In July I received an invitation from Matticus Marinea (Matticus.Blinker), the lead builder for Rosehaven Seafolk Sanctuary to pay a visit to the latter and spend time exploring. It admittedly to me longer than I’d hoped to get there – my apologies to Matticus and region holder Owner of Rosehaven Valley and the rest of their community for this being the case.
Below a timeless European country estate, lies a watery realm of mysticism & tranquillity. Rosehaven Seafolk Sanctuary is an open refuge to all ocean dwelling residents of Second Life. We invite everyone to come and explore our large underwater caverns and seafloor. Discover the many hidden wonders, connect with others at the many scheduled events in a safe community atmosphere.
– via Matticus Marinea / Rosehaven Seafolk Sanctuary About Land
Given the location occupies a Full private region with the additional LI bonus, there is a lot to see, with visits starting either above or below the waves, depending on preferences.
Merfolk will most likely want to start underwater, as this offers the most varied environment; it’s certainly where Imp and I started our explorations. The landing point here offers information on the region, together with two teleport boards – aquatic and land. Both offer quick access to key points under and above water, but I really recommend exploring by walking / swimming.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent when underwater, is the care that has been put into making things as diverse as possible, mixing larger public spaces with smaller, more romantic /intimate spots that are tucked away between doors and inside caves or at the end of tunnels or beyond rocky arches.
There is also more of a richness of architectural and floral expression to be found here that might be expected from a merfolk environment: places resembling tree houses, plants that might be as at home in a garden on dry land as one where octopi might tend.
Being a long time merman in Second Life, I have seen a lot of underwater sims come and go. A big problem we have as mer-builders is that there just isn’t enough diversity in items (foliage, rocks, buildings) which are made specifically for underwater spaces. Therefore, when I finally had the opportunity to work on something in this larger scale, I wanted to incorporate non-traditional plant life to create an experience that is distinctively different and yet familiar.
– Matticus Marinea
Exploring can be done mer-style – by swimming (we slipped into a couple of mermaid-like looks!) or on foot; the central public spaces are neatly paved, and human walkways and paths are clearly marked, and stairs and steps link areas at different depths, while ladders and stairs offer various routes up to the dry land elements of the setting.
That said, finding your way around still requires a little patience and time; just when you think you’ve seen everything, it’s more than likely turning another corner around a shoulder of rock or climbing another set of steps will reveal something more, be it an underwater lawn complete with a miniature of Stonehenge, an oyster-like bed or a little nightclub awaiting a singer at the microphone – and more.
Above ground, the region is laid out as a grand manor estate with outhouses. The manor sits with an elegant formal garden before it, the outhouses range around in a quadrangle. The manor, its garden and the majority of the outhouses are private, unless playing hose to an event. The only exceptions to this are the Tourist information Centre, which forms the above water landing point (complete with information and teleport boards), and the café / bistro facing it.
These latter face a waterside walk, the water spanned by a trio of bridge which provide access to the Rosehaven Theatre, home to productions that include Broadway shows, ballet performances, variety shows, musicals, dance recitals and more, presented by the theatre’s troupe and cast. Alongside of sit the double tier of The Cabaret Club, offering an open air performance space on its flat roof and a further venue inside.
A further bridge crosses a water channel between the Club and the Aviary – but as it was unclear whether or not the latter is open the public, we kept clear (there is another small island bracketing the theatre and Cabaret Clubs, and this is home to private residences, so please avoid trespass.
Two islands are also to be found tucked into the region. Within the south-east corner sits Sawyer Island. A little haven unto itself, separated from the manor and other structures by water, it is best reached by boat or – for those wanting to come to it underwater – by finding the path, stairs and ladder that provide access to the island via a pool close to its centre. Please be aware that Sawyer Island area is a “clothing optional” space; naturists are always welcome but visitors should not confuse “a lifestyle of practicing non-sexual social nudity in private and in public” with anything sexual.
Occupying the north-east corner of the region is Fae Haven. Again best reached by boat or by finding your way up to it from underwater, this presents an idyllic, relaxing retreat awash with magic and enchantment, perfect for those seeking a quiet place to relax with friends or to simply be at one with nature. It sits as a welcome refuge to the Fae Folk of Second Life: elves, fairies, sprites & fauns, with the Enchanted Pond often used as a gathering place for dancing and music.
For me, one of the most impressive aspects in Rosehaven is the use of space. The entire size of the region is use for both the above water and undersea settings without either directly impinging on the other. They can thus be enjoyed and appreciated entirely individually to one another, whilst also being gently bound together by their connected access points to present an integrated environment.
Finished with an accompanying local soundscape, Rosehaven Seafolk Sanctuary makes for a richly detailed visit (which can take some systems by surprise, so do be prepared to make some viewer adjustments if necessary) with a lot for find and enjoy both above and below the waves.
Rosehaven Valley is rated Moderate