I’ve been a resident of Hollywood Estates, bordering Blake Sea for getting on for five years now (I think!), and while I’ve covered one or two points of interest around the estates that are open to the public, there is actually a lot to see and enjoy. This being the case, I thought I’d offer an island-hopping guide to some of the places worth a visit, particularly by boat or by air (seaplane perhaps being the best for the latter, or a helicopter with floats!).
For obvious reasons – it being something I’ve been very involved with – I’m going to start at Holly Kai Park. The home of Art at the Park (since 2008), Caitinara Bar (music Wednesdays and Fridays from 16:00 SLT), with a live events area (The Pavilion), nature trails, a permanent exhibition of art from the collection of Nber Medici, co-owner of the Hollywood Estates along with MarkTwain White, bumper boats, kayaks, as well as featuring Seanchai Library, bringing you live stories in Voice every week, Holly Kai Park has a lot to offer visitors.
The docks on the east side of the park offer 2.5 hours of mooring before auto-return kicks in, giving you plenty of time to explore, and re-rezzing of boats (or seaplanes! is possible. This also makes Holly Kai Park a good leaping-off point for travels by water. Head north and then west around Holly Kai Estate, following the waterway, and you’ll eventually come to the Tugby Arena, with matches held every Sunday at 08:00 SLT – find out more by reading my article on matches.
Just south of the Tugby arena is Dutch Harbor. While not strictly part of the Hollywood estates, it is home to Analyse Dean’s magnificent stern wheel paddle steamers. These are truly magnificent vessels, which I blogged about back in 2014. The Dixie Belle has been available for sale since around the middle of 2017 (and I’m overdue an update on the steamers and what’s been happening with them!), and you can walk across to the demo version at Dutch Harbour and try it for yourself.
If hiking is more your thing, you can head west-north-west from Holly Kai Park to the Columbia River. Although largely residential in nature, the hills above the southern bank of the river offer a hiking route. Marked by boot prints on the ground and yellow tour guide boxes, the trail runs westwards to Columbia Bar, and offers views out over the river valley to the north and the surrounding islands to the south.
Unfortunately, rezzing isn’t available at either end of the trail, but a short hop away by TP, is Juneau Regional Airport, offering rezzing for light aircraft, and a short distance to the north, the Hollywood Estates land office has a boat rezzing area (2 minute auto-return) at the moorings in front of it. From here you can explore the Blake Passage regions by boat. A little further to the north at Skagway, is the headquarters of the Second Life International Folkboat Fleet (SLIFF). With races held every Sunday starting at 07:00 SLT, this is a popular community, and sailing lessons can also be had here for those just getting started. If you don’t fancy walking / teleporting, you can catch the Skagway & White Pass train from the rezzing area outside the front of the airport terminal, and which will transport you to all points north in Blake Passage. You can jump off on passing the Hollywood Estates land office, or at the SLIFF centre at Skagway.
South and west of Holly Kai Park lies the famous Hollywood International Airport. With rezzing for aircraft of any size, and water rezzing for boats, it offers the perfect leaping-off point for exploring Blake Sea itself, the regions to the south, and for travelling east through the islands leading to the community of Second Norway. If flying out of a major airport like Hollywood isn’t to your liking and you have a light aircraft, you might like to try flying out of the grass strip at Foliage Airfield. This is a tight little strip, but one I like using when testing different planes, and it is ideal for single and light twin-engined aircraft and helicopters. Just across the water from Foliage sits the historic Greenhouse, a towering prim structure by Transparent Banshee celebrating a bygone building era of Second Life. The gardens and Greenhouse are both open to visitors.
Head south from Hollywood Airport, and you can find your way to the Honah Lee estate, and in particular Palomar Landing, with moorings for boats, seaplanes and helicopters (5 minute auto-return, re-rezzing permitted). This marks the start of the island circle trail and the trailway to the stars, which allow you to travel on foot or by horseback around the 6-region core of Honah Lee, ride up to the Palomar observatory, and visit the marine nursery. I last rode the trails here in 2013, so some of the article I wrote at the time might be out-of-date, but hopefully it’ll act as a primer for those visiting.
All of this is really just scratching the surface of everything on offer in these regions and the lands surrounding Blake Sea. Those who like sailing / boating might also like to visit Horseshoe Park (30 minute auto-return at the dock), which offers a pleasant break while exploring the surrounding waterways. There’s also the delights of underwater exploration along the regions of Blake Deeps. A good place to start these might be from the historic Freeport Township of Flotsam, and you can read more about it and the merfolk community of Fanci’s deep here and here.