**Winter SOLstice**

In early November, Jac and I were talking about the state of Sol Mañanero and where we wanted to go with it.  We had seen Sol change over the 17+ months with the most recent change that I blogged about earlier this year.  We still felt that we had the most beautiful home location and surf sim and while we could keep it as is, we both seemed to need something different.  My “compound” built by Patch Thibaud had been my primary home in SL for over 2 years and quite frankly, it felt like it had become more of a monument than a home.  I know that change was the “air” for me.

We tossed around a few ideas and realized that we both still loved the elevation and did not want a “flat” environment.  We decided mountainous and seasonal would be a good way to start.  Well since the “season” upon us was Winter, we jumped right into the cold, crisp climate!

In less than 10 days, the full sim had been transformed into a beautiful mountain home full of snow and ice!  Hardwoods and evergreen trees growing everywhere along with grassy meadows and water.  Can’t live without the waterfalls and rocks either, so we added those in as well!  The main home from GOL Project Design (Dakota Neumann) is elevated and I built wood decking to help integrate it into the terrain.  In the next few weeks, we added bits and pieces here and there.

But we were really struggling on what to do with the homestead (surf) sim.  We thought about mountain cabin rentals for the season with snowmobile tracks around a lake, about just the lake with trails, and then while I was away and not online too much, Jac came up with the brilliant plan of true arctic surfing.  It would be new and different, but fun and incorporate an SL activity that we both still enjoyed.  He had started it with the amazing terraforming and thoughtful design and then I added ice piles and floating icebergs…  Jac put in a Botha designed house to serve as a “warming” house for all that freeze themselves in the water and I again built decking to make it accessible.

Now less than 6 weeks later, I think that the sims are nearly complete.  Yes, we will tweak here and there, add something or remove, but the concept and primary bits are done.  On the “surf” sim, we have orcas in the water, seal colonies on the ice and wolves chasing caribou on the land.  On the home sim, beautifully peaceful mule deer graze in the meadow, elk are near the waterfalls, arctic fox up by the house and mountain sheep in the hills.  Sounds have been placed, so we hear the hoot of the snowy owls, the waterfalls, the seals yapping and the orcas chirping as the wind blows across the land, water and ice.  In addition to surfing, we have skating on the main lake and sleds (in a rezzer) to zip down the hill upon.  As the night falls, and yes, we only have short days, the skies light up with the Aurora Borealis which brightly beams all around.

Come visit… surf a bit (wear your warmest wet- or dry- suit), then head into the warming house out on the surf sim.  Walk into the main sim and find the skating animations on the iced over lake  (single and couple versions) and then look for the sled rezzer up on the hill, jump on one and zip down the hill!  Just be sure to turn your environment to night (9pm or midnight) to enjoy the lights dancing across the sky.

We call this our… Winter SOLstice… and we hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have while putting  it together!


p.s. Watch for the announcement of a party on 17th of December… yesssssss just around the corner!


I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water . . . has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river. — Roderick Haig-Brown

As I shared in my last post, our sim was primarily recreated in the last month.  Our love of nature needed to be shared outwardly and with all, and now we have done that.  I’ve enjoyed inviting people over to see the changes, showing them what we have to offer and taking them out for a paddle in a kayak!

Kayaking…, a new activity for me in SL, is truly my fave addition to our sim.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love love love the beauty of the sim most!  But…for something to do and something that can be shared…kayaking rocks!

We offer the Galiko kayak rezzer in our stream.  Here you can rez a kayak for one, a kayak for two and even a kayak for tinies!   Now, the realism of these kayaks is just awesome.  The sculpt is wonderfully done and the options are great for the rezzer system.  The animation is very realistic as well.  And if you listen closely (with sounds turned up), there are even  sounds that will put you right into the activity -swish, swish, swish – as your paddle moves through the water.

Now all that said, getting started with the Kayak isn’t the most intuitive as there are a few things you should know.  I set up a notecard giver to give quick hints, but in case you jump in and forget the notecard, the first thing to do is – click on the kayak to get your paddle (delivered to inventory) and then if the menu is gone, click on the kayak again to display the menu.  There is a button that will provide a guide and the menu provides buttons to help you change the color of the kayak (all components), turn up the volume, or you can just GO FOR IT and hit !

