Category: Salvage


Drawing Down the Moon

4/8
After just barely getting away from the Pillars of Shadow with my skin, I’m taking advantage of a little down time at Nineball Island to pick up the guitar and do some serious brooding. That crab thing in the Zahhab Region Depths has started to bug me. According to the maps, there’s only one place it could be, but after diving at all times of day with different partners, I still come up a cropper. Looking up at the night sky, I wonder if it all has something to do with the moon.
 
After all, there have been other things in the game that depended on the phases of the moon. It was on a moonless night that I discovered the shadow that turned into the legendary Black Harbinger. Another time I had to wait a month for a full moon to watch turtle eggs hatch on the beaches of Zahhab. Maybe this crab has a bit of the werewolf in him, and only comes out under the influence of moonlight. 
 
Looking directly overhead (using the telescope is hopeless), I see a half moon just above the eaves of my bungalow. Now, I can fill the time needed for the moon to turn by running tours, training dolphins, and commuting daily to the aquarium in Japan. Or I can take a lot of naps. Many naps later, the moon is full and I’m refreshed and ready to head out.
 
But first I want to stop off in Gatama Atoll to follow a hunch I have. Remember way back in August, when Oceana and I stumbled upon a cuttlefish spawning ground? We were invited back to see them hatch sometime during the spring tides. I’ve been back to that spot a few times since then without seeing anything, but the mention of tides is probably a clue about the moon.
 
And it turns out, I’m right on the nose! A cut-scene fires up over a patch of elkhorn coral that informs us that the cuttlefish eggs have hatched. Each one’s only the size of a grain of rice — you can barely see one in the right of this picture. But I love that the game rewards you for remembering about it. You don’t get baby cuttlefish in Gears of War.

Baby cuttlefish!

 

The real Octomoms

Now let’s head for the Red Sea. This time, I’m not going to take Oceana or Hayako with me. In between naps, I found a forgotten treasure rumor in my notebook, something about dense metals being found in the Zahhab Region Depths around 500 feet. So I’m taking GG — at least this way, if I miss the crab I can still scare up a few pelagos.

It turns out GG is who I needed by my side all along. Entering the now-familiar mouth of Osiris’ Courtyard, I doubtfully click on the sparkle that up to now has only yielded an unimpressive little angler fish. Only this time…

The elusive giant sea spider -- at last!

If it’s any consolation, it doesn’t look much like the shadow in the marine encyclopedia. While we’re in the courtyard, GG and I scan the bottom and find a few large metal boxes, one of which might be our treasure. Turns out it wasn’t, but at least I found what I was really looking for.

Just to test my moon theory, I took Oceana and then Hayako back with me to show them the sea spider — both times it wasn’t there. So it looks as though GG is my only witness to finding the little beast that had so long eluded my grasp.

...but it was right there a minute ago!

Advertisements

7/5

After 124 hours and 58 minutes of gameplay, I’ve returned to the Cavern of the Gods.

I forgo taking a tour there—this is a family affair, no vacationing bonds traders or rockstars need apply. We will, however, take salvage requests, and a nice lady in a pink and brown wet suit is seeking a gold watch somewhere in the inner chambers of the temple.  This mission is pure exploration, but while we’re exploring, we can turn the multisensor on from time to time and help her find it.

Together with GG, we dive off the Super Dropoff and head west. The water’s murkier than I remember; it takes a while to find the box-shaped slot called the Echoing Terrace that leads into the temple porch. There we find the Stone Cavern Entrance on the left side, magically thrown open. Tingling with excitement, I turn on first-person view and plunge forward.

What do I remember about this place? The last time we were here, all hell was in the process of breaking loose. A white whale, the Singing Dragon of our long quest, was going berserk, slamming its head against the columns holding up the roof of the temple. Rocks were tumbling around our ears and we were almost out of oxygen, trying open escape doors by solving complicated riddles as the clock was running down on our lives. Beyond that, there was a confusing maze of passageways, with a dead end or a sudden current or a goblin shark waiting around the corner. I was simply too panicked to pay attention to my surroundings. When we finally escaped and the entrance filled in with rubble and silt, it was like a curtain going down on my memory. I will barely know what to expect once we get back in.

Inside the entrance, we turn to the right to head north, beginning a counter-clockwise survey of the temple. What immediately greets us is an opah, an immense round fish with silver flanks and red fins. Shaped like sunfish but more closely related to oarfish, pictures can’t convey how large, splendid and doofy-looking these are.

Opah!

 After rounding a corner, on our left is a vast doorway. We descend a wide stone staircase into the first of the large chambers, the Altar of Osiris. At the far end, there’s a huge statue of the god, gazing benevolently on a roomful of worshipful ribbonfish.

