Aquatic Festival: Actually Acaran
Ghost Writer Episode #69 Acara Aquatic Festival: June 28th
In honor of the upcoming annual Acara Aquatic Festival, this month's Ghost Writer is dedicated to Acaras... (aw, you already guessed).
The talented Acaras are a feline-like Neopet. Their soft fur and natural playfulness have made them popular companions. Unlike the housecat, Acaras are equally at home in the aquatic element as on land!
Employing a hunting and stalking technique has made Acaras successful small game hunters. Rumors tell of a traditional coming-of-age petpet hunt, but details have never been disclosed to outsiders.
All I can say is: We may have discovered why meepits are so rare.
Acaras are most commonly found along the shores of lakes and the salty ocean coastlines. With their large ears, they can detect mussels and crabs beneath the sand during low tides. Young Acaras hone their fishing skills in nearby tide pools until the day of the Bowla Moon!
Once a year towards the end of June, the bowla gather in huge schools about a mile offshore. The strange petpets prepare for the migration to raise their fry in oceanic trenches. Being felines, how could Acaras resist such an interesting and easy prey opportunity?!
As the sun sets, the Acaras gather along the sand to watch the bowla flash in the moonlight. One by one, the Acaras paddle out towards the swirling petpets. When enough Acaras are ready, they surround a large group of bowla and dive!
Acara have sensitive eyes and keep them tightly closed when under water.
You ask: Wait? So how do they catch any bowla?
The muscular antenna on the crown of their heads, often confused for horns, are actually sensitive detectors that can sense the electrical impulses that flow through the ocean when their prey moves. A bowla floating calmly in the water may escape detection, but a busy congregation lures Acaras like kittens to catmint!
A hunting pride of Acaras will dive beneath the chosen school and quickly gulp petpets as they surge to the surface. Some Acaras have been seen to leap ten feet out of the water at the end of a hunting foray! Many theories have been put forth to explain this unexpected turn of speed. No one seemed to be able to explain the phenomenon.
Finally, after years of careful study by uncounted researchers, a freshman on summer vacation asked an Acara how they do it.
From the Subliminal Report and Aquatic Pets Archives: this is an entry by Flantaginous Flotsam dated Y2
FF: So you're the ingenious student who answered the mystery of the Aquatic Festival?
Student: Yeah, my friends and I were just enjoying the beach that day. There was this contest for building sand castles for real petpets and we thought we'd try making a scale replica of the Cockroach Towers. My scarabug and I were carving the interior of the dining hall when...
FF: Sorry to interrupt, but we only have a two minute spot for tonight's broadcast. When did you realize you knew what the Acaras were doing?
Student: Oh, well, we were building, right, and it's hard to find trowels and buckets small enough for a scarabug to use. TNT should do something about that now that they have that Petpet Park thing.
FF: About the Acaras?
Student: What about them?
FF: *sigh* This is an interview about how the Acaras celebrate the Annual Aquatic Festival!
Student: Ok, ok, sheesh. Well, we saw these Acaras getting ready to swim and they were all carrying what I thought were loaves of bread. So I said: Hey what are you all doing with the bread? I really love to shop at the Bakery. That Breadmaster makes an awesome Basket of Bread...
FF: *mutters* those poor Acaras.
Student: ...and they said it wasn't bread! They were all carrying round stones! They said it was because they float really well, but it's hard to reach the fish from the surface.
A few days before each Bowla Moon the neopets arrange their diving teams and collect ballast stones. As they swim out to sea they carry the stones with their hind feet and employ the familiar dog-paddle swimming technique with their front feet. Once they are in position around the petpets, they stop paddling and sink beneath the waves.
When they sense they are below their school, they release the stones and shoot toward the sky. Acaras are just extremely buoyant!
Ah yes, that reminds me of the time at the pool when I tried to stand on a beach ball. Not this Poogle's most graceful moment... Where was I?
Once the Acaras have eaten their fill, they have a short nap on the beach before unrolling the bowla nets. Unlike the hunting bolas used by some humans, these tools are not designed to wrap around the legs of land-running food. These are large fishing nets intended to catch swimming petpets. With a little luck, these nets will collect enough bowla for the youngest and oldest Acaras to feast while the hunters are resting from their night's activities.
Smoked bowla, poached, boiled, blackened, steamed, minced and baked will be consumed by happy Neopians in this once-a-year special event. Luckily, the bowla head back to deep water after the Bowla Moon; otherwise they would be scarce near Acara-populated areas!
The Jetsam are rumored to have once participated in a similar hunting rite during the Bowla Moon; it's thought that they called it the Acara Moon. The shark-like Neopians fiercely deny allegations of Acara-snacking during the Aquatic Festival. To prove their goodwill, Jetsam now patrol the shallows during Bowla Moon to protect inexperienced Acaras from dangers such as giant gulper or rampaging narwhool. To date, neither of these oceanic terrors have appeared at the yearly gathering.
To all my Acaran readers, I wish you happy bowling (the Acaran word for fishing). In an attempt to add some culture to the Ghost Writer episodes, my assistants and I are looking for more Neopian traditions for upcoming articles. Please send a decorative post card with your suggestions, attached to a plushie paint brush, to Ghost Writer Inc, just two houses down from the Ghost Lupe!
If you happen to wander along a stream bed or gravel pit, to celebrate the Acara Aquatic Festival you may want to give a special rock to your favorite Acaran pal.
Happy Acara Aquatic Festival!