Tag Archive: Endless Ocean: Blue World


6/10

Gatama Atoll—I’m about 25,000 shy of 1 million Pelagos. Now that I’m this close to opening the Chamber of the Gods, it’s tempting to indulge in nonstop treasure orgies to gobble up money as fast as possible. But frankly, I’m tired of salvaging, and I wouldn’t mind if I never set fin in Valka Castle again. So I’ve decided to put the multisensor away and try to earn honest money by any other means.

In fact, today I’m not looking for money at all—I’m just trying to get the Pacific white-sided dolphin to be my friend.  The trouble is, this dolphin—whom I’ve already named Violet—is pathologically shy. You have to approach it  “Red Pony” style,  slowly earning its trust. This actually makes it one of the more realistic quests, because it doesn’t rely on any tricks. No whistles, no rescue efforts—just old-fashioned perseverance.

Of course, this means I have to make multiple trips back to its habitat around the Deep Hole in Gatama Atoll. So we’ve basically set up camp on the boat, sleeping on deck and returning to Nineball Island only to develop pictures. It’s been tremendously relaxing in  a way, like setting up a tent in your backyard for a sleepover, and it’s given me a chance to do one of my around-the-clock ecological surveys that I love so well.

Sunset—The water takes on a hazy glow as bigfin reef squid dart through the kelp leaves like shuttles in a loom.  Pee Wee, the pygmy sperm whale, comes out of the Deep Hole for an evening swim around the Colosseum.

Pee Wee out for an evening swim

Unfortunately, so does Sluggo, the tiger shark. 

Sluggo

I’ve tried to draw up a “Know Thine Enemy” about Sluggo, but he’s too unpredictable. After a daytime appearance early in the game, he now only emerges at sundown, and he never seems to attack as long as you keep your eyes on him. The moment you turn your back and try to move away, he starts to close in, but when he’ll strike is hard to predict. I’ve known him to leave me alone throughout an entire dive; other times he’ll strike two or three times, even with frantic pulsing. It’s almost as if he has moods, and if you catch him in a bad one, he’ll make sure you know about it.

Did I mention that Sluggo is rather large?

Then there’s the pod of five or six Pacific white-sided dolphins that fly all over Deep Hole. I suspect that they’re the real terrors on this reef, scaring the smaller fish away until only a few lost-looking moorish idols are left. And damn, they’re fast—it took me a long time just to single out Violet by her white, hook-shaped dorsal fin. Somehow, Pee Wee, Sluggo and the dolphins are all able to stay constantly in motion around each other without colliding.

Violet

Midnight—The midnight shift is very much like sunset, although Sluggo appears more sedate—perhaps, contrary to popular belief, sharks do sleep now and then. The dolphins, on the other hand, are still bouncing on their beds.

I’ve taken Hayako with me, and her fish-finder indicates an undiscovered creature moving slowly around the Mouth of Truth. I look carefully for it without success. The only thing I see in that range is the ocean sunfish, and it couldn’t be ol’ Sol, could it? I click on him, and magically crusty ol’ Sol transforms into the resplendant Apollo, a golden-hued legendary creature that the native Paolians think is the personification of the sun. Why Sol, you old sea dog, you!

Apollo

Dawn—At dawn, a squadron of Japanese eagle rays take up their formation, circling over slow-moving unicorn fish blanched pale green by the morning sunlight. The light is so strong that I can see directly down the Deep Hole all the way to the bottom. It’s too hard to resist—I take out my multisensor and scan for a few treasures (that didn’t last long). Later, I try to keep up with the dolphins—they’re too fast for me. Using the whistle, I’m able to draw Violet close enough to click on her, but she’s not ready to swim with me yet.

Morning rays

Noon—At noon, the light is more diffuse, the blues so saturated that I’d almost think the sky above the water must be overcast, if that were only possible. Sol is his old self again, shrunken, doddering, nothing at all like the sun. I pursue Violet one more time, but she’s still playing hard to get. I’ll have to come back to Deep Hole another day. Ah well!

Back on Nineball Island, Jean Eric tells me that I’ve got an e-mail from the magazine I sent my photos to. (BTW, how does he know what’s in my  inbox? I guess since he’s the point man, the magazines cc him, but it’s still kind of creepy.) Anyway, Maritime Weekly liked my photo of a leafy seadragon—it rated an “A” and a cover! I tried something different this time, and if it works again, I may be on to something.

Next I had Nancy appraise the whopping two items we found in the Deep Hole. Before she left, she passed along a note from ML, of all people! I thought we’d never hear from him again, but here he is asking for a photo of a whale shark in Gatama Atoll. “Oh wow!” shouts Oceana, “I can’t believe a professional photographer wants our photographs!” Yeah, I can’t believe it, either—better get a copyright watermark on that photo, pronto!