Osiris

Turning around to exit, we find a pale Japanese horseshoe crab, lying there on the stairs like Cinderella’s cast-off slipper (if, y’know, Cinderella had really weird feet).

Next we come to the Altar of Horus, which looks identical to the other altar, except that here there’s a trapdoor hidden behind the statue leading into the Subterranean Reception Room. Guarding the passageway is one of the creatures I’d always hoped to see—the ancient chambered nautilus! Common in gift shops but rarely found alive in the sea, I’d been fascinated by this evolutionary throwback ever since I saw a Cousteau special about them. (Now I sound like my tour clients!) Although I’m anxious to see what’s beyond the door, there’s no way I’m going to pass up this moment without swimming around the nautilus, taking pictures of this living fossil from multiple angles.

Chambered nautilus

Through the door and down, our subterranean reception committee consists of two ghostly Japanese spider crabs, waving their claws (invitingly?) at us.

There’s another trap door at the far end of this chamber. Passing up through it, we enter the floor of the Altar of Isis. According to the map, it’s roughly here that we should find the gold watch. But before I can search for it, I see a shadow pass over us. This is Kraken Jr., the son of the giant squid that lives at the bottom of the Zahhab Region depths. I guess he couldn’t handle living by dad’s rules, so he got his own place.

Kraken, Jr.

Finding the gold watch proves to be a bit difficult, but we eventually find it just on the threshold of the trapdoor that lead us into the altar. Leaving the chamber and turning right, there’s another staircase that leads up to a loft area called the Pillar of Shadow. Here are the coelacanths I remember from before. According to the map, this should lead into the Celestial Mausoleum, but I can’t find an entrance. I’d explore further, but I’m out of pictures and nearly out of air.

I promised myself that we were going to swim out of the cavern—no beaming back to the Enterprise this time. There’s a shortcut to the southern gallery that leads us straight out of the temple, but it’s blocked by rubble, apparently in the whale-quake that brought the temple crashing down many months ago. Other attempts to find a quick way out are met with obstacles. There’s nothing left to do but retrace our path through the trapdoors to the northern gallery. As notch after notch of precious air evaporates, I begin to get that closed-in, panicky feeling in my gut that I last felt when we all dashed out of this ancient Egyptian death trap.

Eventually, we gain the exit and power swim out of the temple, out of the cavern to the open sea. My head breaks the surface just as the alarm starts to clang. Again we’ve cheated death and escaped the Cavern of the Gods, but we still have another half to explore.

But their treasure wasn’t gold. It was knowledge. Knowledge was their treasure. — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

6/3

Cortica River—My indifference to the Cortica River part of the game is well-documented (i.e., repetitive and  boring), but lately that’s were some of the most interesting things have been discovered.

I was on a routine salvage hunt a couple of weeks ago when, after finding the Diamond Telescope, I decided to amble downstream with the  multi-sensor to see what else I could pick up. Scanning the Cortica riverbottom turns out to be some fun, as it’s often a challenge to reach through a thicket of roots or electric eels to get at your glittering prize. At one point I picked up an unassuming canonball and took it home. Polished off, it proved to be a crystal skull, and while it didn’t glow, buzz, read my mind or turn into a super-magnet, it drew a respectable 10,000 Pelagos on the collector’s market.

The next discovery began a few days later, when I awoke from a nap and passed Jean-Eric on the way to the beach. “Perfect timing,” he muttered, folding his newspaper. You can always tell something’s up when Cappy’s been reading the paper.

“It says here a monster’s been sighted in the Cortica River. Witnesses say the creature is pitch black, is seen only on rainy days when the river is running fast. Something about a gigantic black thing. You should check it out.”

For various reasons, I didn’t get around to looking for it until last night. Rain was pelting the river, as it usually is, and you can see the little rings made by the raindrops from under the water—a nice effect. Heading upstream, I kept stopping to announce that I thought something was watching me, then I turn around and nothing’s there. It’s all very ominous—is there some new maneater or Creature from the Black Lagoon I’m going to meet up with? 

My path eventually takes me to Queen Lake. Suddenly…rising from the depths…a black form takes shape…and materializes into…a big fat manatee. Oh Cortica, once again you disappoint me! Mama Cortica, so we’re told, is a benevolent spirit on the river, saving capsized fishermen, uniting young lovers, and frying up cassava cakes for all the children. Very nice, but what was all that about a big black monster? Who reported that story, Don Knotts?

