Maybe it’s the fact we’re currently covered in a blanket of ice and snow, but we’ve been planning a number of hypothetical beach trips recently, and we came across Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico and immediately needed to know more about this natural phenomenon! Let’s get started.
(image via: jen on a jet plane)
So what IS a bioluminescent bay?
While these ecosystems are rare, they occur when microscopic, single-celled organisms known as dinoflagellates grow in large enough quantities that a glow-in-the-dark effect occurs when movement happens. So when you’re splashing around in the water, or even paddling while kayaking, these organisms light up making the water appear almost like a night sky.
Now, these dinoflagellates are found all over, but for them to react like this there has to be a TON of them. There are only five ecosystems in the entire world that have enough of these organisms to give us bioluminescent bays, and Puerto Rico is home to three of them!
While you have the option of visiting Laguna Grande, La Parguera, or Mosquito Bay, today we’re talking about the brightest one of them all, Mosquito Bay located in Vieques.
(image via: numero uno beach house)
Quick Facts About Mosquito Bay
In 2006 Mosquito Bay was recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as being the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. What’s really cool about this area is that there is very little light surrounding it, so visitors really get the opportunity to see these organisms glow.
Scientists started noticing some trends when it came to the brightness of the water back in the early-2000s, they found that the number of swimmers was having an effect on how bright the waters glowed, long story short, you can no longer swim in Mosquito Bay, but you can kayak it and admire it from atop the waters!
With a name like Mosquito Bay, we have to admit that we had our reservations, but as it turns out, it’s actually named Mosquito Bay after a pirate and not a pesky pest.
While we totally agree that these waters are worthy of an Instagram post, snapping photos of this wonder is harder than you think, though not impossible. You’ll need equipment that thrives in a low-light setting and is also waterproof, ‘cause, you know.
If you’re planning your trip super ahead of time, we recommend catching the bay when there is little to no moonlight because of obvious reasons. You’ll still be able to see the bay aglow, it’s the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, remember? But it’s even more so without the extra moonlight.
(image via: gypsy nester)