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Hi, I am author and travel expert Duke Tate here today to talk to you about New York oysters. Living and growing up near the Gulf Coast, I’ve eaten oysters my whole life. While traveling, I also enjoy tasting oysters from different regions all over the US. Little oysters, big oysters, briny, sweet, tart, like good wines. every oyster is just a little different. I’ve had them all. One of my favorite oyster experiences was eating at the Monterey Fish House where we dined on big Pacific oysters on the half that covered half the plate. Just 6 is all you need there. Another favorite place is Wintzell’s in Fairhope, Alabama. His sayings cover the walls, bits and pieces of wisdom about life. It’s life and oysters there. But my favorite oyster experience from the 38 states I’ve traveled through, is the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City. Located in Grand Central Station, the oyster bar oozes with old world charm due to the vaulted ceilings, tiled walls and the waiters’ New York manner. One thing that makes it truly unique is the amount of oysters to sample from, provided they are in season. The raw bar features 29 different shelled delicacies from all over the Eastern seaboard. Including the Grand Central Bar, The Voice has a pretty solid list of other oyster dives and bars alike to eat at in Gotham. Check it out.

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The art of treasure hunting is both real and alive today and has always been of great intrigue to me! I wrote about it in my book The Opaque Stones for goodness sake. In doing the research for the book, I read quite a bit about it online and in books to get the facts straight. Treasure hunters search for treasure underwater and on land for buried treasure generally. A great deal of hunting today occurs underwater though for lost artifacts, including gold and other jewels. This is done via scuba diving and robots, as well as other very sophisticated technical equipment. Its like video game stuff there! Underwater antiquities range from gold coin, some of which has numismatic value, to silver, rubies, pearls, and other jewels, as well as other precious artifacts that might have survived with historical value such as an antique mirror. Sunken ships aren’t merely the stuff of movies and books either. The ocean floor is literally littered with shipwrecks. A little wiki fact I pulled states that the UN estimates roughly 3 million shipwrecks are scattered on the sea floor. How many of those contain buried treasures from forgotten times? Many of the fleets containing treasure are Spanish galleons such as the one Mel Fisher found. Mel, one of the most famous modern offshore treasure hunters, found the Nuestra Senora de Atocha off the coast of Key West where the heavily armed ship was destroyed in a hurricane. The Atocha finds are valued at around a staggering, whopping, and measly pathetic 450 million dollars.

Everything from bad weather like Key Largo hurricanes, rival ships or Johnny Deppish pirates, even on deck fires could bring a ship down, just to name a few. Many times, treasure survives better underwater when it is buried in sand where crustacean, oxygenation and wave action doesn’t deteriorate it as quickly, although, the sand itself can deteriorate the ship and artifacts. In many cases, wood doesn’t do as well underwater, so many ship artificats will just be buried under the sand. Maybe you get lucky and find a bell from the ship or a brass plate with the ship’s name on it.

A tagline of my book is “every hunt starts with a good story” and I think there is a lot of truth to that for all treasure hunting. Nothing is more true for on land hunting where buried treasure is sought. As with underwater hunting, the equip goes far beyond metal detectors, involving very technical devices. This treasure was often buried by outlaws or hidden in place of banks, and it was never retrieved. There are abandoned mine shafts too. But that’s a danger all its on. You’re not just dogging sharks there like the underwater guys, you’re in danger of the mine collapsing, not to mention dangerous vapors to dodge. Besides, what’s in a mine that hasn’t been taken? As long as lost treasure exsits, the art of treasure hunting will continue!



Hi, I am author Duke Tate and I am writing today to give you some tips on sea shelling. When I lived in St. Augustine, Florida for a short while, I collected seashells. I also used to wander up and down the deserted beautiful beaches of Vilano for the occasional shell. I displayed shells around my house there briefly. I even used one monster shell as a soap dish in my bathroom and still do. Finding these shell treasures sunken in the sea and beached on the shore and collecting them is a truly fun and useful activity. Used as tools, pavement, jewelry, musical instruments, ritual objects, currency, and in horticulture and some architecture, shells are endlessly fascinating, and have a variety of uses. If you’re a real shell head, you can even get a shell display case for your living room and display your treasures or simply display them in a clear glass container or something cheap and affordable like a Mason Jar. In order to optimize your shelling experience, if you aren’t in a place where shells fall from the star sprinkled sky every night like Sanibel Island, go early in the morning or later in evening, especially after a very large storm. Storms rake up the sand, kicking up sea debris, including shells. Also, monitor the moon-phasees as well because a full or new moon means monster tides to bring the shells in. Go with a plastic bag, so gentle shells don’t break–or flip your hat upside down like mine in my photo! and pile shells in it for fun (if it’s a washable straw hat–ha!). Good luck finding sandy treasures on the shore, or wade in a little bit–sometimes shell are just out into the water some. My book, The Opaque Stones, has shell hunting in it briefly. They even find a sand dollar or an old gun.

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