The Bio Bay. It’s the reason we travelled to Vieques and Puerto Rico in the first place, and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. It was magically incredible; hard to describe in words and almost impossible to photograph in pictures.
So what is it?
The scientific answer is that Mosquito Bay, the brightest Bioluminescent Bay in the world, contains millions of single-celled bioluminescent dinoflagellates in every gallon of water. These organisms emit a flash of white light when agitated at night.
The result is a sea of flashing white diamonds, like a pool full of miniscule lightning bugs. Or as my mother described it, it was like being in a snow globe shaken up with stars twinkling above us and little white organisms twinkling below us as we canoed out to the middle of the bay. Whenever we rowed with our oars, a crest of white moved with us. I was thankful that I’d done my research well and booked us on the clear-bottom canoes, rather than the kayaks or electric pontoon boat. Having a clear bottom let you see all the streaks of light beneath you as you glided across the warm, black waters.
Then, in the middle of the bay, our guide tied us all together and talked about the breathtaking constellations above us as well as the wonder of nature beneath us. I played with the water the whole time he spoke. I was not going to let this once-in-a-lifetime experience pass too quickly.
The tiny dinoflagellates lit up like sparklers in the water with every move of my hand. It reminded me of the Walt Disney commercials on TV when Mickey Mouse swirls his magic wand and all those mystical lights swirl with it. The water was like that. I put my arms and hands in over and over and swirled the water, lifting a scoopful out of the bay and watching the tiny lights of white rise with me and then dissipate into nothing.
We weren’t supposed to bring cameras, but I brought my iphone with me anyway — just in case. They asked us not to use any flash, so it didn’t look like my pictures would turn out. But I did capture one less-than-spectacular shot through the bottom of the canoe. No picture could ever do it justice anyway.
No words can do it justice, either. But to me, my husband’s statement after we got back to shore summed it up: “This was the best tour you’ve ever booked us on.”
I book us on a LOT of tours. So I think that says it all.
If we ever go back to Vieques, this is the one thing I’ll do, over and over again, any chance I get.
Have you heard of, or been to, a Bio Bay?