Bioluminescent Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Glow in the dark water? Is this for real?? If you travel to Vieques, Puerto Rico, the answer is a resounding yes! yes! yes! Thanks to the fortuitous trio of luminescent waters called La Parguera, Mosquito Bay and Fajardo, the undoubtedly surreal experience of wading in up to 160,000 microscopic dinoflagellates per liter can be yours. Say what? That’s right – just as Pandora’s diverse microcosm of otherworldly species were able to thrive in an unspoiled world, so too have Puerto Rico’s most miniscule residents for hundreds of years.
This visual marvel was first witnessed by Spanish colonists in the early 1500s and they were so troubled by the sight – mistakenly attributing it to “El Diablo” or the Devil – which they purposely segregated the “tainted” water from the rest of the ocean by installing a massive man-made border constructed out of boulders. While this great effort put their minds at ease, they inadvertently helped the microscopic organisms – called “swirling fire” or Pyrodinium bahamense) to enjoy what would ultimately end up being the perfect conditions to procreate. With no ocean waves to wash them away and decomposing mangrove leaves providing them with a perpetually replenishing food source, the “dinos” have long enjoyed a microcosm in which they are shielded and nurtured, all at once.
Want to get there? Check out tours from BioBay!