Tag Archive: Ciceros Strait


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

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4/19

Ciceros Strait—Two tours take us back to Ciceros Strait once again.

Ebiike was stuck in rush-hour traffic one day when he looked up and saw a city bus, and on the side of this bus, he saw a silk screened image of an Indo-Pacific Sailfish, probably advertising a new action film. Something about the savage grace of the creature awakened within him a desire to transcend the bonds of his dull, colorless life, to seek out adventure and discovery, to meet that noble beast on its own terms, reach out and grasp the source of its power. So he rolled down his window, thrust out his head, and cried to his chauffeur. “I say, James—to the airport—immediately!”

Meanwhile, in Madison, Wisconsin, a young student named Jeanne is playing another round of quarters at the local pub. It’s 1:30 AM and she’s losing—her quarters, her judgement, the buffalo wings she consumed for dinner. Her bleary eyes settle on the t-shirt her opponent is wearing—a clown wrasse that appears to be shouting, “I CLOWNED AROUND IN CANCUN! PIKES SPRING BREAK 2009”. It’s so damn funny she’s got to leave the table right away. In a moment of clarity as she’s hovering over the toilet, she thinks, “I gotta get out of this place…need to see something else in this world…get back to nature…”

And so they both arrived at Nineball Island today. I took Ebiike out first, returning to the North Canyon area after my fruitless quest for the mysterious sea shadow. I like this place—it’s teaming with large fish and tall basaltic columns that are fun to climb down and swim between. The only sharks onhand are the relatively placid pelagic threshers, which eat right out of my hand. The sailfish are a little more problematic—they’re fast and greedy and take they food away from deserving mackerals and sardines. We swim west to the wreck of the Pride of Athens. I’m trying something new tonight, diving in the first person view rather than the third. At first I thought this would be disorienting, but it’s not, it’s liberating. I’m not in my own way anymore, my motions seem more natural—it’s a more immersive experience. Funny how, even 84 hours into this game, I’m still discovering new things. It makes me realize, caught up in these searches, how little real exploring I’ve done. I’m so grooved-out on swimming (or maybe it’s nitrous oxide in my air tank) that I spend over an hour feeding fish, taking pictures, petting octopi. Then the cloud evaporates and I gotta wrap this up to usher in the next client.

Ebiike, Ciceros Strait

I take Jeanne to Valka Castle, first ascending the Spiral Tower all the way to the surface and look down on the bonnethead sharks circling below us. Then, after a detour into the Collapsed Gallery (always a waste of time), we enter the castle proper, with stops in the Armory and Treasure Vault, where a curious longtooth grouper inspects us.  I discover a coin and a new species—the sunset anthias, another of the many female-to-male transgender fish found here (Ciceros Strait is where nature gets her freak on). I’m in such a benevolent mood that I even feed the lionfish—I’ve always avoided their spines before. We find the clown wrasses she’s here to see in the Underwater Gallery, and before we leave, visit the Mermaid’s Ballroom.

Clown wrasse, Valka Castle

Ebiike was reservedly impressed by the tour (3,622 P), while Jeanne is gushing about how great everything was (3,924 P). They could’ve paid me in shin-kicks and I still would’ve been smiling.

And so, as the sun sets on Nineball Island, we leave our two tourists to return to their daily lives: Ebiike, newly refreshed to pursue that leveraged buyout; Jeanne, inspired to once again switch her major, this time to Marine Biology.

4/17

Ciceros Strait—There’s been some strange activity reported in Ciceros Strait lately. Explorers using the charts we drew have seen a dark shadow on the sea near North Canyon, and treasure hunters are converging in the center of the region for reasons unknown. If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? L&L Diving Services, that’s who!

The marlin are strangely restless

Unfazed by our encounter with the phantom of Valka Castle, Oceana and I now set out in search of the mysterious shadow. We roam throughout the northeast corner of the map. I’m pretty sure this will turn out to be another legendary creature, but who knows? The marlin seem strangely agitated, and the jack mackerals are grouping in thicker swarms. Could our shadow be an unusually dense shoal of fish? To the west we swim over a wreck, the Pride of Athens, which I could swear wasn’t there before. Is the shadow the oil slick from a new shipwreck?  In the northeast corner of the map, there’s a rock outcropping shaped like a ship’s prow, jutting out over a dizzying dropoff. Is a new island emerging from the sea bed? Whatever it is, we should expect a cutscene to fire up and dispell the mystery, but none comes. It would help if we actually saw this blot on the map, but no. Flabbergasted, it looks like we’re going to have to go back to Nineball and reread that clue.

Oh—it’s in SOUTH Canyon, not North Canyon. Duh. I can find treasure from a few squiggles on a piece of map, but I can’t get my compass directions straight? It’s a humbling experience. Okay, back we go to dive off East Ciceros Undines, head south a few meters, and reveal what’s causing the shadow: Oceana has sworn me to secrecy, and besides, I don’t want to spoil the fun, so I won’t tell you what we saw. Let me just say I wish I had watched the cutscene  more carefully, because when I hurriedly ended it to use the camera, it disappeared.