Mama Cortica

Yes, the Cortica River is a queer place, but I’ve saved the best and queerest for last. I was taking a woman named Lisa on a trip to see the Piraibo catfish at the mouth of the temple. Bored, I decided to investigate a rumor that there was a secret hole in the riverbank. This isn’t part of the story, but apparently a glitch in the game programming that was reported by several witnesses on the GameFaqs message board.  In first-person view, you swim up to the left of Spirit Falls, just where there’s a clump of vines growing in the corner. Then you surface, turn to the left, and there it should be—a rent in the space-time continuum. I’d attempted this trick several times in the past, but hadn’t had any success. I was beginning to think this was an anomaly on only some people’s games, but tonight there it was—a jarring, jagged hole in the screen, and through it I see…OH GOD! IT’S FULL OF STARS!

A rabbit hole in the riverbank.

Not exactly, but an endless stretch of open water under a clear Amazonian sky. Dive again and you’re faced with the riverbank, but here’s the cool part—you can penetrate through the wall into the open water on the other side! Swim in any direction, it seems to go on forever and is impossibly deep. Turn around to look back, and below and above the water you see paradoxical vistas of twisted pixellation, semitransparent walls, and cutaway sections of the river.

Looking back on the rabbit hole (arrow)

Hello, Dali!

It’s like an out-of-the-body experience. I can see Lisa staring uncomprehendingly at the empty space where I used to be. Jean-Eric frantically shouts that I’ve lost my partner, but I don’t care—I’m free! I’m transcendent! I’m outside the game looking in.

The riverbank and the 'other side'; Lisa left behind.

After a few minutes of this I pierce the wall again and return to the game, then disappear through the portal once more to see if it still works. It does, and I can reenter the game through King Amaru’s Aqueduct, or I imagine, through any point I choose.

X-ray view of King Amaru's Aqueduct

There’s really no point in looking for fish and treasure now, so I drag us home to develop the pictures I took on the other side. Lisa is sorely pissed that I left her behind; she reads me the riot act and leaves in a snit with no tip. She’s right—I’ve violated my principle of always satisfying the customer—but honestly, I couldn’t care less. I’ve just passed into the twilight zone, and saw that it was awesome.

The Cortica River has just become a lot more interesting.

Terra Incognita

5/15

Cortica River—Today I got a salvage request for the Medieval Staff, and what do you know, it’s been located within that unexplored region of the Cortica River. Now I’ve got the perfect excuse to recruit an Amazon River dolphin and take a peak at the new world. We go immediately to the river, but as usual in this game, there are some conditions that must be met. First, I have to bring a female dolphin partner with me. I’d been randomly assigning male or female names to my dolphins without considering the gender (monstrous parenting, that), but helpfully Jean-Eric reminds me that Pinky Tuscadero is indeed a female and can accompany me. Now that I’ve got Pinky, we head up King Amaru’s canal into the courtyard of the Twilight Temple, where I see a pink dolphin standing out from the rest. Jean-Eric informs me that I’ve got to approach the dolphin on Pinky’s back. I look for my Pinky, but my wingman’s nowhere to be found. I have to retreat back down the canal to find her lollygagging at the entrance. Meanwhile, J-E is yelling in my head that I need my partner, need my partner! Alright, I’ve got my partner and ride her into the courtyard, now what? We have to chase the river dolphin while she and Pinky get acquainted. Basically, I have to keep her in my line of sight, but if we lose her, J-E helpfully tells us when we’re getting closer. This goes on for several head-spinning minutes until Pinky and the dolphin are completely simpatico, after which I’m introduced as a really cool friend.  We dance, and without much thought, I name her Dora.

Dora, the Explorer

Now that she’s on the team, it’s time to enlist her help clearing that dam. After we clear it, I take a reflective moment before breaching the threshold. 

This is it—weeks of waiting and hard work have led to this day, and I’m finally going to see this final, completely new region of the Endless Ocean. I wonder, did Cortez feel this way, gaining at last the peak in Darien from which his eyes would behold the limitless Pacific for the first time? Resolutely, I press through, the gap widening around me to reveal…

Queen Lake

Eh, not much. Queen Lake, so it’s called, is basically a murky brown watering hole. Its sole inhabitants are some indolent manatees mindlessly grazing on hydrilla near the surface. Aside from the Medieval Staff, there is no limitless treasure, no sunken ruins. As I leave, I notice a few tambaqui that weren’t there before, so there’s that. Maybe by removing an obstacle, Dora and I have invited in a new community of fish. This at least will make it worth visiting in the future. Until then, I guess you can call me disappointed.  