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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.

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.   

5/6

North Canada Coast—We fled to Canada to find Finley’s beluga* and stayed awhile.

We found our pod of belugas under Ice Hole B4. We were looking for one with a spot pattern in the shape of a flower—easier said than done, as there are a lot of belugas, they move around very quickly, and the markings we’re looking for don’t exactly leap out at you. It’s a bit like the quest for the red-tusked narwhal—it takes sharp eyes and a quick clicker-finger to catch the right one. Eventually, I latched on to him and, using the whistle, engaged in a duet. Considering his gift for song and, well, the fact that he’s a beluga, I can’t think of a better name for him than Raffi, after the kid’s folk singer whose hit  “Baby Beluga” was in very heavy rotation in our house when my son was a toddler.

Bay-bee be-loo-ga! Bay-bee be-loo-ga!

After bringing Raffi into the fold, Hayako and I continued to investigate the other ice holes. Looking at the Marine Encyclopedia the other day, I noted that a large number of the undiscovered species in the book were located in the Arctic, so I thought this would be a good time to get familiar with a region I don’t visit very often. We dive at sunset.

At Hole D1,2 we found our narwhals again, but the Greenland shark who usually harrasses us here was hanging back. Once we got north of the hole, he was up to his old tricks, charging us, running away and circling a few minutes before making another charge. There are more Greenlanders in the open range between holes along the northern border of the map, in C1, A1 and A2. Unlike the great whites, they’re solitary nomads. I guess I need to draw up another Know Thine Enemy for Greenland sharks.

Greenland sharks are solitary nomads

Topside at Hole D1,2 we find a suprise—sea otters diligently dining on their tummy-tables.

On the rim of Hole A1 we find  Atlantic spiny lumpsuckers, which I wasn’t able to find on one of my recent photo requests. Why anyone would want a photo of one of these things is beyond me—they look just like—well, look at them:

Atlantic spiny lumpsuckers

At Hole AB2 we found the legendary Ice Cupid—a kind of large sea angel, which loads an unsettling cut-scene where Jean-Eric tells me the Ice Cupid is a love charm and did I know that Oceana reallly looks up to me (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)? Uh, Jean-Eric—did YOU know that your granddaughter’s right there in the boat next to you and can hear every word you’re saying as you blatantly try to set us up? Maybe your imagination should get a room.

I had originally wanted to stay and do an around-the-clock survey of the life of the North Canada Coast, but we were out of film and hey—when was the last time I made any money? Before leaving we check out the topside around Hole CD3. The sky is clear, there are bearded seals lying around like drunks at the end of a party. The sun has disappeared behind the horizon, sending out a strange vertical ray that points like a beacon towards the darkening sky. I’ve heard of the green flash at sunset, but not this. I’d take a picture of it, but I haven’t any film left.

*By the way: Why do they call it “beluga” caviar, anyway? Belugas are mammals and don’t lay eggs. Caviar comes from sturgeon—and they look nothing like belugas. What’s up with that?

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.

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.

The Ghost of Valka Castle

4/14

Valka Castle, midnight—It happened: we saw the Valka Castle ghost.  It started innocently enough—I was on a routine salvage request when I slipped up and took Oceana with me as my dive partner instead of GG. The map clue was obvious and we found the treasure almost immediately off the wreck of the Blood Lotus. With plenty of time on our hands, I suggested we go raid Valka Castle once more. Without GG, my salvage bag only carries 15 items, so I’ll have to be more discriminating, but I wanted to try a technique I’d heard about for screening out less valuable loot. Forget books and anything that doesn’t light up any of the symbols on the mutlisensor—they’re only plastic junk. Mysterious chests that are wood only are empty—go for things that are made of composite materials, wait for a lightning flash, etc.

Entering the Spiral Tower of the castle, the screen fades into a cutscene. “Y’know, I heard this place was haunted,” Oceana says. This is it—we’re finally going to meet the ghost!

I swear those eyes are following me...

As we pass through each doorway, the screen goes dark and a familiar dialog round fires up: “You go first.” “No, I insist—you first.” “Why, are you scared?” “I’m not scared, are you scared?” It’s like Abbott and Costello. Valka Castle at night is creepy enough. When you expect a ghost around any corner, it’s unbearable. The dark windows, the rotting shelves, tattered curtains, the mouldy paintings, even the gleam of small fish on the floor is eerie.

When the ghost appears, it’s a disappointment, inevitably. But it sure was fun to pretend that we were going to be scared by it. ‘Cause I was never really scared, you know. No way, not me.

Gaaaaaaaah!!

