Category: Weddell Sea


5/10
Ciceros Strait—Off on a salvage request to find the Diamond Watch, then GG and I combed the strait looking for treasure. I’ve learned that a lot of the best stuff lies scattered far from the wrecks themselves. We finished our tour at the Emerald Lady, where I tried a technique of inviting the sharks to assault me, zapping them as they charged. I got beat up some, but eventually they gave me enough elbow room to seize a few treasures and fill out the bag. It was actually kind of fun. In total, we raked in about 11,000 P.
 
Afterwards, I took Hayako with me into the northeast area of the map looking for new creatures. A ‘???’ appeared on the fishmap, with a tiny red dot moving incredibly fast in a wide circuit across the North Canyon. Streaking past, it appeared to be a particularly athletic Atlantic sailfish, one that seemed impossible to catch. Each time I tried to chase it, it immediately outpaced me, disappearing like an arrow in the distance. I had to abandon that tactic and hang back, tracking the bogey on Hayako’s radar, edging into its path, waiting for the chance to intercept it. After several lunges, I managed to get my cursor on it and fire. Presto! It’s Gungnir, a legendary sailfish named after Odin’s magic spear in Norse Mythology. He owes his incredible speed to overdeveloped muscles; with his battered spike he’s staved in many a fisherman’s hull. 

Gungnir

Worth more than a dangol' "C" I tell you what.

5/2

Not much excitement to report except a couple of boneheaded mistakes: In the real world, I’d had a busy weekend, so on Sunday night I was rushing around getting everything done for Monday so I could settle down to a nice, calming EO session before bed. Imagine my shock and dismay when I found that my disc wouldn’t play. Even more ominously, the disc would not eject. I got online to seek advice. Resetting, turning it off, unpluggining it, turning it upside down, nothing worked. It was like the disc had disappeared into the console forever; now I would have to mail it back to Nintendo and no more games for 6-8 weeks, and then all the data would be erased and I’d have to start all over again. Unflappably, my wife asked if the disc was even in there. “Of COURSE it’s in there!” I said in my most reasonable shout.  “I just put it in myself, didn’t I?!”  Didn’t I? Well, no I didn’t—it was sitting there innocently in its case, waiting to be inserted. Heh. Never mind.

My second mistake was within the game world, but no less stupid. I was on a lucrative treasure quest for the Baron’s Book among the icebergs of the Weddell Sea. Since I’d found it so easily—and 2 days before the deadline, too—I decided to play, entering the Hall of Radiance to fulfill a photo request and just basically hang out, finding two new coins (Cancer, Uranus) and a new species (the tiny bald notothen) in the little niches that dimple the hall. 

Then I was back in the boat and ready to go home, when I decided to take another look for that elusive Blue Bird. I’ve got it in my head that the appearance of said bird coincides with the aurora borealis, so I went in the cabin and napped until midnight. No aurora tonight, so I went home. Interesting science fact: Midnight is the start of a new day (even though it’s, like, dark outside—isn’t that weird?). So our 2 -day cushion was reduced to 1 day, which was eaten up in travel. When I got to the docks on Nineball, GG was lamenting the fact that I’d slept through the deadline on that 2900-P book.

The news depressed me, so I took another nap. When I awoke the next morning, I found my Hall of Radiance photo buried on page 7 with a “C” grade. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

4/5

46th hour.

Weddel Sea, sunrise—following a salvage request for the Medieval Jewel, we head South to the Weddel Sea. It’s a clear day, and we’re expecting an aurora tonight—awesome!

Our map scrap appears to be a spot somewher in the middle of Special Iceberg A-sm16p (I guess icebergs don’t hang around long enough to get cool names like Screaming Skull Island). However, getting to that particular spot on the map proves to be a problem. There’s no land to walk over, so we must dive under the ice, which proves to be honeycombed with ice caves. I spend over an hour exploring through inverted ice mountains that straddle the sea like cold white thighs, probing with my throbbing sensor first one opening, then another. (I know what this sounds like, people, so stop snickering.) Finally I find the Medieval Jewel, glimmering in Upper Ice Cave 2.

Lower ice cave #1, or maybe upper ice cave #3, or...

