Gentle Breezes in Second Life

Gentle Breezes; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrGentle Breezes – click any image for full size

Having opened in August 2017, Rosy Highwater’s Gentle Breezes is the perfect antidote to inclement weather and the approach of winter – or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, the perfect promise of summer – and a chance to wander carefree, simply enjoying the freedom to be.

A Homestead region, Gentle Breezes has been laid out with an eye for detail, and love of nature. From the sandy beaches up through the wooded hills, everything is pretty much perfect for setting the mind at ease and encouraging feet (and camera lens!) to roam. It’s a place for the photographer, the romantically inclined and those seeking escape for life’s weight.

Gentle Breezes; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrGentle Breezes

Surrounded by rolling hills and peaks which rise from sandy shores, Gentle Breeze presents itself as a small isle sitting in a channel between two larger islands. It is close enough to one of the latter to suggest that once upon a time, they may have been joined but overtime, the sea has had its way, cutting a path between them. Taken as a whole, the isle and hills around it – as high as some are – give the impression they may have all at some point in distant pre-history been the ring wall for the caldera of an ocean volcano which once pushed its head above the surrounding seas only to fall extinct and, over the aeons, have those seas erode away the weaker point of the crater walls, flooding the space within.

Visitors arrive towards the centre of the region, on the beach forming the lower part of the island, and which faces out to the west and south. Behind this, the hills of the island form a gentle curve from the east around to the north, casting rocky shoulders down to the sands below. The beach is split into three by channels running outwards from where water tumbles from the rocks of the hills, and it is on the central tongue of sand between the two channels that visitors initial land.

Gentle Breezes; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrGentle Breezes

With waves lapping against it, the beach here offers an arc of places to sit and cuddle or chat looking out over the waters of the bay. Two wooden walkways reaching out over the waters separating it from the sands to the north and south. The latter is as big as the middle tongue of sand, and is home to a pier-top beach hut built over the waters, offering the active a little exercise in scrambling up to it it’s flat deck. Those preferring a more relaxed time can sit as watch from the rowing boat moored by the pier, or from the other cuddle and seating points scattered across the beach.

A path marked by wooden boards offers a way up the slope of the hills, leading to the first of the cottages and cabins which share the upper reaches of the island with trees and flowers. As it does so, the path passes between great slabs of rock reaching out from the hills like a protective wall, the sand within their arms gently giving way to grass, while a wind-bent tree offers a modest amount of shade to an old rowing boat converted into a lover’s lounger beneath its bent back.

Gentle Breezes; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrGentle Breezes

The cabin at the top of the hill is cosily furnished and offers a taste of a simple life – bees for fresh honey, and an outdoor bath. A footpath runs southwards from the cabin, under an arch and to a lookout point overlooking the larger of the island’s two waterfalls and the hidden delight of a hot tub nestled at the foot of the cliffs. On the hill beyond the falls sit two more cabins, each simply furnished. More sitting and cuddle spots can be found spread between and around them, both in the open and under the shade of trees, while a second hot tub overlooks the southern end of the island.

The easiest way to reach the northern end of the island is over the board walk from the middle tongue of beach. This gives access to a set of wooden stairs which climb the cliffs to a brightly-painted beach house offering a grand view out over the island. A pair of wind turbines stand sentinel-like behind the beach house, and further away through the long grass, stone steps offer a way down to the foot of the smaller of the two waterfalls, and a raft floating gently on the water there.

Gentle Breezes; Inara Pey, September 2017, on FlickrGentle Breezes

Gentle Breezes is truly a beautiful location – even now I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the details awaiting discovery – keep an eye out, for example for Rosy’s use of a sculpture by Silas Merlin to represent children playing on the beach. The setting is completely by a perfectly balanced ambient sound scape and for those so minded, a nicely considered chill-out music stream.

But there is also something more here as well. With its rugged hills, gentle beaches and offshore lighthouse, Gentle Breeze offers a remind of Rosy’s equally stunning Black Basalt Beach, which was open from 2013 through 2016, and about which I wrote in August 2013. For those of us who recall the latter, Gentle Breeze further offers a wonderful sense of memory whilst very much remaining its own landscape.

With thanks, once again, to Shakespeare and Max for the tip-off.

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