Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bioluminescent Water in the South Bay right now

Years ago, way before Theresa and I had kids, we'd take late night walks along the beach. One night, there just seemed to be an odd bluish glow in the crashing waves. Were we seeing things?
When we got back home, we learned there was a red tide caused by a single cell organism called Dinoflagellates. These organisms are bioluminescent, meaning when they are disturbed they emit light! We weren't seeing things! The only thing is, these red tides are unpredictable and it's been years  and years since we've seen any bioluminescence in the water here.

Earlier this year, I read there was a red tide with bioluminescence about an hours drive away near San Diego. I showed it to Theresa, but the story was from a few days before and there's never a guarantee it'll continue. Plus with all the COVID uncertainty we didn't want to take a long trip.

Then yesterday, a photographer friend on Facebook posted a photo from a nearby beach, showing that the bioluminescent water was here! In the South Bay! Awesome! We've got to go see this again, and since it's such a rare occurrence, we're keeping the kids up past their bedtime and taking them too!

This will be our outdoor walk and exercise for the day. We donned our face masks, used sanitizer on our hands, and headed out, making sure to practice social distancing with anyone else who might be walking too.

The beaches are closed, so you can't get super closer to the water, but there are sidewalks that you can still look down from to see it. Even though my friend had just gone the night before, there's no guarantee it's still happening tonight.
Walking down the steep hills to get to the beach, there was a particularly bright wave that we all just happened to notice at the same time that made us all excited. It's still happening!

The kids were awed by how bright and blue it was. And it's really something cool to see in person. You think it's a bit of camera trickery that makes these so bright blue, but there's no photoshop here, everything is all natural.

Knowing we couldn't get close, I brought my long lens and tripod. Not bad for a picture that's 500 feet away and in the dark. I do wish we could get closer.

Looking toward the pier. It's awesome seeing the blue water lighting up as the waves crashed.

A few more photos of the waves.


Like I said, the beaches are closed, but people are still going down on the sand to get a closer look. You'd see a whole lot of phone screens dotting the sand, but off in the distance you'd see a pair of headlights. As the headlights got closer, those phone screens would turn off and you'd see people hustling back from the water and off the sand, before the headlights got there.


Awesome! I'm really glad we were able to see this again.

Ready to go kids? Ian wanted one more picture of just them, but with a big one in the background. I told them to smile. Are they smiling? I can't tell.

The kids enjoyed seeing it, and on the ride home, Theresa read them the science article about why it was glowing. They didn't last for too long on the car ride though. It's past their bedtime and both were falling asleep in the car.

And these aren't my videos, but some other people have seen some pretty amazing things. Like when the dolphins are swimming though it, it lights them up!

And my photographer friend Brian Hawkins got a really amazing shot.

1 comment:

  1. Had only heard about those tides but never saw any...what a wonderful phenomenon to witness again, and this time with the kids. Some great shots of that "fluorescent blue" color (and enjoyed Brian's photo, too)...truly a sight. Those swimming dolphins remind me of "ghost dolphins", like something from the Twilight Zone! Thanks for sharing this colorful phenomenon. EOM

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