Note: Missing Whale is now closed. SLurls have been removed from this article.
We were recently passed the landmark to The Missing Whale by Shakespeare, and decided to pay it a visit. Designed by Lotus Mastroianni and Fred Hamilton (frecoi), it’s a homestead region with a touch of the wild side about it, complete with an eclectic mix that adds to its depth.
Backing directly onto a lush green sim surround, the region presents a feeling of being somewhere in a rain forest; a place built on the edge of a modest lake that feeds into a river that meanders away westward into the hills, and which is in turn fed by the broad falls that tumble from the hills to the east.
The landing point is in a small fishing shanty built out over the water. Music drifts through the air, the tunes and quality of which might suggest we’re caught in the 1930s; however, the televisions inside the huts of the shanty suggest a much later period. Perhaps the music is from a record player and innocent enough; but the contrast between the music and the presence of the televisions (and surfboards!) is the first in a series of mixes that make the Missing Whale such an interesting curio awaiting exploration.
Raised board walks links the various huts and buildings of the village, and provide a route up onto dry land in one direction and, by way of a river crossing to the local store in another. The store is stacked with a range of produce, western meats and cheeses, oriental beer – and the opportunity for a game of pool. It appears to sit as the Last Friendly Store where explorers can gather supplies before delving into the interior.
Beyond the little village, the landscape becomes more rugged – and wet. Rain falls over a bamboo forest, water flows down over rocks and through pools to a broad channel cutting the land. Ruins lie close to this river, watched over by a tiger, offering a suggestion that perhaps we’re in the rain forests between India and Myanmar. But then, up on the rocky foothills beyond, African elephants bathe in the waters of the large, waterfall-fed pool. Thus we have another anachronism (although admittedly, it might simply be the result of Indian elephants being a little less popular with creators than their African cousins).
Even so, whether deliberate or forced by circumstance, the clash between tiger and elephant adds further mystery to the region. The Asian influences can be found elsewhere as well; there is more than one tiger in the region awaiting discovery, while stone and copper Buddha heads can be found as well. Similarly, the region has a number of oriental / Japanese style structures waiting to be discovered, both down among the trees and up on rocky plateaus, mixing things further.
There is also an edge of danger to the region – as evidenced by the wreckage of two downed aeroplanes in the hills and a boat driven against the rocks in one of the river channels. This channel holds within it a little beach; although the path to it is not entirely obvious, even if it is signposted when you find it 🙂 . As an alternative, the daring could scramble down from the high rocks holding the beach in their curve.
If I’m totally honest, I’m not sure the selected region windlight shows the setting to its best advantage, and I would suggest playing with options for photography. Also, there are one or two areas where the is a lot going on which can impact viewer performance (depending on your system & settings, obviously). I found the walk through the bamboo forest in the rain pretty heavy going thanks to the rain, the motion of all the bamboo in the breeze and the atmospherics; hence again why playing with windlights can help.
But, this shouldn’t deflect you from a visit; the Missing Whale makes for an attractive visit.