In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a boat appears several days into the game with the ability to head to Tortimer Island. The cost of a boat ride is 1,000 bells, and we suggest you sell whatever you can to pay this island a visit, largely because you stand to gain more bells and exotic items.
After a brief boat ride accompanied with a unique song, you finally arrive at the dock. At this dock, you'll find a few things: in the upper-left, you'll have a tour guide that will let you book tours and a return trip home. On the upper-right, you'll have a few of the day's wares for purchase, and we'll get to that later.
You'll also find a docking area with chairs in the lower left, and that's where you'll want to head if you choose to take a tour. Lastly, in the lower right, you'll find someone willing to purchase things you collect on the island, as well as an ATM to store your cash.
The first thing you'll want to do is check out the island, so head to the dock by traveling south.
Before taking your trip, Kapp'n will inform you that you cannot bring equipment or items in your pockets. Don't worry, they'll be there when you get back, and you'll want the extra room anyway.
This puts you in an awkward position because you won't have any tools when you arrive, so talk to the gyroid near the exit to view a nice selection of tools. You’ll notice both familiar and new items, all of which prove useful.
Our usual selection includes the bug catching net, fishing pole and wet suit. These seem to do the trick, and while you can also borrow the axe and shovel, we don't see any reason why you'll want to chop down trees on the island.
The island is small. There's plenty of water, so we suggest getting your feet wet.
Wet Suit and Diving
When you borrow the wet suit, go to the menu screen and drag the suit onto your character. This will result in a costume change and the added ability to swim in the ocean. If you're a collector and have never used the wet suit before, you’ll find plenty of great things.
To go for a swim, just head to the shore and press Y. While you're wading and swimming, you can use the A button to move a bit faster. It may take half a minute for your first potential target to show up, so be patient.
Look for a small-to-medium sized dark shadow moving around in the ocean. Little bubbles accompany these shadows, and if you have your audio turned up you'll hear a bubbling sound when one appears close by. The goal is to try and line up your character just above the shadow and hit the Y button to dive.
While underwater, you can swim and catch the shadow, so remember to use the A button to swim faster while underwater. Also be aware that your character can hold his or her breath for a limited time. These shadows will only show up for a brief period before disappearing, giving you another reason to be quick about catching your prey.
The initial dive is critical to catching all of the creatures in the ocean. Lining up your character just above the shadow will give you a good head start, but some of your prey will react differently than others. Items like seaweed and acorn barnacles will just sit there, while valuable lobsters and mantis shrimp will attempt to escape. Just be ready for anything, and make that initial dive count.
Avoid chasing shadows to the edge of the ocean. They can definitely escape your reach, and you can't even swim up to the barrier. Just try and corral your catch towards the middle of the ocean.
You'll want to find interesting sea creatures to add to your museum's collection as well as make you a ton of bells back home. Get a few lobsters and you'll easily make 20,000 bells at the Re-Tail shop.
Bug Catching Net
The island is alive with all sorts of critters that enhance your collection or improve cash flow. Equipping the net allows you to press and hold the A button to capture a critter. Holding the A button also brings you to a slow crawl, which is perfect for sneaking up on some of the larger/trickier bugs.
You'll encounter fruit bugs, horned atlases, wharf roaches and more, each with their own value back home. If you can, keep your collection filled with large bugs, as many of them can sell for several thousand bells each. You may even run into a hermit crab or two scurrying along the beach.
Also, it may be to your advantage to scare away some of the smaller bugs because that will allow larger ones to show up in their place. The small, green fruit bugs are the ones we usually encounter, then we take a lap around the island and before we know it, a huge bug has appeared. Because you're limited to the number of items you can take back, use this routine to maximize the value of your trips.
Just like the bug catching net, the fishing pole works as you expect. Try and face the potential catch of the day and hit A to cast the lure. You want to land just in front of the fish. Then you wait for the fish to head to the lure. Keep your ears open and your eyes sharp, because as soon as the lure goes underwater you'll want to hit the A button to hook 'em.
This can be a tricky proposition because the island will most likely be the first time you'll encounter some of the larger fish. Creatures like a swordfish will look like sharks in the ocean with a fin popping up above the surface, and they can be tough to catch. Just know that you have to act quickly, and it's also a safe bet that if the fish goes towards the bait four times, the fifth will be a definite hook.
You don't need tools to earn more cash from the island. Shake a couple of trees to obtain fruit unknown to your hometown. This fruit is valuable to sell, but an even better idea is to try and take a few home to plant.
To plant fruit, dig a hole with your shovel and then select the fruit and the Bury option. In a matter of days, a new fruit tree will appear. Just make sure you plant them in the right type of soil -- for example, bananas need to be planted on the beach, while lychee and mangos are home on the regular soil. One fruit will quickly become three and beyond, collectable without even going back to the island.
Miscellaneous Island Tips
-You cannot save while on the island.
-You can take flowers on the island and replant them in town; don't worry, they'll grow back, same as the fruit.
-Taking tours will allow you to play different mini games, allowing you to practice your skills and also earn medals exclusive to the island.
-Medals are the island's form of currency, so redeem them in the dock shop for the day's wares, which include plants, shirts, hats and even furniture to take home.
-You can also sell stuff to the shop keep in the dock, but you don't want to do that; for example, a horned dynastid will fetch you 67 bells, while taking it back home will get you over 6,800.
-Be selective when taking stuff home. Try and stick to the big items and also the unique ones; we also like to organize our collection by keeping the unique ones at the end of our drop box so we can easily sort which finds go to the museum
-Eventually you'll purchase a Club Tortimer membership that allows you to inhabit the island at the same time with other players, whether they're local or over the Internet; it's always cool to see what other people are up to.
More Animal Crossing: New Leaf Features
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