The Oceanographic Museum, located literally on the edge of ‘Le Rocher’, has constructed a virtual version of the Great Barrier Reef as part of the new ‘IMMERSION’ exposition. Visitors pay no extra price at the door for access to the sizeable simulator which features 60 very varied species to discover.

The goal of this exposition is to bring awareness of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. With 348,000 km² in area the reef is the largest coral ecosystem worldwide. Only 0.2 percent of the world’s ocean is covered by coral reefs yet they contain over 30 percent of all oceanic life. These organic oases are essential to human life, but as a result of humanity’s activities are now threatened.

The Manta Ray made an impressive appearance as one of many emblematic creatures on display, and in reality the Manta Ray boasts a wingspan of seven metres

The Oceanographic Museum has, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, contributed to the fight for awareness and protection of oceanic life in a multitude of ways. Now through a digitally-constructed coral reef, the museum and its partners aim to educate visitors by bringing them as close to marine animals as possible without the bother of a panoply of dive gear.

“Interacting to raise awareness of fragility is one of the goals of #ExpoImmersion

Immersion is the key word here as a range of techniques and technologies have been utilised to bring the project to life. Each featured species was modelled from real images while their movements and interaction with one another, and the real life human visitors, are recreated from their behaviour as it has been observed in their natural environments. These well-realised creatures react according to visitors movements. Baby turtles will choose to swim around you while dolphins will come right up to your face in a friendly manner.

A friendly dolphin wasted no time in acquainting itself with a curious passer-by

The team behind the exposition cut no corners with the environments themselves as the scenario changes in minutes. The nine-metre tall screens shift continuously to cover all scenarios and all times of the day. Just check out this transition below:

The projected scenario quickly transformed into an illuminated night

This exposition will run until the end of 2021 so don’t worry if you can’t make it soon, just remember to bring a mask as the Oceanographic Museum is very dedicated to upholding its sanitary measures. A mask and a ticket is a small price to pay for the genuinely insightful education on offer through this exposition and throughout the museum.

Visitors to the museum are expected to follow directions, keep a distance, wash hands and wear a mask to ensure that the institution can continue to educate despite the coronavirus pandemic

All media by Jack Brodie for Monaco Daily News.