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.