Illuminations: The Bioluminescent Bay
In the daytime the area and water at the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico looks like a normal tropical island. There is a bright blue sky, warm tropical weather, and clear blue water. Then the nighttime comes and the water glows, giving off a bluish/green illuminating light.
In reality this aurora light is created by 720,000 single-celled bioluminescent dinoflagellates per gallon of water (BioBay.com). Dinoflagellates are single-celled protists that have a multitude of functions, from manufacturing their own food to producing their own light, which is what is happening at the BioBay. This same reaction happens in fireflies to make them glow (Berkley.edu). Many of the dinoflagellates are photosynthetic, meaning that they use photosynthesis, the process of using energy from sunlight to produce sugar (food) for the organism.
When disturbed at night the unicellular organisms in the bay they produce light (a chemical reaction). According to BioBay.com since they produce a high concentration it creates enough light to read a book. As you can tell by the pictures many tourist have experience this amazing natural wonder. Below is a video from the National Geographic Youtube channel documenting the hunt for a giant squid but it also educates views on bioluminescence.
To book a tour you can contact them by phone and/or email which is on their site, BioBay.com. They do ask visitors to check out their Moonwatch Calendar that tells visitors when it is a good time to take tours. By the dates on the calendar it seems like they do not give tours when the moon is full because in order to get the full affect of the BioBay, it needs to be completely dark or close to it.
One I plan on visiting there, it looks like it’s a worthwhile trip. So first check out the video and watch how this wonder works. Also, if you have been to the Biobay feel free to comment below on your experience. If not, still comment below!