Senior year of college I went to Puerto Rico with my roommates. One of the highlights of the trip was kayaking to the bioluminescent bay. The experience wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if we hadn’t kayaked to it.
We started in a bay and went down a river through mangrove forests at dusk. On a side note, there are four types of mangroves, red, black, white and brown. We were kayaking through red mangrove trees. On the way in we saw termite mounds several feet high. They are marvels of engineering with built in air conditioning because of how they are built and how that causes the air to flow through them. We also saw several large iguanas hanging out in the mangrove trees.
Why the Bioluminescence?
Once we got to the bioluminescent bay the tour guides in kayaks explained all about how the bioluminescence works. The organisms that cause the bioluminescence eat the B-12 the mangroves give off and reproduce by meiosis, mitosis and another way. When it was dark enough, if you swished your hand or paddle in the water a blue glow appeared where the water was disturbed. This made kayaking back awesome because whenever you paddled the disturbed water would luminesce in a sweep past the kayak.
Touring the Bay at Night
It was definitely a new experience to kayak back in the dark. The tour guides worked around the pitch black by attaching glow sticks to the front and back of the kayaks and the glow stick colors informed us which tour group to follow. Going in we were the first tour group to get to the bay, however, on the way back we had to maneuver around several other tour groups in the dark. The river surrounded by mangroves was not very wide and in the dark we didn’t know which way it turned next. Between being entertained by the bioluminescence, avoiding other kayaks and trying to figure out where the river went I had an awesome memorable experience.