TWH – Many of us are going on week four of social isolation and shelter-in-place orders due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Some have gone even longer. Going out for essentials remains challenging, and even simple tasks that used to take a few minutes now can take hours.
The most important thing remains keeping vulnerable others and ourselves safe. Staying at home makes that possible while supporting our community, friends, and loved ones who are essential workers. News coverage of the “corona crisis” is important, but also can also be by turns interesting, disappointing, infuriating, and informative. Watching the news channels seem both to relieve stress and make stress.
Here at The Wild Hunt, we have decided to do another round-up of virtual cam escapes that can be run on a computer or phone or smart TV device. They give us a little window around the world throughout the day. All of these are kid-friendly and just need an internet connection. (See here for our previous edition of Traveling Without Moving, which focused on museum tours.)
Sunrise – New York City: World Trade Center Cams
The World Trade Center cams have an interactive design that allows users to view different parts of the City’s skyline. Some of the cams have a zoom function, letting us get a closer view, and others add a picture function to snap a photo of something interesting. Sunrise is awesome, and our favorite camera for sunrise captures is HarborCam, which gives a fantastic view of Manhattan from Liberty Island.
Breakfast in Venice
It may be afternoon or evening there, but this cam from Skyline offers a beautiful view of the island Piazza San Marco and San Marco Basin of the Venetian lagoon. Even with the current quarantine in Italy, we can still watch the occasional ship travel through the lagoon.
Time for a Safari!
What could be better than an after-breakfast visit to Africa? That’s where Africam Live Stream comes in. Complete with sound, this live stream of the African bush comes with random appearances by antelopes, elephants, leopards, lions, and much more. The sound quality is excellent, so make sure the volume is up.
Time for Elevensies, or, hamarretako in Basque Country
While we enjoy our eleven o’clock pre-lunch to get us through the morning, we can enjoy a high-resolution live stream from Urdaibai Bird Center in the Basque country of Northern Spain and just a few miles south of the Cantabrian Coast.
Going anywhere for lunch is hard – so why not just go everywhere? The International Space Station has a cam running with views of the Earth. There is also a delayed second stream. Either way, we get live or near-live views of our planet, and with the ISS moving at about 17,150 miles per hour, it displays the entire planet once every 92 minutes.
After taking care of chores or gossiping on Facebook, it might be time to reconnect with nature at a distance. It’s a good time to check on some more animal friends around the world. The wild sites stay on all the time, but some convert to a “highlights stream” during nighttime at their location.
For the afternoon, first, let’s check in on bald eagles. The American Eagle Foundation has a live stream of eagle nests around the USA. This one is in Northeast Florida, although AEF does not disclose the specific location of the nest to protect the birds.
Now for Pandas from the Wolong Grove. The Shenshuping Gengda Panda Center is in China’s Wolong Valley. This is one of the sites that does the “highlights” stream. Still – there are pandas.
On to more charismatic megafauna: sea otters in Monterrey Bay Aquarium. There are three resident rescued otters: Rosa, Abby, and Selka. We can watch them all day. They do sea otter things like floating; floating; the occasional swim; and, for a change of pace, floating.
On to Transylvania, where we can be on the lookout for bears. Yes, bears. There is a bear-watching live nature cam from the woods of Transylvania Romania. This cam also has a night vision service after sunset to capture “big bears, boars, foxes, and sometimes wolves.”
Could we really have an afternoon animal tour without looking for Nessie? Nessie on the Net is a live stream of the famous Scottish Loch.
Time for a swim
Seeing an inviting lake might make us want to venture out to a local beach for a swim, but that takes us out of the house and we’re staying here for the safety of ourselves and our community.
So let’s have a look at North Carolina’s Frying Pan Tower’s underwater live stream, called Shark Cam. This live stream moves with the fish and waves and gives us an occasional, albeit rare, glimpse of something we would rather not see while swimming.
For a less random view of a marine environment, the Tropical Reef Camera of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s tropical reef exhibit with more than 1,000 animals and is modeled after coastal Palau.
And finally, a live stream from Homosassa Springs in Florida, because manatees are great, especially when they get some romaine lettuce as a treat.
Here’s a choice for a soothing background during dinnertime. One spot is Hawai’i’s Humpback Whale Sanctuary at Maui Sands. This camera also has sound, so in addition to stunning views there are the beautiful sounds of waves on the shore.
For a different view of a sunset, Catalina West End Overlook offers a serene and live view of the Pacific.
After Eight – Hunting for the Northern Lights
It isn’t the best time of year to find the Northern Lights because the days are getting longer. But with some lovely live views of the northern sky, who cares? And the lights may still make an appearance.
This live cam from Fairbanks, Alaska gives a lovely snowy scene and a view of the northern sky complete with the sound of the north.
There is also a live cam view of Mount Esja north of Reykjavik, Iceland. The famous Sun Voyager sculpture is also visible at the lower right.
Once again, we hope these virtual opportunities offer a distraction from difficult times and an opportunity to learn, dream, and travel safely during these times.