Category: Aquarium


7/2

I made it! Monaymonaymonay! One million pelagos, baby!!! For a few seconds there, I was a millionaire. And the best thing was, it was those cheapskates at the aquarium that put me over!

First things first—I returned fr0m a long vacation in the Southwest and needed a few days to get settled back home. The first thing I wanted to do when I got back to Nineball Island was paddle around Gatama Atoll awhile saying hello to some old friends. Then I had to finish recruiting Violet, the Pacific white-sided dolphin. I really wish there was another way to get to the Deep Hole, because I’m sick of crawling through the Kelp Tunnel—three weeks off did nothing to change that. It took two more dives for Jean-Eric to break his silence and announce that Violet was a companion. We had a very nice play date together, then I brought her back to her new home in Nineball Lagoon.

Next I took a nattily-dressed fellow named Matthew down to the Zahhab Region Depths so he could see popeyed grenadiers. These are especially good tour fish, because they glow, and as you know, when it comes to client payoffs, glow means dough. We toured the depths, did some salvaging, spotted the oarfish and the giant squid, swam all the way back to the surface and topped it off with a grey whale ride for dessert. Matthew paid out 3956  P for the tour. The salvage yield was poor, but it still brought me within a few thousand pelagos of the million.

That was enough for me to call it a night, but over the vacation, the fam and I visited a nice little aquarium at the Albuquerque Zoo, and I wanted to compare it briefly to EO’s. Really, the biggest drawback of the Tokyo Aquarium is that the main tank is far too big. There’s so much room, even with a couple of fully grown whales in it, that it seems stark and uninteresting. And there isn’t enough junk on the bottom—fake coral, rocks, pirate skeletons, to liven it up or make it look natural. The fish seem lost and depressed, and I can’t blame them. Honestly, when I have  ‘real’ oceans to swim in, why would I want to waste my time in what amounts to a city-block-sized holding tank?

Well, the word from the visitors wasn’t very positive either, as Hayako wearily informed me. On the other hand, receipts were steady if not spectacular, and so far no one had taken to relieving themselves in the tanks or dropping fishhooks over the sides, so so what? I was about to breeze out the door again when Hayako reminded me that I got paid for this gig, whether I put in any work or not. She presented me with a grudge-check for 2,400 P and with a tip of the hat and a smirk I was gone.

Back on Nineball Island, Jean-Eric immediately comes up to compliment me on my money management skillls. He wishes Oceana could be so frugal, spending all her dough on sea pig purses and fancy fins and whatnot. While I’m expecting this to lead to a not-so-subtle hint that she needs a man to help keep her in line, he suprises me by saying that we’ve got a big salvage job waiting for us…in the Cavern of the Gods!

I guess the paycheck from the aquarium put me just over the 1 million pelago mark—the irony! Oh, and we get a 50% discount from somebody for some reason, so that 1 million pelagos? Didn’t need it—we can keep 500,000 of it. The Cavern of the Gods is open whenever we want to return to it.

And that was that. No fireworks. No streamers. No cakes or balloons. Just another job waiting.

Time to get back to work.

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The Curse of the Talky Tiki

3/21

Nineball Island, Midnight — You know, I’ve had my eye on that totem pole in Nancy’s catalog for a while. It would look great over there near the fire pit.  It would really tie the island together. Snorkle could pee on it. Then I would remember that episode of the Brady Bunch where Bobby finds a tiki idol on the beach and it  puts a curse on their Hawaiian vacation, and I’d back off. But tonight I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy it off Nancy for 5,400P.

And right away the trouble starts. Something about the idol intrigues me. I investigate. I hear voices…they seem to be coming from the idol. “I want…ice…northern land…two long tusks…” it whispers. It’s the curse of Bobby Brady’s tiki all over again!

"I want...ice...northern land...two long tusks..."

Hastily I turn away to get a witness to this phenomenon. But GG’s in no mood for it. He’s been drinking beer and brooding all night. Very solemnly he reminds me that a mistake he made put his former partner in the hospital while seeking the Chamber of the Gods. I barely remember this, but yes, okay. Well, FF is his former partner’s kid brother! And he blames GG for his brother’s accident! That’s why we’ve got to go beyond the whirlpools of Cicero’s Undines to seek the Spartan Treasure!!  “Nineball Larry,” he intones gravely, hand on my shoulder, “will you dive with me?”

I’ll…think about it, ol’ buddy.

