Bioluminescence

August 07, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Bioluminescence is present for a couple of months a year when certain variables align: water temperature, air temperature, winds, currents and tides. For Tomales Bay, this occurs in the summer and fall. I was lucky enough to schedule my kayaking trip with Point Reyes Outdoors during just the right conditions – and it made for an unforgettable experience!

Basically, bioluminescence is light produced by a chemical reaction in living things. The chemical reaction releases energy as light. The organisms in Tomales Bay are called dinoflagellates, single celled protists. Every movement in the calm, dark water caused the chemical reaction and the water to light up like the image above. 

Unfortunately, it was too difficult to capture my bioluminescence experience on camera, but above is a picture taken from sitting in my kayak waiting for the adventure to begin! Since you can only see the organisms light up in the dark our kayak trip had to begin in the evening. (You wouldn’t know it from the picture, but it was a gorgeous sunny day before the fog ate it all up around 5pm).


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