This year on vacation, I was determined to do something we’ve never done before. There is a place they call Bioluminescent Bay or “Bio Bay” where you visit by boat or kayak for a “Bioluminescence Tour”. I’ve seen bioluminescence while diving at night, but always heard that if you really want to experience it, this tour is the way to go.
We finally did it and it was truly awe-inspiring.
We took a boat over to the other side of the island where we met out guide and the rest of our tour group just as the sun was setting. We got our little lights and instructions, boarded our two-man kayaks and pushed out into the water. It was at times eery, to be kayaking in the still dark waters under the light of the moon, following only the little green light of our guide. Then moments later it was equally hilarious, as the other family we were paired with was completely “wheels off” with mouths like sailors and kayaks slamming this way and that. I seriously have no idea how they made it, but they did, and it was free entertainment for the entire two-hour journey.
They kept us laughing, even while our muscles were burning from the constant rowing.
After two miles of rowing, when we finally neared Bio Bay, the magical blue glow began to appear around the edges of our paddles in the water. It felt like a scene straight out of Moana. Instead of being surrounded by only darkness and only the sound of paddles pushing through the water, we were surrounded by dancing light. The guide kept saying, “Hold on. It only gets better from here. Just wait until we get to the full darkness of the bay.”
He was right.
When we finally reached the center of the dark, quiet bay, we tied all our kayaks together for safety. In the silence, the guide explained the biology of the glowing stars in the water. Bioluminescence is described as “life emitting light”. By definition, bioluminescence is “the production and emission of light by a living organism.” It occurs naturally in the ocean and on land. It’s the very same brilliance that lights up fireflies in Texas fields, lights up billions of plankton in the ocean. Our guide invited us to lay our paddles down in the boat and pull our hands back and forth in the water. The glow was absolutely breathtaking. (I wish I could have captured it, but you can check out these pics instead, as it’s almost impossible to capture without a special lens or understanding of the light settings)
Just at that moment, there was a giant splash.
It was followed by immediate waves, hysterical screams, and all the kayaks bumping wildly together. It turns out that the dad, from our paired family, decided to belly flop right over the side of his kayak into the bay of stars. While his wife was screaming and cursing his name, one of his daughters decided to follow suit. A momentary hilarious ruckus ensued, but in almost the same breath, we were all stilled by the glow surrounding their bodies. Then, lured by the incredible light, Noah decided to join them to take a dip.
It was truly fascinating.
When you’ve been rowing for two straight miles surrounded by darkness, and the muscles in your arms are shaking with exhaustion, hold on. When the bay is pitch black, completely still and it looks like no hope of light will be found, keep going.
It only gets better from here.
It’s precisely when you reach the darkest part of your journey, you are able see the most brilliant lights. They may only be microscopic little stars, but combined, they can fill up the darkness with the glow of dancing light. Look for the light of the ruckus makers, the ones surrounded by “life emitting light”. They’re leading the way.
Pretty soon, you’ll know the way yourself.
You’ll be the one emitting light to the others wandering in the darkness of the bay in the dance of life, where we’re always taking turns.
Look for the light, then be the light.
We’ll always need each other.
to more love,
I’m looking forward to learning more about the light settings on my iPhone at our upcoming “Phonetography GNO” phone photography workshop in Frisco coming up on 8/2 so next year I might be able to capture some of those light emitting photos myself. It’s not too late to join me!