Num Bing-Howlett (Num Bing) and her SL partner, Clifton Howlett, sent me a personal invitation to visit their latest region design, Hidden Bottle, which recently opened.
I’ve previously written about Numb and Cliff’s designs in these pages, and have always enjoyed exploring them, so I took the first opportunity I could to hop over and “have a pike” as people are prone to say in the part of the world I was born in.
For this build, Numb and Cliff have created a little tropical corner of the world given over to pirate legend, as the About Land description notes:
Welcome to Hidden Bottle @ Gin!
Pirates discovered the Gin islands long ago & used it’s hidden location to distil their bootleg Gin. Now we continue on using their same recipe for happiness…sunshine, smiles, & a great gin!
Be careful for the overhead gondola & enjoy your time here at Hidden Bottle…& don’t forget the tonic!
I’m a little surprised the tipple being made wasn’t rum given it’s pirates we’re talking about; perhaps the story is simply something made up by the local to encourage tourists – or maybe the pirates in question had a more refined taste 😉 – and of course, “gin” is entirely in keeping with the region’s designated name – and there is a still awaiting discovery, if you can find it!
The setting primarily comprises a ruggedly handsome pair of islands that rise from the sea, and which if viewed from above look like a hook extending outwards from a blocky wrist.
It might be that, once upon a time the two were joined as one, but time and nature have worn a watery channel between them, a channel now spanned thanks to the hands of Man, a broad wooden platform crossing over the water and that serves as both a home to a small bar and also as a boarding point for the cable car system that runs around and through the islands.
The latter is an impressive ride, rising from the the water-spanning deck to follow the square cliffs of the “wrist” island, its cables supported by tall pylons that lay at first embedded in the rock of the island to lift cable cars up over a corner of the island’s flat head, before dropping their cables back down towards the sea and a neat line of their brethren that march single file out over the shallows of the sea and around the north side of the “hook” island, where they loop the highest peak and then descent by way of gorge and rocky arch to once more join the low-lying deck.
The cars that run along this cableway offer an ideal means to see much of the beauty of the setting, while platforms periodically placed along the route – some of them quite precipitously – offer places to both board and leave the cars and continue exploring on foot.
Mirroring the path of the cable cars, as is oft the way with such systems, are paths that wind up the cliffs and hills of the island, allowing people the means to explore on foot – and as the cars do not reach all the places waiting to be discovered, following them upwards (and back down!) is recommended.
For those who prefer, the southern and eastern curve of the islands cup within them calm waters where swimming or lazing on an outrigger boat might be enjoyed together with resting on the sands. Beneath the waves, for those who care to look / dive, fish and turtles swim whilst above, extending from the cliffs, an events stage offers another lookout point. And for those who fancy exploring more, a grassy route passes under a great arch of rock to reach the north side beach and its own hideaways.
With winding paths meandering over the hilltops, boardwalks and stairways climbing the cliffs to platforms and palm-crowned heights rich with the song of exotic birds as they fly around and through the trees, Hidden Bottle is a delight to explore. Throughout all of this are numerous places to sit and relax and just appreciate the setting and its promise of distant escape and freedom. and, needless to say, present photographers with a wealth of opportunities to exercise their shutters. In fact, you might say, Hidden Bottle / Gin are a perfect tonic if you need a getaway!
My thanks to Numb for the invite!
- Hidden Bottle (Gin, rated Adult)