Well, now that the ghost is exposed, we can continue with our treasure hunting. My tactic of being picky  turns out to be a good one—we hauled up a ton of valuable loot, including a treasure chest worth 12,000. Our tally now comes to over 500,000 P. Halfway there!

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.

 4/10

Cortica River, noon—This weekend my family and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo, which has a pretty nice exhibit of South American fauna, including giant otters and arapaima, so for once I was in the mood for exploring the Amazon. Fortunate timing, as I once again have a backlog of tasks awaiting me. Nineball Larry, Jr. is along with me, so I put him in the “diver’s seat” (a bad joke I’ll bet you don’t get to use every day). We started upstream to avoid the piranhas and right away, under Spirit Falls, the giant piraiba catfish at the mouth of the temple swims right up to us and takes the “servant’s ring,” which I wasn’t even aware I had. It then proceeds to turn into gold and becomes a legendary, the Gold Eater. He’s eaten so much gold on the river bottom, see, that he turns gold—he just needed that one ring to put him over the edge.

Gold Eater

We move forward, exploring the temple and taking many pictures (my son’s a perfectionist when it comes to the camera), when we see, emerging from the temple, a gleaming white caiman. It’s another legendary—King Gigide, who was first mentioned in that Zahhab Region find a while back. Apparently encountering the Gold Eater unlocked the cabinet that imprisoned the King. The multisensor yields a bagload of loot, and we return to the boat.

King Gigide

It’s raining torrents, and I remember that there’s something we’d find in the mangrove beds if we searched in the rain. Sure enough, we pull up the Dark Statue. While we’re in the area, we stop to watch the giant otters, which are not as cute or animated as their real-life counterparts. I ask Jr. to take a photo of the western sandbank, one of Jean-Eric’s requests. We head back for Nineball Island after a momentous visit.

The Dark Statue is worth 12,000 P, but the big find is a stone statue of a golem worth 13,000 P. How did the Golem of Prague wind up in an Amazonian River tributary? Must have something to do with Nazi fugitives smuggling and perverting Rabbi Loew’s clay factotum to build an army of sedimentary super-men and reclaim the lost glory of the Reich in the jungles of South America. The game literature isn’t clear on this, but I’ve got new material for some awesome Indiana Jones fan fiction.

4/6 (70th hour)

Nineball Island, daybreak—Over the past few days, I’ve been filling out the schedule with a bit of dolphin training. This isn’t the most exciting work in the world, but I did discover a couple of tricks to make it less mind-numbing. First, if you press “2” on your Wii remote, it will change the angle of view from the standard facing-the-rubber-boat, affording some interesting views of you and the gang on the docks reacting to dolphin antics. When the thrill of that wears off (after about 3 minutes), I set things to free training (the little icon in the bottom right of the screen), and iron my clothes, make a sandwich, or see what else is on TV. Do this for about 1 hour and your dolphin should have learned all its tricks and is breaking its own records. Then run through the routine with your star, make sure Oceana exclaims it can’t do any better, work on the tricks that aren’t there yet and you’re ready the next time Hayako offers to test them. I’ve trained up Lilly and Frodo this way. It’s cheating, I suppose, and not exactly fair to the other characters, but hey, I’m the only one with a life outside the game.

After I gave three dolphin shows, one with each cetacean, our talent scout Finley made another appearance to tell us there was a narwhal that looked like it just might be the next Paoulian Idol. A performing narwhal? This I’ve got to see!

Weddell Sea, later that day—On our way to the narwhal polo grounds, we run bang into a new legendary creature, the Ancient Mother. I guess this is the thing Jean-Eric said we might find at the north or south poles. I’m kind of disappointed because a.) it’s just an albino blue whale, and b.) we found it without even looking for it. Ah well. Never seen such large, kind eyes, etc., as the game enthuses. 

Ancient Mother---such large, kind eyes.

At the narwhal breathing hole,  I show the greenland shark who’s boss by pulsing it and go in search of our next star. A series of cut-scenes tells us we’re looking for a narwhal with a red tusk. This turns out to require some patience and quick reflexes. We have to go to the surface and wait for a red tusk to breach the water. Okay, but it’s whiteout conditions topside, and I can barely see any tusk, let alone a red one. When I think I see it I have to quickly find my equipment and dive. It takes about three or four tries to get the right one, a  piebald beauty with a long spiraling tooth that looks like it’s been painted with pink nail polish. I name her Pinky Tuscadero, after Fonzie’s girlfriend on “Happy Days.”  That time Pinky almost bit it in the demolition derby, and the Fonz got down on the track to declare his undying love and Pinky gave him her scarf to remember her by, that is true love, man. You say Romeo & Juliet, I say Fonzie & Pinky.

Anyway, we take Pinky back to Nineball Island and immediately put her in training, just so I can watch a narwhal do flips.

Pinky Tuscadero