A trip to the Arctic in Second Life

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022 – click any image for full size

Nailah Carlucci-Remain (Nailah Carlucci) recently invited me to visit her latest design, The Arctic Sanctuary. which she co-hold with Satria Pexington. Occupying a Homestead region, it is – as the name suggests – an Arctic setting, albeit it one with seasonal touches throughout and with the typical quirk of such settings in Second Life.

Walk through an arctic expanse, among the polar bears and penguins. Then climb onto the enchanted Hogwartz express. From there, stop for some tea and a look at the art and charming rooms at the classical chateau. Then warm yourself at the Christmas village for hot chocolate, ginger snaps, games and lots of skating. Take the balloon ride for a tour of the region.

– Nailah Carlucci-Remain (Nailah Carlucci)

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022

The balloon tour is actually one of the first elements in the region arriving visitors may encounter, sitting as it does alongside the landing point in the north-west of the setting. The landing point is perhaps a little unsteady, being an ice floe tipping and pitching in the waves. From here the path runs by way of ice passing around the base of an iceberg to where the flank of a larger iceberg blocks the way forward, necessitating a climb up the ice face.

A set of climbing poses rise at the ice cliff, but these appear to be poses only, not animations; to get to the top of the ice is a manual climb. From here it is possible to climb up to a small bivouac or continue onwards over the ice to the rest of the region, starting with a headland where penguins play and polar bears hunt for fish along the edge of the water. Hot pools, there sides formed by calcified sulphur, sit across the spit of land from where the polar bears are seeking a meal, suggesting this is a volcanic location.

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022

As the land opens out a little, visitors arrive at the express train mentioned in the description above – although a ride aboard it is liable to be problematic given the engine sits derailed with a snowdrift (not that it had anywhere to go; the rails end at the drift and rocks, presenting the train more for photographic purposes than a means of transit).

Within the carriages are the elements of the Harry Potter series also referenced in the description. These can be enjoyed by those boarding the train, the restaurant car offering tea and cakes via magically floating service tables. The best way to board the carriages is via the rails that bend away from the main track to the trestle bridge on which the carriages sit, and then entering the first carriage via the forward door.

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022

The chateau and village lie beyond the tunnel from which the train is emerging, the tunnel or the snow and ice at the foot of hill it cuts its way through apparently the only ways by which to reach either the village or the chateau on foot. The trip through the tunnel reveals another of the region’s little quirks (the first being the presence of penguins in an Arctic setting; a not unusual factor in winter / polar settings in SL despite the incongruity, as noted at the start of this article): whilst the tunnel has at one end a railway line exiting it, at the other it has a paved footpath passing over a stone bridge, a broad drive pointing north to the chateau, steps to the east descending  down to the little village.

The chateau is pleasing furnished as a period setting offering plenty of opportunity for photography; the village offers a range of attractions, including ice skating, a catch-a-Santa game, cosy indoor sitting and outdoor paces to enjoy roasted chestnuts or hot chocolate. Interactive elements exist throughout the region, both above and below the waves.

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022

When aboard the train for example, it is possible to obtain drinks from the elf and also touch the books for a few surprises; and should you be tempted by the treasure at the bottom of the waters under the rail bridge, you might find yourself becoming a snack for Bruce the Shark (film buffs may get the reference here). And even if you get past him, another surprise awaits at the treasure itself – you have been warned! In the meantime, for those who prefer their critters a little more sedate, there are a number of ice sculptures scattered around the setting.

An easy visit, The Arctic Sanctuary offers multiple opportunities for photography and interactive elements that help to make a visit fun and just a little bit different from the usual seasonal fare this time of year. All of which makes time spent within the region worthwhile.

The Arctic Sanctuary, December 2022

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