For better or worse, The Wind Waker was a game which changed a lot of things in the Zelda series. We’ve all heard every man and his Cucco’s opinion on the graphics style, and we already know what everyone thinks about those extended periods of seafaring from island to island. But what about delving into something, quite literally, under the surface? Not only was Wind Waker’s above ground world vast and varied, but the mass of secret caves which dot the islands of the Great Sea like so many jewels are worlds of their own, and gave something to Wind Waker which was unique and brilliant—and it definitely makes sense to have a game with themes of swashbuckling on the wide open ocean to be amass with holes in the ground filled with treasure.
In Wind Waker, Nintendo felt that it was necessary to include a map of the locations of these secret caves, and despite there being less than in Ocarina of Time (at 28) with Wind Waker only having 20, it is a case of quality and not quantity. The Secret Cave Chart, ironically enough attained at Overlook Island, is testament enough to the importance of the holes to the game, to the point where they are seemingly more miniature quests in their own right, rather than the distraction status they seemed to hold in the Nintendo 64 Zeldas.