Erebos Harbor – click any image for full size
The lowering sun glints off the copper dome of an observatory, skylined to the north of town square. The shutter door is open, cutting a slice of darkness into the curve of the dome, but any telescope that may once have lain within its protection has long since gone.
Seated upon its throne of a high plateau north of the town, the observatory presides over Erebos Harbor, what may have once been a series of impressive terraced gardens set immediately before it. A waterfall tumbles in two deep steps from the high rocks, a sliver of silver against their darker faces, further enticing people to heed the siren call of the high dome and travel north towards it.
I make no apologies for writing about this build by Leaf (Peyton Darmoset) and Julz (Juliette Rainfall) under the dirty.pretty banner, so soon after visiting Cloudbreak (see: An Indonesian Cloudbreak in Second Life). This is because, like the regions of Cloudbreak, Erebos Harbor is an extraordinary build, quite breathtaking in its design and execution, and fully deserving of an article to itself.
It is, in summary, very much a region of three parts. To the south is a small town style layout, complete with fishing docks and a railway siding. To the west sit two humped islands of rock, reached by high bridges, where homes and beaches might be found. Then, to the north, and dominating the setting, sits the imposing bulk of the old observatory.
Despite the boutique cafés with their street side parasols or paved gardens, or the warehouse converted to a music venue, the town has a feeling of perhaps being past its prime. Brickwork is careworn, the streets look a little tired, stores lie empty, packing cases on their bare floors, while the garage space at one end of a set of shops has lost both its roof and upper floor.
To the west, the islands are home to the region’s rental properties – predominantly wooden-build cabins and houses overlooking the surrounding sea and water, or descending to cinder beaches on their west side. The rental properties up on the tops of the islands are relatively easy to identify, but do be aware there are what appear to be a rental down on the beach as well, so do please respect the privacy of the tenants. Another private residence also sits down on the west side of the “mainland”, at the edge of the channel separating it from the outlying islands.
However, it is the observatory that is liable to attract the visitor’s eyes and feet. Impressive from a distance, it is nothing short of stunning when seen up close; Leaf’s vision for the setting is extraordinarily imaginative. While the town below may give hints of having seen better days, this is clearly a place that is well past its prime, and where nature has decided to take up residence – indoors as well as outside. Where the terraced gardens may once have been of a more formal layout, now they are overgrown, any paved paths or lawned walks that may once have connected the stone steps between the different terraces now long gone, replaced with wild grasses or bare ground. In some places, even the stone steps have gone, replaced by wooden walkways and stairs, including those up to the observatory itself.
This is wonderful home build / kitbashed structure by Leaf which deserves to be seen and appreciated in its own right. Some of the walls are crumbling, the observatory dome no longer protects a telescope, while inside, nature has long since taken a hold on things – although a huge and uniquely finished orrery still operates within the foyer space of the planetarium. Outside, there is a wonderful use of décor in the gardens I freely admit to the way Leaf has converted from the wildlife creations of Hannah Kozlowski into the must far-reaching of statues.
Scattered across the observatory’s terraces are numerous places to sit, whether by oneself or with friends, and to enjoy a cuddle with a loved one. These include, for the daredevils out there, a bed-like platform suspended over the waterfalls tumbling down the sheer rock face to a pool below. Those seeking a less risky pursuit than leaping down to the platform can enjoy the open-air movie theatre sitting in the lee of the plateau’s west side.
There are a host of little treats to be found throughout Erebos Harbor, indoors and out, so exploration is highly recommended – keeping in mind the private residences to the west of the region. Photographs are welcome at the dirty.pretty Flickr group, and rezzing rights can be obtained by joining the dirty.pretty in-world group. As noted above, this is a truly exceptional region in terms of design and settings, and absolutely not one to be missed.
- Erebos Harbor (Devine Corruption, rated: moderate)