Once you do click on , your kayak will be on the move and off the rezzer platform.  You will guide your kayak using the right and left arrow keys only.  The speed will drive the direction in which you float and is controlled by the up and down arrows.  As soon as you click the up arrow to 1 or 2, you will start moving slowly forward.  Be careful, don’t hit that rock!  *wink*   It will take you some time to get a feel for the guiding and how the speed impacts that.  Of course, if you are in a “tight” area, you’ll keep the speed lower, and open water…well… let ‘er rip!  The max speed with the up arrow is 5, but you can hit pg up and be in full velocity!  The down arrow reduces the speed and if you go below 0, you will be backing up…sometimes quite necessary to get out of a hairy situation!  Oh, and if you just wanna stop, hit the pg dwn key and the speed will go to 0!

On our sim, you can canoe through the river/stream and the perimeter of our main sim before heading over the sim border to our surf sim.  Open water here, so enjoy dodging the waves!  Beware of shallow water areas as they are tricky and present a bit of a challenge at times!   Just be patient and you will find that it can be a most pleasant mode of travel…and the viewpoint is incredibly different!

Now if you have your own kayak and want to put it in the water at Sol Mañanero, just find the rez area on the beach, launch and explore!  I hope you will take the time to enjoy our little world from the surface of the water…it can be a fun, funny, beautiful, calming, peaceful, challenging, enjoyable experience…all rolled up in one!

’til next time…explore, enjoy, find the beauty in Second Life,


~ Metamorphosis ~

met·a·mor·pho·sis, the definition…

  1. change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means  
  2. a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances
  3. a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching

Before The Metamorphosis Began...


So, a few weeks ago, Jac and I were discussing our sim, Sol Mañanero.  We were commenting on how much we enjoyed the natural planted areas and talked about some of our favorite spots – real life and Second Life.  As we were conversing, it became evident that another change was in the air for our sim.  Jac asked me “Do we really need a commercial area?”  I replied,  “Well, when we first moved here, it was not in my top 10 wishes, but it made sense at the time…so if we don’t need to have one, I’m good with eliminating it.”   So a little time goes by (hours), and it was decided…Sol Mañanero would get back to nature.  We would have a natural beach break, no commercial, lots of plants, water features, etc.    

Within just a few days, we removed all the shops and every other prim along the shoreline and all of the public area on the sim.  We (ok…Jac is the primary terraformer and planter) got to work and started re-creating our world.  This world was to be more personal to us, designed to provide a beautiful place for people to visit and enjoy while featuring what we enjoy.    

Sol Mañanero (May 2010)


Jac didn’t do much to disturb our home, just the grounds around it.  Rocks have become a more important part of Sol Mañanero and these have added so much depth.  The elevation of our home and other parts of the sim really seem to be better displayed with a rocky shore line and hillsides.  We now have a beautiful, wild, jungly area that reaches down near the shoreline.  We have new waterfalls, and enhanced river and streams.  There are trails to follow so that you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature including flora and fauna.  Butterflies, hummingbirds, herons, egrets, seagulls, and cormorants are all to be found near the beach and water areas.  We have put in a stables with a beautiful green grass meadow up on one of the higher elevations, as well (my major contribution was creating the stable from parts of our home) .    

Sol Stables


Sol Mañanero still offers an awesome surf break with the surf waves on the sim to the west (Playa Sol Mañanero) and if you love to dive, we still have a great area for diving as well, just under the waves.  On our main sim, you will find a few sweet little places to curl up and relax or even float in the water by the primary/central falls.  You can walk the trails and explore a bit.  The Sol Stables are reached by walking along the southern water’s edge to the most east side and then up the switch back trail.  Here you will find our llamas grazing with our horses.  Feel free to bring your own horse or if you peek into the stables, you will see that we have horses available as well. Our horses accommodate both one or two avatars.  Back down near the central waterfall nearest our entry point, we offer a kayak rezzer just down the trail.  Here you can rez either a single or double kayak and head out to explore the sims via water, so very peaceful. Truly our sim is great for an activity-filled date or outing – surfing, diving, kayaking, horseback riding, walking and relaxing – all perfect for that time spent with a friend!    

Sol Mañanero Beach (May 2010)


River Through Sol Mañanero


The Central Falls of Sol Mañanero


Birds at the Falls


Kayaks in the Stream


Kayaking Around The Southern Shoreline


We had a little “open house” party on April 25th to show off what Jac had gotten done by then, but every day … there is a change he shows me and a few that I can show him.  I can not tell you how much I’ve loved this metamorphosis … it is breath-taking in so many ways.  This is our home…Sol Mañanero…and this just simply fits us…for now *smiles*  

You should visit… and see the changes.  When you do, be sure to let us know what you think!  

’til next time, keep exploring and finding the beauty of Second Life!