I've seen bioluminescence before. Last year I visited New Zealand and checked out the Waitomo Cave. It's a wonderful sight to behold. You hop into a
small boat and as the guide slowly moves you away from the artificial light of the boarding area, the cieling of the cave begins to glow. As the
darkness surrounds you, the a neon blue aura canvases the cieling as glowworms light the way for you. It's truely an amazing experience and one I
highly recommend, should you happen to find yourself in that part of the world...
But what I experienced a couple nights ago is truly worthy of being the primary reason for a trip. Puerto Mosquito, A.K.A. Bioluminescent Bay, is one
of the most amazing places I've ever been. Located on the island of Vieques (just east of Puerto Rico), it has been declared the brightest
bioluminescent bay in the world by Guinness World Records.
We elected to go with the glass bottom kayaks as opposed to the motorized boat (which I've heard makes an amazingly colorful wake). We boarded by the
light of our transport vans in a small inlet. As we paddled out away from the lights, the magic began as tiny blue flakes began to wash under the
glass. Completely mesmerized, my attention quickly shifted as a fish darted in the water. It was like watching a bright blue shooting star curve back
and forth along the water's surface. In that instant I took in how amazing this experience would be.
As we paddled on, every plunge of the oar into the water got brighter and brighter. Each stroke created a magical fiery blue explosion. I swung the
oar to splash water into the air. It rained down and lit the water with the impact from each drop. As I took a look upward, we had a clear night sky
with the Milky Way shining bright, but the new moon made for one of the best nights of the year to see the bioluminescence at its brightest.
We paddled out to the middle of the bay where we sat as our guide told us some fun things to try. "Stick your fist into the water and then quickly
open it." Poof, it was like casting a magic spell as a blue fireball emanated from my hand. "Now scoop some water in your hand and let it run down
your arm." As the water hit each little hair it made a blue flash, like a magical glowing suit of armor engulfing me from my hand to my elbow.
Honestly words cannot describe how cool it was.
As the current drifted us back towards shore, our attentions turned to the waters below. A school of blue orbs was swimming underneath us. As we
drifted further, the glow of something larger shown through. As it neared we could see the enchanting flaps from a stingray as it glided by. As we
approached the shore, we were blessed with what the guide said was probably a nurse shark as it swam around beneath our pod. She said she often sees
hammerheads in the bay as well which are particularly cool because the heads are so pronounced.
Upon getting out of the kayak, I felt truly privileged for the experience and extremely recommend it for anyone who gets the opportunity.
The only negative is that as hard as I tried to get pictures with my GoPro, I couldn't capture the glow. The vast majority of pictures on the
internet are Photoshopped, but here are a few that are the closest resemblance to the experience. Honestly though they don’t not even come close to
doing it justice.
Some info on Bioluminescent Bay