Friday, March 27, 2015

Bioluminescent Bay - Fajardo, Puerto Rico

The most incredible thing I experienced in Puerto Rico was the Bioluminescent Bay. Before I start explaining what it is, let me clarify that I didn't click any pictures while I was there. We went kayaking in the bay, at night. I had never kayaked before so I didn't want to risk taking my camera with me in case I fell off the kayak. Unfortunately, I didn't have those plastic cases to carry my camera in. Next time I go on a tropical vacation, I'll have to figure out a way to waterproof my camera. I really really wish I had my camera that night but we were soaked by the time we got back home. I'm just going to borrow some pictures off of google images to explain what I experienced. 

There are two main areas to see the bioluminescence in Puerto Rico. We visited both places (Vieques and Fajardo). We were in Vieques for a day but didn't stay the night to see the Bio Bay there. However, we did the kayaking tour in Fajardo.

This is the kind of place you can expect to go kayaking in Fajardo. Imagine kayaking through this canal covered with mangrove trees, except you can't see anything. It is pitch black. All you see is a tiny glow stick on the kayak ahead of you and that's all you have to follow. You'll probably end up hitting other kayaks and get stuck in the large roots of the trees. Trust me when I say, you will not be able to see anything. Some people get lost in the dark. Ankit and I got lost in the beginning because we started following another tour group that was on its way back to shore. It was pretty crazy. 

Check the lunar calendar before booking the tour because you want to make sure you go on a no-moon night; the darker the better. Moonlight is usually too bright for the first 6 days prior to a full moon. Normally, the darker sky, the more desirable watching conditions are. The intense neon illumination happens to be more noticeable with least light pollution. Also, book well in advance because it's really hard to get a tour. It's always always over-booked. 

Here is another picture to give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into. Sometimes your kayak will get stuck in a shallow area. Luckily, we didn't get stuck. We did row into the roots of the trees. That was pretty spooky. You see those branches hanging from the trees? Those look like snakes at night. When you're rowing, you end up getting seaweed thrown at you and it feels like worms. I wouldn't be stressing about snakes if a woman hadn't told me that she saw a boa on one of the branches. She even said that she saw a barracuda. Just that thought freaked me out but we didn't encounter anything creepy. And about the barracudas, our tour guide was swimming in the bay. I highly doubt he would've done that if there were dangerous creatures in the water.

Here is what the water looks like when disturbed. "The water luminescence is triggered by dinoflagellates, oceanic plankton which is able to generate an emerald green and ultramarine illumination when water is physically disturbed. Dinoflagellates are incredibly delicate microorganisms and are very sensible to the environment conditions such as balance of salt in the water, local climate, deepness of lagoon, air and water pollution, etc. Each one of these the aspects make bio bay a one of a kind, vulnerable ecosystem. Unique light is an ordinary chemical response forced by tiny creatures which typically respond by giving off the light collected in the daytime. As a result, the best possible view of bio-luminescence comes after a sunny day."

Whoever this person is, thank you for your picture. I can't seem to find the link to where this picture is from. It shows exactly how the water glows. It really is amazing. You must experience it yourself. If you can't swim, don't worry. You'll be just fine. If you've never kayaked before (like me), don't worry. You'll come out feeling like a pro by the end of the tour. If you have a waterproof camera, by all means, bring it with you! When you see glow in the dark fish swimming in the bay, you'll wish you could have clicked a picture for memory. 

If you've never kayaked before, you'll learn if you and your partner make a good team. Ankit and I rocked. Kayaking in the dark could be a team building exercise. Bio Bay should be in your bucket list. 

I don't remember which tour group we used but if you google Bio Bay tours, there are a bunch that will pop up. You just need to remember to book in advance.

I hope you'll make it a point to visit one of the few bio bays in the world at some point in your life.

Live it up!


  1. Thanks for giving that type information.That information is so helpful to us.Will be visit again on your website.
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  3. Look at the pictures of this beautiful bay, how great they look. Should we also plan for trip at this nice place.
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