quark I'm not sure if there is a policy about this. This meta post is related. Maybe I'll post a question on meta specifically about what to do when parts of an answer are split between posts. In practice, I have often seen nothing done, and the answer with the final part of the solution marked as accepted. To me seems like a bad idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 17:48

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