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.