Topping my list of adventures in Puerto Rico was Fajardo’s Bioluminescent Bay. From San Juan Marriott, it was quite a drive, giving me the opportunity to see more of the area and imagine what the experience was going to be like. A bio bay is a body of water that contains millions of micro-organisms called dinoflagellates that glow in the dark for a second when agitated. I wondered if it would feel different when I put my hand in the water? Would it be thicker? Would the “glow” stick to my fingers? Would bigger fish glow too because they are in the bio bay? My imagination was running wild the entire drive. I went almost a half hour just looking out the window imagining.
I knew we’d be paddling through mangroves and that it would be at night, but I had no idea what was in store for us. We started with a short description of the experience and received our lifejackets and paddles. The sun was setting over the mountains and it was beautiful but it didn’t look any different from a normal kayaking adventure.
We made our way through sail boats and toward the mangrove trees. They made a complete archway that led to the unknown… at least for me. Kayaking through mangroves sounded mysterious, adventurous, fun. I have lots of kayaking experience but never in the night, never in a bio bay, and never through a quickly flowing current surrounded by trees. I might have been a little intimidated.
As we entered the path through the mangroves, the darkness set in. It was 30 disoriented minutes of maneuvering through the unknown yet I was at ease. Each kayak had purple glow in the dark lights attached and we followed the one in front of us. It’s amazing how well your eyes adjust in the darkness. It was beautiful darkness.
We arrived, safely, at Laguna Grande and created a side-by-side flotilla with our group so the guide could explain about the bioluminescent bay. The waters are filled with prehistoric one-celled organisms. When disturbed, they glow like fireflies. Although I saw them in the mangroves, it wasn’t until this point that I was comfortable enough to put my hands in the water.
It outlined my hand like an X-ray and when I cupped the water, I felt like Tinkerbell dropping pixie dust. It wasn’t as extreme as I expected but it was magical none-the-less. I put my hand in deeper and moved it more quickly. The faster I moved, the brighter they glowed. The stars were in both the sky and the water like being in outer-space. It was all-consuming.
On the way back, a fish swam by and it looked like an anaconda. A stream of water lit up and made me stiffen up at first. Once I realized what was happening, I watched for more fish moving through the water. Each one lit up the water like a rainbow. I wanted to stay in the mangroves and glow for hours.
It’s such an amazing adventure to experience something so unique and new. This was living and thousands and thousands of living species all around me made me feel more alive.