With that excitement over, I deputize GG to see why these treasure hunters are poaching on our territory. We never actually catch them in the act, of course, so no spearguns drawn in the streets of Triton Village, I’m sorry to say. Only some tedious multisensoring that yields a few large containers, mysterious chests, and purple lightning bolts. Back at Nineball, among the junk Nancy appraises for us we get the Crusader’s Loot, which nets 12,500 P—the second largest treasure in the game so far.

Oceana reports that the L&L salvaging profile is rising still further, maps are flying off the shelves and we’re aiming at world domination (her words). In the flush of this new zeal, O has done a little shopping—she found me a pair of “military fins” (presumably for this world domination thing coming up), and bought herself a purse in the shape of a sea pig.

Angelshark

4/12

Ciceros Strait, daybreak—I’m leading a tour for a guy named Eliike, whom I suspect is really Tom Cruise hiding behind a pair of aviator sunglasses and an absurd alias. He wants to see a Japanese angelshark. Alrighty then, let’s go!

I’m a little nervous because I don’t remember what an angelshark looks like. The tour takes me straight to Ciceros—no chance to consult the marine encyclopedia, no chance to draw up Hayako’s fish-finding maps. Guess I’ll just have to wing it. We start in the North Canyon and work down and across, feeding and petting fish along the way— goldeye rockfish, Mahi-mahi, red stingray, sea goldies, white tipped reef sharks, monkfish. I can tell he’s pleased, but he’s the kind of guy who only chimes once when you stop and feed fish. If I don’t find his beloved Angelsharks, I’m not going to get paid. Manta rays, hammerheads, great whites—0ne thing I notice today is that the great whites aren’t haunting the Wreck of the Emerald Lady; instead, they’re off at the Flamingo. That confirms my suspicion that old Thanatos and his gang move from place to place, shaking down the locals for protection money. Good to know for later. Still, they’re no angelsharks. We manage to intersect a right whale and hitch a ride north—that’s got to count for something, right? Marlin, trevallies, barracuda…

Finally, around the Triton Village ruins, we find angelsharks. See Tom—er, Eliike, I saved the best for last! Heh, heh! Relieved, I can now get on with my own business. I’m still missing sections on my map, so I toggle to the closeup maps by pressing “2” on my remote.  There are some gaps in the red and blue dome areas, to which we proceed forthwith. In the Red Dome, we find literally dozens of angelsharks basking in the sunlight and shallow water. Who knew? Blue Dome is carpeted with little green rays. Having filled in the maps, we return to Nineball Island.

Japanese angelshark

At the dock, the man who calls himself Eliike hands me a whopping 4,940 P—the most I’ve ever made for a single tour. Since the tour sold for 1,300, that’s a 280% tip! Must be a Scientology thing.

I’m so stoked by the tour payoff that I’m not even bummed out by the other news: Oceana isn’t sending off the charts of Ciceros Strait, so I mustn’t’ve finished it, and the magazine rejected my photo of the western bank of the Cortica River. On a scale where, I assume, a top photo is an ‘A’, I got an ‘E’—ouch! Still, they paid me 1,000 P for my trouble. I wish all rejection slips came with a check.

Valka Castle

3/24

Nineball Island, Sunrise–Started the day with a couple of dolphin shows, first Jeanne, who came all this way to see a tail walk, then Dirk who wanted singing. Dirk wasn’t impressed, but paid his money anyway and left.

Next GG and I went off to Ciceros Strait to once again seek the Spartan Treasure. Diving at night, this time we hit paydirt–11,000 smackers. We stick around to raid the Blood Lotus, then drop down the well to Valka Castle. I’m hoping I see the ghost this time, but no luck. I do get to test out a tip from one of the Gamespot forum posters and poke an octopus to make him ink himself. He-he! I fill out my salvage bag and camera in the castle, then head for the boat.

It turned out to be an enormous haul—11,000 P for the Spartan Treasure, 13,000 for a book called the 7th Tome, and 9,000 for a canopic jar. That brings my total P count up to 216,477—nearly a quarter of the way there!

FF turned up to claim his treasure, and there was some awkwardness as usual, with him going, “You should keep the treasure, you earned it,” and GG’s like “No way, it’s yours”, and FF’s like, you’re a softy and GG’s like, “That’s MISTER GG to you!” and on and on. Get a room already!

The sun sets on the third dolphin show of the day, this time for Yannick. He too wants Pha to sing (what is this, American Idol?), and goes away happy.

Then just as I’m about to turn in, I check in on Snorkle, who’s lying by the firepit staring out at a sparkle on the shore. The sparkle turns out to be a new item, “mirage” (maybe that’s the thanks I get from Mr. Tiki for bringing his tusks?) As I pet Snorkle for a being a good boy, he jumps up and starts barking at something out to sea. Jean Eric says it’s an island that wasn’t on the charts before, just west of Cake Rock. I go out to investigate, and surfacing outside Cake Rock, see something weird on the sea near Gatama’s Navel. Pha and I head out there and discover that the “island” is a huge leatherback sea turtle named Cocoa Maharaja. So another legendary creature is found. The big fella’s supposed to be good luck for treasure seekers. We’ll see.

Strong in the ways of the Force, you are...