Monday, August 4, 2008

Things are glowing in our canal

Bioluminesence...heard of it? About two years ago, it was formally discovered that our little island had one of the very few of bioluminescent bays in the world. In fact, some say that there are only 5 known to exist. With some friends in town a year ago, Mr. Big ventured off for a sunset kayak through the bay, coming home with wide eyes and animated stories of glowing water.

A few months ago, he started suspecting that we had bioluminesence in the canal behind our house. I wasn't so certain...we were just seeing little twinkles of light and it looked like stars reflecting on the water. And given his excitement previously, perhaps it was wishful thinking.

Fast forward to Saturday night. After a nice dinner out with friends we strolled on the deck to enjoy the evening breezes. Mr. Big was pointing out the twinkles again. Suddenly fish movements started to glow. WOW! We stuck a palm frond in the water only to see it light up with an unbelievable blue glow. I haven't been able to stop researching and talking about it since. And yes, I fully apologized to Mr. Big about questioning his assessment. :)

Apparently Puerto Rico has two of the bays so their websites have good information on them (as well as the photos above):
These areas are scarcely found internationally because of the delicate ecological balance they require. The concentration of dinoflagelates causes the bioluminescence. When disturbed by sudden movements, this microorganisms emanate their own light. In moonless nights, it's impressing to see them shine like misled shooting stars that poured down into the dark waters of the bay.
This was obviously a really neat find for us and I personally can't wait to find out a little bit more. So yes, we really do have things glowing in our canal!

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