Maybe upper ice cave #2 or #1

Uh...lower...oh, I give up!

I go back to the boat and return to search for the Ancient Ice with Hayako (speaking of cold white thighs). This time with the help of some coordinates (small iceberg A-s2230 and A-s2231) and a depth (145ft.) we find it with ease, but there’s a great white shark standing in our way. (I didn’t believe it either, but Jean-Eric informed us that these things can be found this far south—I’ll look it up later.) Shark pulsed, ice grabbed, back to the surface.

Ancient Ice---so sparkley!

Every time I return to Antarctica, I try to find the Blue Bird. (The clue says something about when the ice dances in the south.) But conditions on the surface are no longer that great—the wind’s howling and clouds have brought the curtain down on the sky show. Still, Hayako and I hop from one iceflow to the next (maybe the ice ‘dances’ in the wind—isn’t that the kind of bad poetry this game generates?) We find some new animals—rockhopper penguins, bottlenosed whales—but no blue bird. Back at the boat, the snow storm’s turned into a blizzard, and everybody wants to beat it back to Nineball.

Big Bobby, the penguin

The Medieval Jewel proves to be worth 2,600P, but the Ancient Ice nets twice that. I also filled my bag with some other goodies when exploring the ice caves, like a sarcophagus (2,700), and a case of gold ingots (4,000). So a pretty good haul brings my tally to 364,359 P.

Oh, by the way, Nancy’s got a message from the mysterious ML: Thanks for the pix, they were very helpful. You know, he used to be a photographer himself, and while he’s not saying my pictures stink up his retinas, per se, he’s got some helpful tips for me on how to take halfway decent snapshots: fill the frame, focus on the eye, use rule of thirds, etc.—all standard advice you learn with a subscription to Photography Illustrated, but thanks anyway. Next, the suddenly chatty ML wants to see Monk Seals from Ciceros—I’m sure he won’t too picky about them.

3/25

Nineball Island, Sunrise—Finley the dolphin trainer showed up early this morning to see Pha. It’s hard to tell whether he’s really interested in Pha’s progress, or just wants to remind us that we’ll never, ever be better than him. Either way, he praised Pha’s “sick combos” and gave us a tip about recruiting another show dolphin, an albino somewhere in Ciceros Strait. The catch is we have to beat him to it if we want to stay in the game. The other catch is that if we do, we’ll probably have to see Finley again.

Next, since I wanted to have an easy day, I took a guy named Alexander to Antarctica to see an emperor penguin. That’s it. Of all the tasks I’m asked to perform in this game, the guided tours are my favorites. The client usually sees what they’ve come to see fairly early; then it’s just a matter of swimming around showing off the sights and doing a little treasure hunting and picture taking on the side. We mapped out the Weddell Sea today, and saw many new species of seals and penguins. Elephant seals were appropriately huge and intimidating (I saw one attack a Volkswagon on YouTube once), and there’s the little Gentoo penguin, which looks like it’s wearing white earmuffs. 

We explored the deep ice cave and entered the Hall of Radiance for the first time since the search for the singing dragon. The Hall is an incredible sight, a vast hollow snowball supported by giant ice columns and slantwise crystal shafts. You almost expect Superman to show up and kick you out of his Fortress of Solitude.

Sick Penguins

3/17 

Went to the Weddell Sea, healed a sick penguin for the next Help Me quest. This is my first trip back to Antarctica since the main story. It’s really lovely, all white icebergs and dangling shafts of sunlight. Saw 2 orcas, rode a minke whale to the map border. Aye, there be many seals and penguins, and some kind of tiny sea slug on the iceberg walls. Dived down to the bottom of 1 iceberg, but was too spooked to swim under it. There doesn’t seem to be a sea floor here. Went topside, saw emperor penguins nesting eggs, with skuas waiting to pounce. Returned to Nineball Island, slept till midnight. Was surprised to find I’d healed over 100 fish. As a reward I received another lecture from the skipper and a horrifying bouyancy vest—it looks like a headless starfish trying to hump my chest—no way I’m wearing that thing! Bought more anemonies and giant clams for the private reef.