5/4

Zahhab Region—After several less-than-exciting days on the game, I passed three milestones at once today: One hundred hours, three quarters of a million Pelagos, and twenty dolphin shows!

The day began, as always, with dolphin shows. First Pinky, then Frodo, then Lilly. Elena, Francisco and Jessica nearly fell out of the boat as my little divas performed sick combos to their complete satisfaction, then returned to report back to Finley.

Next, I went after a salvage request from GG’s foil, FF. He’s promised us this would be his last. Once again, our map scavanger had only a cartographic scrap to go by without a place to reference it. And once again, by doodling it on a piece of  notepaper and thumbing through the Marine Encyclopedia, I was able to pinpoint it without trouble, somewhere in the Zahhab Region. About five minutes later, we had the Platinum Sword in our hands.

Since I knew the payout on this put us past the three-quarters mark, and there was no deadline on the treasure (believe me, I double-checked), I decided to explore the Zahhab Region a bit more. GG and I visited the Chamber of the Gods for the first time since we left it, casing the joint out for our imminent return. There wasn’t much treasure to be found outside the entrance, but investigating a crack in the cavern ceiling, I discovered I could peer through it to the sea’s surface! Apparently, the long fissure that snakes down the Zahhab reefs is directly over the Chamber of the Gods. I don’t know if that’s useful knowledge, but it was fun to learn.

Peering through the fissure

Leaving the Chamber and its ponderous sentinels, we explored the Long Fissure from the top side, but it was too dark to see down into the cavern. We found riots of fish around the huge basket sponges south of the fissure and I stopped to pulse and photograph them.

Then I returned to the boat and set the clock ahead to take a midnight dive with Hayako. Climbing up from the Super Dropoff, our lights spotted what looked like a nest of sparkly eels with their heads poking out of the sand. Upon getting closer these proved to be some kind of finger-shaped soft corals. I couldn’t identify them, and Hayako was mute about what they were. Later, we came ashore to see dozens of sea turtles sprawled in the sand, but not laying eggs, as far as I could tell. I turned to ask Hayako what she thought they were doing. “What this place needs,” she said,  “is a party!”  Now yer talkin’!

What are those things?

I wanted to stay another day at Zahhab, but I was out of film, so I decided it was time to return to Nineball Island.  FF received his treasure gratefully, paid us 20,500 P and jet-skiied into the sunset without another word. And so the GG/FF feud/romance ends with a wimper. A word of advice to the Arika game developers working on EO 3: CLOSURE!!

Just before turning in, I decided to check my records. I found I’d completed 19 dolphin shows. I wonder if I tried just one more? I had Pha put on a show for Elena, and immediately after, we received a visit from Finley, who’s concluded that he trusts us now, so he let us know about a beluga in the arctic ocean. So that’s my answer: all your previous dolphin shows count toward the twenty, and it doesn’t matter if they say it was excellent or crap and Oceana jumps up and claps her hands or not. As long as you don’t totally mess up and the dolphin doesn’t physically attack the judge, a show is a show—it’s all good. I’m not the worst dolphin manager after all!

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