There’s ship lies rigged and ready in the harbour
Tomorrow, for old England she sails.
Fair away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land of rainy skies and gales.
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow,
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell.
-The Last Farewell – Whittaker & Webster
Since starting writing pieces on some of the places in SL I particularly like, I’ve had numerous suggestions and requests relating to places I might enjoy visiting. One such suggestion came from Ayesha Askham-Ezvalt, who pointed me towards Black Spot. As a lover of tall ships (albeit the clipper variety, admittedly), it was a place I had to visit.
Black Spot is one of three sims devoted to tall ships of the pirate / buccaneer type, the other two being Dead Man’s Chest and Ace of Spades. Black Spot and Dead Man’s Chest have been developed by Lia Woodget, with Ace of Spades developed by Giacobetta Oliva. All three form a common theme that showcases Lia’s tall ships and Gia’s tour systems, and you can wander around the ships, take a rowing boat between the various islands and explore Lia’s shipbuilding hideaway.
There really is a lot to explore and enjoy here; and Black Spot also makes for a quiet retreat set in the wide ocean. Lia has put a lot of attention on breathing life into the sims, with vessels anchored in the lee of the isles, tied-up alongside wooden quays, or sailing in on the tide.
The ships themselves are magnificent, the hulls and fittings beautifully detailed, and you can explore their decks in turn, decide if the sails should be furled or not, and – if you’re so minded – purchase a copy of any that are for sale. There is enough room below deck on the larger vessels to make them into a highly original home…
At the quayside on Black Spot island itself, you can explore the smaller vessels Lia builds, or walk around her slip, where another is under construction. You can also wander into the shipwright’s hideaway under the hill of the island, and explore the secrets it hides….
It is here that you can take a boat across the water to Ace of Spades, or you can walk through vaulted chambers, passing stacks of kegs full of rum…or are they full of gunpowder for the cannons outside? There are chests with gold coin scattered around them that leave you wondering whether this is a simple shipwright’s hideway and yard, or whether it really is the secret lair of buccaneers who roam the high seas, looking for unwary prey.
Walk on through dust-laden sunbeams as they fall through hidden windows and climb the stairs to discover books and charts, then up higher to stone turret overlooking the sea, and another ship as she sits at anchor – or is perhaps sailing on around the headland. Here you can sit alone or with a friend, watching as the sun sets out over the ocean, silhouetting the ship and carrying you back to bygone days.
Back in the cavernous hideaway, as I mentioned, you can find a skiff waiting to carry you across the water to Ace of Spades, and Gia’s island. Take a seat and enjoy a smooth journey as you slip out from under the protection of cavern and cove and across the sim boundary. Here stands and old fort, home to Gia’s tour systems – of which the row boats used to get around the islands are a part. Here, as well, you can take a larger skiff out under sail and tour the waters of the regions – but be wary of the sim boundary when you start out…and don’t spend too long on the water…you might find out how risky sailing can be!
If you prefer, you can use another of Gia’s rowboats to reach Dead Man’s Chest – or for the very daring take a ride around all three sims on a witch’s broomstick! However, this also may have its perils…particularly if someone has “parked” a ship along your line of flight…
Dead Man’s Chest is less tamed than Black Spot, the wooded isle offering natural vantage points to admire the harbour or look out over Captain Albus Weka’s fort and store. You can also board the mighty Elysium and wander her decks.
All-in-all there is a lot to see and enjoy when visiting Black Spot, and in some respects, I’ve just scratched the surface – so why not take a look yourself?