Gatama Atoll, sunrise—Today I’ve decided to spend the day shuttling tourists from Nineball Island to the Deep Hole in Gatama Atoll. This is what I imagine giving real dive tours is like—repetitive. There are four trips lined up today, so let’s get started.

First up is Lisa, who wants to see Japanese Eagle Rays. She’s only mildly impressed with them, as all they do is swim around and look pretty. But she really goes wild for the pinecone fish, who have bioluminescent organisms living on their chins. These little beards light up in the dark recesses of Deep Dome. You can tell when a client is happy, because a little jingle goes off as you feed the fish. Lisa was jingling off the hook, and I collected 3,612 for our little trip.

Next, I’m off to find the Ruby Telescope for some guy. I’ve learned from past mistakes that you can’t squeeze a treasure hunt in on a guided tour, so this is strictly sensor work. For the Ruby Telescope I get 1,200 P. No tip, but hey—it only took five minutes.

Third up is Dirk, who I think is the guy who’s never impressed with my dolphin shows. He wants to see Goldeye Rockfish, and I’m determined not to disappoint him. We dive at sunset.

By now the community around the Deep Hole are so familiar that I’ve given most of them names. There’s Sol, the sunfish who hangs over the Mouth of Truth; Sluggo, the tiger shark who harrasses us in the Coliseum; Big Gus, the giant grouper; Cecil, the ribbon moray eel; and Pee Wee, the pygmy sperm whale, who at sunset likes to shyly crawl out of the hole for a little exploring.



Big Gus

Pee Wee

 We feed them all and I even get in a little scavanging, filling my bag with loot.  This time, Dirk is impressed—he hands me 3,000 P for the tour, which is fortunate, because the salvage bag was full of relatively worthless junk.

Last up is Gabriel, who wants to see Big Gus. While I’m taking him around, I discover that there’s second giant grouper in the Deep Dome. I always assumed that was just Big Gus  following me around, but now I guess we’ve got Little Gus. Gabby also goes gaga over the pinecone fish, and hands me 3,656 P at the dock.

Little Gus

All tallied up, that brings my day’s wage to roughly 13,000 P. 

By now it’s dark, and I go over to the Hayako to ask her about something, but I’m not listening because there’s a sparkle on the shore behind her. Following it, I find it’s a carving of something called the Ancient Mother. Suddenly, Jean-Eric is at my side (I hate when he does that!) to explain cryptically that it’s some kind of whale that he doubts even exists, but allegedly lives at the North Pole, or is it the South? So great, another legendary creature quest.

Well, it’s been a long day, so I settle down in the beach chair and watch the fireworks display, then to bed.