luminescent algae

Kayaking in the bioluminescent glow at night is a truly unforgettable experience. Every paddle stroke and the swirling of your hand will glow in the darkness like an under-water laser-light show. 

Over the years, bioluminescent kayak trips have become widely popular along Florida’s Space Coast. Thousands of adventurers come here to witness one of the most stunning natural phenomena created by the glowing algae during the darkest of nights. 

Billions of plankton – dinoflagellates – in the water of the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon emit a blue-green-white glow underwater during the summer. 

Every time something disturbs the algae – the paddling strokes, schools of mullet, or even your arms – a mini explosion of color goes off in the water. 

bioluminescent

Where is Florida’s Bioluminescent Bay?


One of the best places to see bioluminescence near Orlando is Brevard County, Florida. Popularly known as the Space Coast, this county is home to the Indian River Lagoon, Cocoa Beach, and Merritt Island. 

These three water bodies are full of glowing algae aka dinoflagellates because of their high salt content. 

During the summer, the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and Indian River come alive after sunset thanks to dinoflagellates in the water. 

A stingray or manatee moves much slower beneath, giving a ghostly glow to the radiant water. The mullet fish go speeding to a destination only they know about, creating the appearance of hundreds of green bottle rockets going off underneath you. 

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How Can I Best Experience Florida’s Bioluminescent Bay?


Florida Adventurer offers unique and exciting kayak tours operating year-round but if you are seeking a night-time adventure, you shouldn’t miss the bioluminescent tour. 

Spend an evening paddling through the Banana River or Indian River and be amazed as glowing, electric blue, and green plankton light up the water beneath you. 

To witness the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence during your kayaking tour at night, you can join us along the shores of Cocoa Beach. Once the sun goes down, you will uncover the area in the dark and experience sounds and sights impossible to find anywhere else. 

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Glowing Algae in Florida | What Makes it Glow?


Even the tiniest of movements can cause the microscopic dinoflagellates to emit light. Not much is known about these tiny sea creatures which are why dozens of marine scientists and biologists come here to study them every year. 

The beautiful appearance of dinoflagellates actually serves a practical purpose: the flashing light (which lasts about a microsecond) is a part of their survival mechanism. It allows the algae to scare its predators away. In fact, the flash also attracts larger predators to the area, causing the dinoflagellates’ own predators to bolt. 

Thanks to the bioluminescence created by the glowing algae, dolphins look like torpedoes, fish leave trails, and manatees appear to be little graceful submarines.

 

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When Can I Best See the Glowing Algae?


The upcoming season – summer – is the best time to enjoy the bioluminescence since dinoflagellates sparkle in the warmer months only. In the colder months, comb jellies replace the dinoflagellates but the result is the same. 

The best time to go is at the darkest hours of the night, i.e. at least 5 days after or before a new moon.

The absolute darkness is the best time to experience the starry seas below and the starry skies above. Before booking your tour, we recommend checking out a lunar calendar or moon phases online to make sure the night will be darkest during your visit. 

Kayaking at night is an adventure on its own but kayaking at night in the glittering waters sounds much better, doesn’t it? Book a Florida Bioluminescence Kayaking Tour with Florida-Adventurer in Merritt Island, FL (321) 735-9400.