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Kayaking in Bioluminescent Waters

Those who have a fondness for the kayaking sport should not miss the spectacle at the Indian River Lagoon in Florida for a spectacular bioluminescent show which is a one-of-a-kind experience for kayakers. In this natural phenomenon, the Indian River Lagoon becomes full of luminous organisms, during the summer and early fall months from June to September. If you travel to this National Wildlife Refuge in Meritt Island, you will find the lagoon full of luminous organisms.

Bioluminescence happens when chemical reactions happen within the bodies of tiny living organisms which makes them emit light. The night to choose to witness bioluminescence is when the night is at its darkest. In the darkest night, the aquatic light shows are really very stunning. And even while you are paddling around, you will experience bioluminescence. IMagine yourself a painter holding a paddle paintbrush and painting on the wide canvas of the lagoon. Stroking the paddle on the water creates streaks of blue green neon light and send glittery droplets up into the air.

You may not see the creatures producing these lights and you might be wondering what they are. Dinoflagellates are the sea creatures which produces these amazing lights. They live in the water and they are light-emitting one-celled creatures. The Indian River Lagoon is full of these creatures from early June through early October. When they create cold light within themselves, these creatures resemble fireflies. Tiny fish, water droplets, sea grass, and kayakers hands are illuminated when dipped beneath the surface of the water. People experiencing this phenomenon are awestruck. It is something you cannot describe with words. It is by experiencing it that you can enjoy its wonder.

Another bioluminescence show that you can experience happens from mid-October through May. In this light show, it is the gelatinous comb jellies that give off light and not the dinoflagellates. Although commonly mistaken as jellyfish, comb jellies are not jellyfish. They are called comb jellies since they have giant, comb-like rows of cilia running up and down their bodies. Bioluminescence or light refraction are the ways that these comb jellies give out colored lights. Bioluminescence is responsible for the blue green light emitted by comb jellies when disturbed and light refraction happens when the cilia moves. A comb jelly can move with the paddling movement of the cilia and this is how they scatter light. A pulsing, rainbow-like pattern is created by this movement. You will have a similar kind of light show exhibited by both dinoflagellates and comb jellies. But you will have distinct experiences so you should make sure to experience both.

You should go bioluminescent kayaking on the darkest night when the moon is not clearly visible. On a lunar calendar you can see when the new moon is, which is the darkest night of the month.

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