Long before becoming a SL Newser Reporter, we had already developed the skill of finding new areas to explore, by scanning the World Map. Our previous article, about Antiquity, turned out so well, we decided to test it again, this time a bit closer to our home in Sunweaver Bay. Zooming out, we located an area of interest, about 7.16 miles West from home. The first thing we notice about the area is that there are over 20 small islands, scattered around the 12 sims, which are arranged in the shape of a cross. It was a safe bet that some type of boat would be needed to explore this area. Zooming in closer on the map, we find the centrally located Trade Winds sim has docks for large ships, all along it's West side. Starting our adventure here will tell us what kinds of ships are used by the local residents and there will probably be merchants of ships. This is also a good place to learn the local rules that must be followed.
We set a target on the dock and TP, landing, you guessed it, right in front of a shop that sells ships. Before we can get our "land legs" working, several notecards are given, stating the rules and which ships are allowed. The rules inform us that these 12 sims are dedicated to 18th century sailing and warfare RP. While here, your clothing, speech and means of transportation must fit the 18th century. Of important note, your avatar cannot fly here. If your boat sinks, you will either walk out or TP to a dryer location. Since this area is dedicated to 18th century RP, your appearance must fit the period. Gorean and Fury is not appropriate here.
If you are going to get involved in sea battles here, you must use one of the ships that has the latest SPD damage meters. A list is provided giving all the approved ships.
> SPD Corsair III (on SPD2 mode only) > SSS Sloop > SSS Polacre > SSS Goelette > SSS Junk
> SSS Norfolk > SSS Gunboat > SSS Frigate > SSS Grand Galleon > SSS Sampan > SSS Hercules
> AT Colossus > AT Xebec > AT East Indiaman > AT Shu'ai > AT Wicked Wench > AT Gunboat
> AT Revenge > BRS Avventura > BRS Fortuna > BRS Dorey > BRS Pinace > RSS Alert
> RSS Requin > RSS Lorcha > RSS Philadelphia > RSS Mystique > RSS Mercury > Terrada
> MTM Xebec > MTM Statenjacht
Non approved ships can be used, but not in battles, as long as they are 18th century wooden ships. If you are thinking of buying one of the approved ships, there are some rezzers, on the dock, that let you see the full ship. We found an open slip and rezzed our own, non approved Armed Merchant ship and headed out to sea to see where the winds will take us. Keep in mind, ships used here actually use SL winds to sail. Often, the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line. It can only be done by tacking a zig-zag route. We enjoyed getting in some sailing practice and will likely return for more. On the other side, it was hard to pilot and sight-see at the same time and we had to kedge our way out of a few tight spots. At the North end of the docks, you can find a rowboat rezzer. This is a fun way to get from island to island and it stays rezzed as long as you stay on it. Hint: you can also get around by using the World Map to TP to other islands, but good luck on where you land.
The islands are dotted with towering rock spires and, by now, we all know that Sha loves getting into higher perspectives [double entendre]. If zooming the cam to the peaks reveals man made structures, we would find a way to blaze a trail to the top.
Oddly enough, 18th century churches also seem to like these lofty locations. Our favorite was the Goth church on Cayo Hueso. The long and winding road to the top is very enjoyable and best done in "mouselook". We have a passion for architectural wonders and climbed every stair and opened any doors that were not locked.
Below the goth church, we find an older, simpler fortified church. Wishing for a view from the watch tower, we find a rope that lets the user do an animated climb to the roof top. After taking in the view, we set course for the interior of the church. Belay them plans, matey. All the church doors inform us that we don't have a key to this sacred place. A parting zoom look through the upper Celtic cross window reveals that this be a secret hang out of a pirate gang.
While it is true that the pirates are friendly, keep in mind their interpretations may vary widely from yours. In one pirate pub there is a metal grating in the floor, where the gang can drop you down to cages below, where they keep the guest that they will be extra-friendly with. Sha managed to get herself in a cage, in a room full of BDSM furniture. The cage door won't open, unless we enter a code that picks the lock. That would take too long to guess and, there were no guards, seeking x-rated entertainment, so she takes out her notebook, for clues on how to escape. Remembering having already made LMs in other islands, she becomes enlightened that "the Poof will set you free".
Free again, Sha heads for the nearest church, to increase her share of good luck. Spotting a confessional box, she goes in to get a clean slate.
Sha: Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have plundered a fortune by shaking my booty around a pole, at club Cutlass.
Priest: The church forgives you my child. Now, for your penitence say three OMGs and put a sack of 10% of your booty in the door by your knees.
We begin to sense a mystery to unravel here. Pirates and priests, how are they connected? Is it even possible to imagine a congregation made up of pirates and wenches? If they're into the 10 commandments, do they have their own interpretation of the rules to a good life?
In an open book, we spotted "The Pirate Code". It seems they have done the 10 commandments one better. The Code has 11 articles. Remind you of the rock band that had custom amplifiers, with volume knobs that go all the way up to 11? In fact, article 11 states that all musicians have the Sabbath off, by right and any other days, by favre only.
During our adventures at Trade Winds, we talked with and befriended a high ranking region manager, called Matisse. Learning that we were there preparing a story for the Newser, we were invited to join the local group, with the title of "Rogue Photographer". That would protect me from those that would hinder my progress. Hopefully, that would also stop stray cannon balls from taking seat in my row boat.
Now, pay no attention to the 15 port side cannons, pointed in your direction. Just be takin' our word on it, there be plenty of adventure here. Come set yer keel in the water and thrust the sails to the skies. There's magic in the air and the Pirates Code entitles you to a fair share.