3/28 (55th hour)

Deep Hole, Gatama Atoll—Here’s why I like to give tours: my first client today is a guy (forgot his name—sorry dude) who’s looking for something called sapphire pottery, and it’s located in the western rim of Deep Hole. He’s offering 1,100 P if I find it. My second client is a woman named Sophia who wants to see a certain fish, also in Deep Hole. She’s offering 1,000 P. I’ll take Sophia out to see her thing, and pick up the sapphire pottery while I’m in the neighborhood.

Right off, Sophia strikes me as being, well, a little odd. “Ever since I saw a terrific action film about these, I’ve wanted to see one—a moorish idol!” Huh—Wha?? Moorish idols are a dime-a-dozen reef denizen; pretty in their way, but not exactly action film material. I can’t imagine one diffusing a bomb or charging a motorcycle through a plate glass window. Unless she’s talking about Scar from “Finding Nemo.” True, he masterminded that breakout from the orthodontist’s fish tank, which was tense enough, but how does that make it an action film? Unfortunately, the game doesn’t allow me to ask her what the hell she’s talking about or administer a drug test, so I’ve just gotta roll with it.

The minute we hit the kelp tunnel, bam! Moorish idols all over, looking not the least bit like Jason Stratham. Now, I’m tempted to show her the fish and send her back to the boat, but I gotta get to Deep Hole for that sapphire pottery. As it happens, there are plenty of moorish idols in the Colosseum Area (gladiators, no doubt), and she goes gaga over them there. Then I gently lead her west where I can find the treasure. Seeing the ocean sunfish (Sol, I call him) that hangs over the Mouth of Truth, she says, “Everything in nature has its own pattern—if only I could be so original.” Possibly the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard a client say. As we hover over the ribbon moray eel in the Serpent’s Lair, she giggles, “Its color matches my car!”

Finally I find the scarlet glint of the sapphire pottery, but the game blocks me from retrieving it. “You found the requested item, ” it informs me, “but it would be rude to pick it up while guiding someone.” Rude? I’m getting etiquette lessons directly from the game now?

Fine. Y’know, this woman is nuts, but if I can’t get what I’m after, I might as well show the client a good time. So I take her all over atoll, feed as many fish as I can along the way, discover a few new species, lead her out to Blue Cliffs to see the dropoff, the works. She’s delighted. We go back to the boat and I return, this time with GG, to pick up the treasure.

When we get back to Nineball Island, Sophia can’t stop talking about what a great time she’s had, and hands me 3,500 P—a 2,500 P tip. Next we have the sapphire pottery guy. He’s also excited, blurting that it will be worth millions.  “That is, uh, in sentimental value,” he hastens to add, handing me 1,100 P —no tip, no fancy swim trunks, nothing.

So I showed a kooky dame the atoll, had a great time, and made 3 times what some cheapskate who won’t do his own dirty work pays me.  If you ask me, I’d rather take a guided tour any day.

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