Tag Archive: New creatures


3/30

Having given up on finding a crab in Osiris’ courtyard, at least for the moment, we turn our attention to the Chamber of the Gods, which is still teeming with cryptic critters. Oceana is with me — I’ve resigned myself to taking her along as my good luck charm — and it’s midnight, when I tend to find animals I missed during the daytime. As always, finding our way into the Echoing Terrace is an exhausting exercise, especially in the dark and after six months spent on dry land. But after arriving at the east hall, finding the first few fish is relatively easy and sedate.

First we find the prehistoric-looking frilled shark lounging in the corner pocket of the chamber, around D1.

Frilled shark

Rounding the corner and down the stairs into the Altar of Osiris, along the left wall I find the black pyramid butterflyfish and the too-tiny-to-photograph whitespotted boxfish.

Black pyramid butterflyfish

 Continuing west along the north hall, we run smack into a cave-in. Fortunately, amongst the rubble we find a trio of hot-pink painted frogfish, who look like their whispering about me.

Painted frogfish, conspiring

Next we execute that slick maneuver of descending through a trapdoor behind a statue of Horus, bypassing the Subterranean Reception Room with its many hungry spider crabs, and up through the ceiling into the Pillars of Shadow. Turning north here, we’re met with the impressive sight of the thickest concentration of Coelacanths ever witnessed. If, like me, you grew up fascinated by the discovery of this impossibly rare and ancient fish in the waters of the Black Sea, and assumed there were maybe one or two of them in existence, it’s mind-boggling to see so many packed in one place. All the more amazing that only one of these is the legendary coelacanth our Marine Encyclopedia says we need to find — we have to paw through the crowd, asking “Are you the one? What about you?”

But we’re just starting to mingle when some uninvited guests show up to spoil the party. I’m talking, of course, about that most unhandsome of elasmobranchs, the goblin shark. More specifically, a whole passel of ’em, marauding and striking every time we try to introduce ourselves to a docile coelacanth.

G-g-goblin shark!!

I whipped out my pulsar and started zapping like crazy, and just by accident happened to tag another legendary, the ferocious Okeanos’ Guardian. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my hands steady enough to get a clear photo of it.

Okeanos' Guardian, passing under my fins

 Eventually, I got the goblins subdued enough where I could quickly tag a few coelocanths, and eventually found the Living Fossil I was after. Yet I barely had a chance to line up a good photo op before the sharks attacked again en masse. In the middle of this, my “out of air” claxon went off. With no time left to swim out, we had to drop everything and beam back to the ship.

The Living Fossil

 For the first time since the height of the game, I was a relieved to find myself back on dry land. I suppose I should go back there to study the goblin sharks as part of my “Know Thine Enemy” series, but I wouldn’t say I’m in a rush.

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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?

4/24

Zahhab Region—I’ve decided to take seriously Jean-Eric’s requests for magazine photos. I’d been avoiding them after my “E” grade, but once I saw Waltmck’s YouTube video of  A&B winning shots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf8RPtXoeu8), I was emboldened to give it another try. The request with the most pressing deadline is for a barreleye, which, my marine encyclopedia shows, can be found in the depths of the Zahhab Region. I take Hayako with me, but despite her useful fish maps, I can’t find a single one.

Next I took Kaneko, who came to Nineball Island in open defiance of her overbearing architect father, to Zahhab to see some green sea turtles. It was almost too easy, so while we’re near the Twin Crevasses, I persuade her to follow me down to the depths. Of course, it’s highly irresponsible to take an inexperienced diver below 50 fathoms; I should have my PADI license revoked, but I gotta find that barreleye. Again I didn’t find one, but down in the narrow canyons I saw something emerging out of the gloom. Large but too misshapen to be a shark, it turned out to be a Risso’s dolphin. It was a welcome sight to find a fellow mammal down this deep. On our way back to the surface we found a few more new things: a common fangtooth, one of those all-mouth deepsea monsters that would be horrifying if it weren’t a little pipsqueak; and an oarfish—decidedly not a pipsqueak, but a long silver ribbonlike thing with a rooster’s comb that trails behind it for what seems like fifty feet.  We also met the giant squid rising vertically up the canyon wall, so we followed it up to 270 feet, where it turned around and returned to the depths. Emerging from the crevasse, we took the requisite gray whale ride, then headed west to the Coral Garden, where another new creature turned up at a fish feeding—the blue and yellow banded butterflyfish. Back at Nineball, Kaneko paid me 3610 P for the trip.

Hey you! I'm talkin' to you!

Next I went to northern Canada to photograph a harp seal. I threw out my worries and simply tried to fill the viewfinder with the animal and made sure it smiled pretty for the camera. The photo earned me a “C” and the magazine paid out 2000 P, twice their initial price. I’ll take that.

My first passing grade

Finally, I couldn’t resist taking one more trip to the Zahhab depths, this time with Bob, an olympic medalist using thrill therapy to deal with the aftermath of a terrifying ski jump accident. He wants to see a sea pig. These little Pokemon nightmares litter the sea floor around the Chimney Forest. We also take in the vampire squids, the popeye grenadiers, the splendid alphonsos. Bob was cured of his PTSD and paid me 3610 on the docks. And hey, I finally found my barreleyes—they were hiding in a closeup zone because they’re so small. I got as close as I could and took many pictures—all prizewinners.

Sea pig (file photo)

The only problem is that once I got home, I exited the game without developing the pictures and lost everything!

Blame it on rapture of the deep.

Special Thanks to Waltmck!