A ‘conservative’ Christmas? Let’s hear it for our heros!

Hi everyone, this year has flown and Bishara grew from a 512 sq m plot on the mainland to the 262,000 sq m size it is today, with lots of downs thanks to the tremendous growth rate of SL and the strain on the Second Life grid, but also with LOTS of ups, mainly from all of you visiting us, buying some land in the few plots we did put up for sale, and in helping us get Majini off the ground within the surfing community, and the ever positive Torley Linden who keeps me sane with his zany blogs and video tutorials. However the idea in Bishara has always been to create a reasonable visitor’s number on the sims to help encourage folks to also visit the real world environmental projects close to us, and this year has been the preparation of that.

You may have noticed that we do most of everything in Bishara’s sims for you for free, limiting the commercial spaces, the residential land and the rentals to a minimum whilst spending most of our personal funds on creating the reef environment you see. I hope that in this coming year, alongside such fantastic artists like Kaikou Splash and the Heart sisters, we will see some of our own residents and group members also add their designs and creations to the caleidescope of wonder that has become Bishara Resorts. We are paying over USD2,000 per month now in tier fees thanks to VAT, even though I live in a NON-EU country (I bank with a British bank though), of which only about USD300 comes back in residential tier fees, and about USD100 per month of product sales. The strain has been unbelieveable and many a day has come that I got up in the morning feeling I cannot afford this anymore, only to walk my beloved Bishara beaches and realize that it is one of the best therapies I could ever experience 😉 Then I normally end up chatting to VW or Onna or dive the beautiful Chris69 Fitzgerald shipwreck, and then go to bed thinking I’ll keep it all for just one more day 🙂 But it is also my loyalty to a commitment I made in the beginning of the year to REEF.org that prevents me from simply walking away from all of Bishara when things get really tough!

As I live in Cape Town and grew up surfing the Atlantic I have always been drawn to the sea and its tremendous varieties of life. Because it is a cold stream running down the west coast of Southern Africa we have non-coral reefs and hence my interest in REEF.org based in California, who do such a fantastic job trying to protect the non-coral reefs of the world. Naturally I LOVE coral and its beauty and complexity too, but in Bishara I tried a mix of both. However REEF.org remains our priority as they are a small team of people with a small budget and a huge responsibility. Please join me this Christmas to make it a booming one for REEF.org by visiting their website and either volenteering for the fish counting projects or by donating some funds directly to them. Five people trying to conserve the whole Atlantic and Caribbean non-coral reefs! And manage their fish counting projects! These are truly the unsung heros of conservation to me. Help me, help us help them. Go to REEF.org and lets throw our weight behind them in RL too as you have done for us in SL!

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What can you find in Bishara?

On our islands you will find a lot of activities and attractions made purely for your enjoyment. Even those that may cost L$10 or L$20 to play still pay you back half your money or some great cash prizes. But the most amazing things to see are mostly underwater, and require you to either take a swim or a dive to experience them. Its here that our focus remains always, trying to build a reef environment in the islands that will allow you to experience the waters of our world as close as you can without actually being in it in RL. For many access to the oceans do not come easy or are just impossible without an extensive trip or massive arrangements, and it is my hope that Bishara can be a small window into the fantastic underwater world of earth!

We are making steady progress with our object info orbs to build out our Bikipedia 😉 As soon as they have been placed we will have a big launch with all of you invited to the party!

Bishara needs you :)

Hi everyone, well in the pursuit of my dream of merging SL and RL in terms of conservation ideas, I am about to put idea boxes throughout the resort islands for you all to add your comments and suggestions into. However, I need your expert assistance with our sea-life in Bishara, and so you will see little suggestion boxes around all our underwater creatures and plantation for you to drop note cards into, detailing the RL information about each creature or plant. This is how it will work:
1. If you dive down into the Bishara Island reef for example, you will see a stationary and moving Humpback Whale, and near to them a Humpback Whale information orb. By touching this orb you will be able to read all about the Humpback in RL with a factoid note card popping up containing the information.
However, if you think we need to add something else to the note card data, you can simply right-click on the orb and select ‘ADD’ on the pie menu. Then simply CHAT the information you believe should be added here. Next time someone clicks on the orb requesting information, your comments will be captured in THEIR note card, giving them an even fuller background on the object in question, i.e. the humpback whale, and linking your name to the added data as the contributing author 😉

So we’re basically launching our very own Bishara Wikipedia, or Bikipedia 😉 You can help us write our own story that way 😉

Who is REEF.org, Bishara’s main supported aquatic preservation organization?

Reef Logo

REEF (the Reef Environmental Education Foundation) is an international non-profit marine conservation organization that engages scuba divers and other marine enthusiasts as ocean stewards and citizen scientists. Since 1993, the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project (VFSP) has enlisted more than 10,000 divers and snorkellers in marine life identification and the collection of population and distribution data in the form of fish and invertebrate surveys. REEF volunteers are active participants in marine conservation, conveying valuable underwater information to scientists and resource managers to make informed decisions for the future of ocean ecosystems. REEF membership is free-for more information and to get involved, please visit http://www.reef.org.

Bishara’s reefs – the real story…

When you arrive in Bishara and its sims or islands, it will strike you that we use an interesting blue texture for the base water texture of the land and that we spend a lot of time and effort building virtual reefs all around. In fact we support Splash and Kaikou Splash, and many other SL sea-life creators extensively for very good reasons.
Although Bishara means ‘commerce’ in Swahili (Biashara), it also means ‘blessing’ in Arabic, and it is intended to mean both these two things within SL for us for a very good reason. In the resort we are trying to excite SL residents about their ocean life and the fantastic creations that SL artists and creators are putting out into the SL community every day, and we do this because we too find such wonderful creativity in Second Life’s tools and we like you to see just what can be achieved by using them like Kaikou Splash and others do.

However we also try and excite you about these fantastic creations because they showcase in a very limited fashion what you and I can experience in RL (real life) almost every single day if we live near a body of water, or at least every time we visit the ocean or a lake or a waterside resort. Life in water is absolutely amazing and the color of our base texture, the blue you see there, comes directly from a modified picture of a reef in real life. It is our way of linking Bishara with RL almost from the word go, as you land in Bishara it is the colour that first strikes you as odd. And it reflects our passion – to showcase the beauty that the sea and water in general has in its diverse life and diverse environments.

SL cannot begin to truly reflect this beauty yet, but we feel it is one place where we can show you from the comfort of your home just how wonderful water based, or sea-life or aquatic life can be, and it is our particular interest to use Bishara Resorts as a springboard for our residents and visitors to visit real life establishments that work so much harder than us to conserve the stunning world under the waters and seas of this planet of ours. So we are rolling out over the next few months project after project to showcase this to you all and to direct you to a real life experience reflecting each new SL project we do.

Starting in November you will be able to see how scuba works by diving in Majini under the powerful Epic waves there, and to experience first hand what happens when a dive goes wrong, how the results are treated, what makes for safe scuba experiences and so on.

In November we are also launching our first attempt at a virtual fish counting experience for residents, and this will showcase the efforts made by REEF.org in real life fish counting projects around the world and their hard work at preserving our future aquatic heritage. – See my Reef.org post just above.

Month after month Bishara will be rolling out project after project that will showcase someone in RL’s efforts in as near as we can in SL, so that you as our residents and visitors can have the best virtual experience of what it takes to conserve this planet of ours and in particular the underwater world we dont always see, but that is essential to our life here on Earth.