4/24

Zahhab Region—I’ve decided to take seriously Jean-Eric’s requests for magazine photos. I’d been avoiding them after my “E” grade, but once I saw Waltmck’s YouTube video of  A&B winning shots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf8RPtXoeu8), I was emboldened to give it another try. The request with the most pressing deadline is for a barreleye, which, my marine encyclopedia shows, can be found in the depths of the Zahhab Region. I take Hayako with me, but despite her useful fish maps, I can’t find a single one.

Next I took Kaneko, who came to Nineball Island in open defiance of her overbearing architect father, to Zahhab to see some green sea turtles. It was almost too easy, so while we’re near the Twin Crevasses, I persuade her to follow me down to the depths. Of course, it’s highly irresponsible to take an inexperienced diver below 50 fathoms; I should have my PADI license revoked, but I gotta find that barreleye. Again I didn’t find one, but down in the narrow canyons I saw something emerging out of the gloom. Large but too misshapen to be a shark, it turned out to be a Risso’s dolphin. It was a welcome sight to find a fellow mammal down this deep. On our way back to the surface we found a few more new things: a common fangtooth, one of those all-mouth deepsea monsters that would be horrifying if it weren’t a little pipsqueak; and an oarfish—decidedly not a pipsqueak, but a long silver ribbonlike thing with a rooster’s comb that trails behind it for what seems like fifty feet.  We also met the giant squid rising vertically up the canyon wall, so we followed it up to 270 feet, where it turned around and returned to the depths. Emerging from the crevasse, we took the requisite gray whale ride, then headed west to the Coral Garden, where another new creature turned up at a fish feeding—the blue and yellow banded butterflyfish. Back at Nineball, Kaneko paid me 3610 P for the trip.

Hey you! I'm talkin' to you!

Next I went to northern Canada to photograph a harp seal. I threw out my worries and simply tried to fill the viewfinder with the animal and made sure it smiled pretty for the camera. The photo earned me a “C” and the magazine paid out 2000 P, twice their initial price. I’ll take that.

My first passing grade

Finally, I couldn’t resist taking one more trip to the Zahhab depths, this time with Bob, an olympic medalist using thrill therapy to deal with the aftermath of a terrifying ski jump accident. He wants to see a sea pig. These little Pokemon nightmares litter the sea floor around the Chimney Forest. We also take in the vampire squids, the popeye grenadiers, the splendid alphonsos. Bob was cured of his PTSD and paid me 3610 on the docks. And hey, I finally found my barreleyes—they were hiding in a closeup zone because they’re so small. I got as close as I could and took many pictures—all prizewinners.

Sea pig (file photo)

The only problem is that once I got home, I exited the game without developing the pictures and lost everything!

Blame it on rapture of the deep.

Special Thanks to Waltmck!

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