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

Raffi

5/9

Nineball Island—I’m beginning to feel a little sorry for Finley. Sure, it was fine when I was making fun of him, but now everybody’s in on the act. As I was talking to Hayako this morning, she leaned forward conspiratorially and said, “Do you think Finley is…” What? Gay? Cute? Presbyterian? But before she could finish, he showed up. When he sat down with us to talk with us about Raffi, Oceana said, right to his face, “I don’t like you, but…” But how do you really feel? I’ve heard Jean-Eric grumble about him, and I’m sure GG if he cared would have something to say. If we held a seance with Matthias and Finley’s name came up, his spirit would groan, “Oh, not THAT guy!”

Nobody gives him any respect. Respect he’s probably due.

Sure, he lacks in social skills what he doesn’t lack in self-confidence, and he needs to clean the crumbs out of his three-day growth of beard, but maybe he’s just one of those dudes who gets along better with animals than he does with people. I know some people like that myself, and in real life they don’t do cool things like give you tips about where you can find  dolphin friends—lucretive ones, at that. You got to give him his due—he blazed a path in EO  long before we even preordered Blue World, and he’s got his imprint on odontoceti in every region of the game. It’s Finley’s world, we just play in it.

So no more teasing Finley—he’s…tolerable in small doses in my book.

Anyway, Finley was here to tell us about a false killer whale in Valka Castle.  We’d know him by an ‘x’-shaped mark on his head. There’s already a f.k.w in the Castle, in the Mermaid’s Ballroom, but I never noticed the mark before. After he left, I picked up a tour out to the castle, hoping to find and befriend it. “Chloe”, alias for a certain avant-garde pop diva seeking to escape the pressures of fame (and get costume ideas) wants to see a sea robin. Nothing simpler—you trip right over them as you enter the castle.

We wind our way to the Mermaid’s Ballroom, but by now I should know that you can’t complete a quest while you’ve got a client in tow—the ‘x’ on the whale’s melon won’t show, and we have to content ourselves with feeding and pulsing fish and treasure diving. Chloe went “gaga” over the glowing sea slugs (look for her to be wearing one on her face soon), and we stuffed the bag with loot. We also discovered a mauve stinger and the weirdly poised largehead hairnail, an eel that floats vertically with its head pointed to the chandeliers. I made sure I showed her the window where Thanatos cruises by, eyeing us hungrily.

I'll be luuurking...for youuu...

Back at Nineball Island, “Chloe” paid me 5308 P for a 1500-P tour. She has to shock people, even when she’s on vacation. The salvage tally was also massive. I’d read on one of the message boards that you could pull up 25,000 pelagos on each visit to Valka Castle. That didn’t sound right to me, but sure enough I made over 20,000 with only 15 items in my bag. With GG I would have easily cleared 25 grand.   

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!

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.

4/27

Nineball Island—The morning begins with dolphin shows. Did I tell you? After we found Pinky at the North Pole, Finley dropped by and challenged us to put on 20 “excellent” dolphin shows for “people of his choosing,” or train dolphins 100 times. If we do, he’ll tell me a secret. Though the prospect of Finley putting his greasy lips to my ear is not much of an inducement, I think this has something to do with getting a freshwater dolphin to open up that hidden part of the Cortica River, so I better go along with it.

There are probably more discussions on the GameFAQs message boards about dolphin shows and training than any other topic. Lots of good advice about levelling up and special tricks and Wii remote wrist techniques, and I’d be wise to pay attention. But it’s all occult science to me—I try to care, but I can’t. What I do: I feed them a couple of fish, set it on free training and go off to watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race or something, and pat their heads when it’s over. When it’s showtime, I just tell my girls to do their best and hope people like the show. I’m probably the worst stage mom in show business.

Anyway, I’ve done about 5 shows already, and it’s really hard to tell how they’re going to be received. Sometimes the dolphins really pour their heart into a performance, but the audience comes away unimpressed; sometimes they put on a mediocre show, but get rave reviews. I don’t know whether any of these shows are going to count toward the 20 I need or not—all I know is they pay, and that’s good enough for me.

After 2 dolphin shows, it’s time to go diving. I’ve got a request to find the Pirate Pottery in the Zahhab Region Depths, which coincides nicely with a photo request for an oarfish. I’ve finally learned to tell the difference between the north and south crevasses, so I can dive directly down there without having to wander through caves and cul-de-sacs. After I find the treasure, I leave the multisensor on and find a lot of stuff somebody’s missing.

