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Click photo for larger image and better view of plankton.

One of the highlights of this Spring vacation was a late night walk on the beach. My son, Tristan, my daughter, Alexa, her friend, Taylor, my little brother, Andy, and I headed out around midnight, after watching 2012.  13-year-old Tristan first mentioned the ground and waves were glowing.  I took him seriously and looked around, but I didn’t see what he was seeing.  I attributed the sparkling sand to the lights coming from hotels and condos.  The further along we walked the less light there was coming from buildings.  We all finally saw what Tristan saw.  Each time one of took a step, the ground lit up beneath our feet.

In fact, if a wave had just broken and was seeping back into the sand, a heavy footfall would light up several feet in all directions.  It looked like lightning or static electricity.  In the Gulf, the white water on the falling lip of each wave glowed green.  I knew it had to be bioluminescent plankton, but I didn’t know it was normal thing in all bodies of water.

The plankton sparked the imagination of my son and little brother.  Tristan ran shouting, “I’m teenage Buddha!” because he’s familiar with the lore of nature responding to Prince Siddhartha.  Andy compared it to the movie Avatar.

In the photo we all stirred up the water to get a shot of the plankton.  The flash on the camera muted the neon green look that we actually saw, but it’s still pretty cool.

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18 thoughts on “Bioluminescent Stuff in the Gulf

  1. I remember the first time I saw the same algae. Is this the first time you have seen this? I don’t think it happens every year and it was maybe 18 or so years ago I too first saw this.A truly stunning sight.I also think I recognize the feet of the photographer.

    • I’ve been going for a long time, and this is the first time I’ve seen it. I’ll have to ask George if he’s seen it before.

      And yes, those are my size 10s! 😀

  2. I think it was Jax beach and as we walked bare-foot it kicked up sand and looked like green sparks.I thought I was having a flashback but it was for real.

    • I’ve only been to New Smyrna and Daytona on the eastern side of Florida, and you were there both times…back in the day. 🙂

  3. I think Tom may have been there once?Might have had a white pontiac?I would love to tell you about the dream I had this very morning.(It is actually tues2:52 a.m.)and I work second shift which is a story for an espresso,maybe I will catch you on another site and do the chatty thing. 🙂

    • Tom had a pontiac, too…or gto? I’m fuzzy on the color though. I definitely remember the T-bird. That car ruled. 🙂

      • I think he had a white pontiac.I have a memory of seeing a white car near(I wish I could remember the lay-out of the neighborhood)a large metal building spinning the tires and seeing the smoke.But that could be synaptic mis-firings.

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