With public works projects on hold due to a serious lack of funds, I headed to the pier, where old Animal Crossing favorite Kapp’n greeted me in his boat.  This was my first opportunity to visit Tortimer Island, the tropical paradise that holds all sorts of exotic riches.  

Since nothing in New Leaf seems free, the boat ride costs 1,000 bells per trip.  You also cannot bring anything you’ve collected in town, and Kapp’n holds onto these items until you return.  At least on the positive side, he sings a tune on the way to the island; so worth it.

Grams was there to greet me upon my arrival.  Turns out, the island doesn’t use bells as currency.  Instead it’s medals.  There are also island tours to coordinate through Leilani, aka Grams’ daughter-in-larrrrrr; everyone’s a pirate these days.  Based on my limited experience, tours equal mini-games, of which there are four to choose from: Easy Balloon-Hunt Tour, Easy Item-Matching Tour, Amateurs’ Free-Diving Tour and the Crab Free-Diving Tour.  Intriguing to say the least, but I wanted to explore.

As soon as I went outside, a gyroid by the name of Lloid grabbed my attention.  He lends goods for me to use while visiting the island, including the wetsuit that lets me swim, along with a shovel, axe, fishing rod and bug net; why I’m not able to bring those things with me in the first place remains a mystery.

I wound up choosing the wetsuit and leaving the rest behind to free up inventory space.  Excited over the prospect of going for a swim, I walked to the ocean and tapped the A button, whereupon which my Animal Crossing villager dove right in.

The ability to swim may seem a bit silly when it comes to games, but this is a big deal in the Animal Crossing world.  There’s also the chance to collect exclusive island species in a similar manner to fishing.  Simply look for shadows in the water as you would normally, except in this case, swim just above the targeted shadow and press Y to dive.

Here’s what I managed to catch: a 4.80-inch sea urchin, 6.90-inch sea grapes and a 7.85-inch sea anemone.  As expected, targets that don’t move are much easier to catch?  Fish?  Still working on it.  They’ll disappear if I swim too fast, and often travel past the ocean barrier; I cannot swim past that.

Discouraged, I acquired the rod and went fishing with much better results.  Here’s my haul: a 16.10-inch squid, a 12.65-inch surgeonfish, 6.00-inch clown fish, 5.90-inch clown fish, 7.25-inch clown fish, 15.10-inch horse mackerel, a 28.80-inch olive flounder and the prize catch, a 94.90-inch blue marlin that’s sure to fetch a big price at Re-Tail.

Something I learned early: you cannot save while on the island. Weird, but considering how chill this place is, I’ll stay a while.

More Animal Crossing Diary Entries: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5