Jolly Roger Bay is the third course of Super Mario 64 and requires you to have three stars in your possession before you can unlock it. In the main foyer, there will be a door on the right side that has a “3” on it, which is the one with this level behind it. It is also the first stage where the majority of the level will be underwater, so if you didn’t do The Secret Aquarium, then you will be introduced to swimming here.
Mario and Swimming
Swimming in Super Mario 64 is pretty simple and doesn’t involved much of anything extra on your end. First and foremost, both the A and B buttons will be used to make Mario swim. Pushing the left analog stick up will make Mario dive, while pushing it down will have Mario begin surfacing. The catch with underwater in this game is that there’s no separate breath meter. Instead, the game uses your actual health as the breath meter, with it depleting by one slice every few seconds. The only way to refill his health is by either collecting coins or returning to the surface. If you return to the surface, Mario’s health will be restored back to full, no matter how low it was.
Holding down A or B will cause Mario will swim slowly, while mashing it will make him swim normally. However, if you can develop a rhythm with either button, you will find that Mario will swim a little faster than normal. This is an important skill to learn, as it makes getting a star in Jolly Roger Bay earlier than possible. While on the surface of the water, holding down on the analog stick and pressing A or B, Mario will jump out of the water.
Jolly Roger Bay Layout
When you first begin the stage, you will be dropped onto the shore, with a few sign posts there to help you understand swimming and special Caps (there’s a Metal Cap block here). Not far from the shore, there is a rock sticking out of the water, with a closed cannon. There are some spires in the distance, which you can climb, although the bigger ones might need to be accessed via other means. If you follow the right wall, you will see some more platforms in the distance, with a wooden plank in the middle of them.
The second platform has a large button on it, which will be pressed by simply walking over it. This creates some dirt/wooden blocks that act like little bridges to the thinner ledges in front of the button. These dirt/wooden blocks can be destroyed with a Ground Pound, but they will come back once the timer resets on the button, which lasts for around 12-13 seconds. It seems like this pathway leads to nothing, but once you complete [Plunder in the Sunken Ship], the ship will rise to the surface.
That takes care of the first area, on the surface at least, but there’s still an underwater portion to explore. Back at the entrance, when you first go underwater, you will see some Clams. They will open up for a brief moment, then close; there’s only so many Clams to be found in this level and the majority of them contain Red Coins. That’s about all you’ll find in the shallow portion, but when you get to the deeper section, you will spot a sunken ship. There is an enemy called an Unagi sitting in the hole of the ship (an eel).
Get close enough, then swim away to lure it out of the hole, allowing Mario to enter the same hole that leads inside the sunken ship. There are some chests in here that must be opened in the correct order, or you will get shocked and take damage. On the second star forward, the eel will be found in a hole in the outer wall of the deeper portion of the waters. The last thing to be found in the deeper waters is an entrance to a cave, where you will find a Blue Coin Block, some Goombas and more chests. Also, the pillars in this cave will fall down when you get too close.
Goombas: - Found inside the underwater cave, these creatures will only chase after you if you’re close.
Clams: They will open and close for brief periods of time and should you get hit by either action, Mario will take some damage. Most of the Clams will be hiding a Red Coin inside, with one hiding a Koopa shell.
Unagi: This eel can be found hiding in the ship during [Plunder in the Sunken Ship]. Get very close, then swim away to lure it out. During [Can the Eel Come Out to Play?], the eel can be found in a hole in the outer wall in the same area where the sunken ship was located. You do the same thing as before to lure it out.
Slide Box: While not a traditional enemy, you will take damage from touching this deadly box that’s located on the ship from [Can the Eel Come Out to Play?] onward.
Swim through the coin ring while heading to the underwater cave
On top of one of the spires near [Blast to the Stone Pillar]