Now for the oarfish—I wanted to shoot one on my last trip to the abyss, but even with Hayako’s help, I couldn’t find it. Trouble is, there’s a lot of vertical space up and down here, and it’s all a matter of finding the right depth. I finally spotted the oarfish writhing through the gloom at around 400 feet. My heart beating faster, I swam up beside it, turned and started shooting. Afterwards I goofed around with the Risso’s dolphin and provoked an encounter with a sixgill shark.  When my “out-of-air” warning alarm went off—first time that’s happened in a long while—I swam all the way to the surface. (Decompression is for wimps.)

Bluntnose sixgill

Risso's dolphin

When I returned to Nineball, I gave Jean-Eric my best shot of the oarfish, then went to bed and awaited the results. The editors at Maritime Weekly were very impressed, gave me an “A” and a cover! Now my work will be seen in harbormasters’ offices and marina waiting rooms the world over!

 Today was successful monetarily for me as well:

  • Dolphin shows: 5016 P
  • Fresh fish: 3000 P
  • Pirate Pottery: 1700 P
  • Misc. salvage: 25770 P
  • Photo: 3500 P
  • Day’s total: 38,986 P

My game total is now 669,779 P. I’m inching closer to the Chamber of the Gods.

7/26

Ciceros Strait—After taking another beating from the sharks around the Emerald Lady while trying to retrieve a treasure request, I decided to do a field study, which I’m publishing here under the title,

Spatiotemporal Patterns of White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Predation in the Ciceros Strait Region, Aegean Sea

Research Goal: To test my hypothesis that there’s a single pack of white sharks that moves from place to place, and that if I can predict where the sharks will (or more to the point, will not) be at a certain time and place, I can salvage to my heart’s content without being molested by the finny fiends.

Method: I first checked the distribution of great whites in the Ciceros region with my Marine Encyclopedia and determined that they can be found at three principle locations: C1 (Wreck of the Flamingo), E1 & 2 (Pride of Athens, North Canyon), and H7 (The Emerald Lady). I then visited all three sites at different times of day (sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight) in the company of Hayako Sakurai, Ph.D., who kept the shark location data, and recorded the occurence and behavior of white sharks in these vicinities.

Findings:

Flamingo (C1)—Great whites are here at sunrise and noon, but after sunset migrate east to the North Canyon region. At sunset and midnight, the breakfast club yields this territory to nocturnal sand tiger sharks, unhandsome but harmless.

Great whites off the Flamingo, noon

Sand tiger, Flamingo, midnight

 Pride of Athens (E1)—At sunrise and noon, no sharks at all appear, but at sunset, the great whites, pursuing shoals of bluefin tuna from the west, arrive on this site, where they soon forget the bluefins and feast on human flesh with voracious abandon. At midnight, the whites expand their feeding ground to the North Canyon (E2)—there, amid winding benthic walls, the unwary traveller is prey to their pitiless ferocity. 

Emerald Lady (H7)—No time of day, not even midnight on Christmas Eve, is safe from their relentless marauding. Unless they can be in two places at once, the sharks here appear to be distinct from their brethren to the north. At sunset and noon, the common carchardons are accompanied by the legendary Thanatos. He participates in the slaughter in the blood-red hours of sunset, while at noon, you can often see him skulking around the periphery, supervising things from afar. Between midnight and daybreak I never saw him. Indeed, at daybreak, the white shark population around the Emerald Lady seems to be at its lowest ebb. At least until you show up.

Hell yes, I crapped my wetsuit!

Conclusions:

  • There are two distinct packs of white sharks—the northern pack, which migrates west and east during the day; and the southeastern pack, which circles the Emerald Lady.
  • Best time to visit the Flamingo is after sunset.
  • Best time to visit the Pride of Athens is during daylight hours.
  • No time is safe for visitors to the Emerald Lady. However, if you arrive early in the morning and aggressively pulsar the first sharks to appear, you may gain up to 60 seconds worth of salvage time before the rest bear down. I was able to bring up about 4 items with minimal mauling this way.
  • At all costs, do not visit this region at sunset, when Thanatos is on the loose.

Some other observations about sharks:

  • Dolphins, despite all those Flipper episodes to the contrary, will not save you from sharks. They are cowards who will desert you at the first sign of trouble. (Hey, it had to be said.)
  • The “Danger” species are: Great white, tiger, greenland, bluntnose six-gill, and goblin. All others are harmless.
  • Zapping sharks with the pulsar gun works for a good long time in all species except the great whites and greenlanders.
  • If the sharks attack while you’re searching for treasure, the “Danger” sign will interfere with your multisensor. You won’t be able to retrieve a treasure even when it’s right in front of your face. Zap, get away and reapproach the site.
  • Staying in motion will help you avoid sharks most of the time, but not always.
  • Dodging rarely works.
  • Just be thankful they don’t eat you.