Next I go to Hayako. She doesn’t want to talk about the tiki, either. The aquarium’s investors want to speak to me, is all she says. We hop a flight to Tokyo, where she finishes what she could have told me back on the island: The investors have no problem with my work. The blue whale feeding survey—great job! The turtle egg hatching fiasco—masterfully handled! But we need more receipts. We want 1 million visitors and we want them now. The grand total of visitors now stands at a measly 44,000. Keep changing the exhibits, keep feeding the fish. And to show our appreciation for this, we’ll give you—get this—a gelled hairstyle. Hayako bats her eyelashes at me demurely.

They think they can buy me with a stupid haircut?! I storm out of the aquarium, only realizing then that I’m still wearing the monster suit.

I’ve had it with those aquarium people. I’ll go it alone. I’ll get enough treasure to earn the P I need to reopen the Chamber of the Gods without their help, thank you. I go directly to Deep Hole, remembering that there were at least three Treasure Rumors connected to it. I dive at midnight and right away find that the tiger shark is back, and he’s brought a friend with him. Reached for the pulsar but got the camera by accident, and so took this exciting shot:

"Don't tase me, bro!"

Tigers tamed, I descend into Deep Hole, and this time I’ve found the Serpent’s Lair, and the moray eel that lends it its name. I dusted off a ring, fulfilling the Fisherman’s Tale treasure rumor. Then I went up to the Giant’s Grotto with my multisensor and found the British Treasure, another rumour off my list, and a few other things besides.

Back on Nineball, Nancy pays me handsomely for my loot, and it appears that Pha gave me a fresh fish after school, which I still have in my pocket. Nancy pays me 3,000 P for that—that alone is 6x my daily wage at the aquarium! Really, who needs those people?

3/19

Ciceros Strait–found the Explorer’s Treasure for a lady named Kiyoko.  Since my people at the aquarium want to see Valka Castle creatures, I swam down into the well near Triton Ruins and returned to Valka for a looksee. While I was down there I found the treasure room in the northwest corner of the castle and tried to fill my salvage bag. Something about the “pong-pong” of the sensor tool lulls me, and before I know it I wake up upside down with half my air missing. Taking a nap underwater probably isn’t the best idea, so I got up from the couch and stuck my head in the fridge to freshen up a bit.

Mermaid's Ballroom, Valka Castle

Next I went to the Aquarium to Give the People What They Want, and so stock the main tank with false killer whales, mahi-mahi and sea robins. The People, never satisfied, demand a seabird exhibit in the topside room. I go upstairs to oblige them once again, then get the heck out before they ask me to clean the lavatories.

All this work has made me blue, so before returning home I make a detour to Gatama Atoll and swim to the Blue Cliffs, there to dangle my fins over the abyss and brood. Later I discover a cave in the cliffs about 30 feet down. There are some rocks blocking the entrance, so I call in Pha and together we clear an opening. The so-called Silent Cavern is short and yeilds a mysterious treasure box. It makes a really cozy place to peer out over the open sea and I want to return there someday, perhaps with a cushy chair and a reading lamp.

The view from Silent Cavern

Back at Nineball I appraise the loot. 10,000 each for the Valka Castle treasure and the Silent Cavern mysterious box (which goes by the Moon Treasure in treasure-naming circles).

3/18

Taking a request from Oceana, we and a marine biologist named Matilde head out to the Zahhab  beaches to watch sea turtles lay their eggs. This has to be done at night, when the sh-sh-sharks are out. If you keep moving they don’t bother you much, but they can still take bite out of you from time to time. I fumbled with the pulsar gun as usual and lost a lot of air before I found some blue starfish, the clue to where you’re supposed to land. Watched a short cutscene of turtles dropping their little pingpong balls in the sand, then it’s back to Nineball for payday. It’s a good one this time: 2,000 P, plus a 10,000 P bonus! We’ll meet Matilde again when the turtle  eggs hatch.  After another quick trip to the private reef, I go back home and sleep until the next day, then run right out and check the telescope. Score! It’s a full moon day and I see something really weird off to horizon. It’s fuzzy, but it’s big and has four limbs, so it can’t be a whale. With Pha I head out to what I call Corner Pocket Island, and there…find… a very large, very cranky croc named “gatama gatawa.” A little disappointing, frankly—I was expecting a mososaur or something.  Click-click.

"You kids get off my yard!!"

Next I jet off to Tokyo to visit the aquarium, where I change the main tank around to a polar theme (Belugas—I love those guys!). I add a few new things to the small tanks and kick out the sea lions to put in emperor penguins in the land exhibit.  There ought to be lines around the block now, but no, Hayako tells me they want to see creatures from Valka Castle. What-ever! Then back to Nineball again to develop pictures and go to bed. Overall I spent more time on dry land today than I did in the water.