Salt Water – click and image for full size
I recently received an invitation from region holder Kye (Kyevaiy) to visit her Homestead region of Salt Water. The initial part of the region’s description certainly piqued my interest – “The cure for anything is Salt Water — in one form or another, sweat, tears or the Salt Sea”; but it was Kye’s invitation that captured my desire to pay a visit sooner rather than later:
I asked Tippy Wingtips to help me recreate a places I had recently visited in Mexico, Belize and the Island of Roatán. I sent her several photographs of my trip and she tried to duplicate many of them in order to capture the places I love.
– Kye (Kyevaiy) describing the development of Salt Water
Belize is one of those places in the world that has long fascinated me, and I was keen to see how elements of it had been interpreted in the region design, hence pushing a visit to the top of my list. Sadly, I can’t really speak for Mexico or Roatán – the latter was completely out of my ken until I looked it up, and my one visit to Mexico was limited to Sonora. However, what I can say is that, even without any in-depth knowledge of all the countries and locations used as inspiration for the design, Salt Water is marvellously conceived and designed.
The region presents itself as a rugged, tropical island that climbs slowly from a western bay up to high plateaus. It has also, at some point in the past, been split into two: to the north-east a narrow gorge breaks the land, spanned by a single rough bridge, looking for all the world like it has been cut over time by water action. Throughout the entire region, the attention to detail is stunning.
“I loved doing this sim! It took me almost 3 months to get it the way I wanted it!” Tippy informed me. In spending several hours over the last couple of days exploring, I can see why.
The low-lying areas of the region to the west offer beach houses, sand, board walks over the shallow waters of the bay, open decks over both sand and water, all of which are woven together to present the most idyllic setting: the perfect vacation paradise. As the beach houses are presented for public access, there is no danger of trespass, and they offer additional places to sit and relax and become immersed in the setting as the westering Sun casts long shadows over sand and grass.
As well as the waters of the bay, the west side of the island offers a small rock-encircled pool for bathing while the board walks continue over the sands, helping to form – along with the bay itself – a natural boundary between the low-lying beaches and the island’s uplands.
The latter are reached via stone steps cut into the rocks or an age-worn path, and rise in tiers, the trees slowly changing with altitude, with the palm trees gradually giving way to a small rain forest that hugs the upper reaches of the island. These tiers are cut by a the passage of water that cascades down falls and flows along rocky channels to feed the bay below.
It is up on the highest level of the plateau, where the air is rent by lightning, the ancient Aztec ruins can be found, presided over by a large stone tablet raised onto its edge. These ruins, backed by the dense foliage of the rain forest, actually form the region’s landing point, and offer a marvellous lookout down and to the west to the beaches and the setting Sun.
Two paths – one at the foot of the steps cut into the rock of the plateau and which lead down to is first lower tier, the other running through the trees of the rain forest and then down through a rocky gorge, lead the way north to where that heavy bridge of felled (or fallen) tree trunks crosses the chasm separating the two parts of the region. Across it, more ruins await discovery while paths and steps wind down the land to the west, passing snuggle spots and look-out points until they reach the little beach of a headland.
All of this only really scratches the surface of Salt Water. There is a wealth of detail to be discovered, from the way in which all of the snuggle spots, seating and look-out points offer views over and between trees to the ocean and the lowering Sun, to the inclusion of suitable wildfowl across the waters and in the air, to the selected sound scape.
A marvellous design, perfectly put together and well worth visiting and exploring. Photographs are welcome at the region’s Flickr group, and gratuities towards the upkeep of the region will be accepted by the monkey at the landing point.