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Kayaking in Bioluminescent Waters

If you are someone fond of kayaking, one of the greatest adventures you can have is to go kayaking in the bioluminescent waters of Florida, on the Indian River Lagoon. In this natural phenomenon, the Indian River Lagoon becomes full of luminous organisms, during the summer and early fall months from June to September. Kayakers should not miss this experience of witnessing a lagoon full of luminous organisms in the National Wildlife Refuge in Meritt Island on the Indian River Lagoon.

When chemical reaction happens within the bodies of tiny living organisms, light is emitted and this is called bioluminescence. The night to choose to witness bioluminescence is when the night is at its darkest. In the darkness of the night, the lagoon will light up with stunning aquatic light shows. And even while you are paddling around, you will experience bioluminescence. You are like a painter painting on a water canvas with your paddle as your paintbrush. Every time you stroke your paddle, it creates st6reaks and puffs of blue green neon light under the surface and sends glittery droplets into the dark night sky.

Perhaps you want to know what kinds of creatures produce these lights. The creatures that make these lights are called dinoflagellates. They live in the water and they are light-emitting one-celled creatures. From early June through early October, these creatures swim in the Indian River Lagoon. When they create cold light within themselves, these creatures resemble fireflies. The things in the water get illuminated by these creatures like tiny fish, water droplets, sea grass, and when you put your hand beneath the water, it gets illuminated too. People are awed looking at this marvelous sight. It is difficult to imagine this by just describing it with words. Only those who have experienced this will know what it is really like.

From mid-October through May, you will experience another bioluminescent show in the Indian River Lagoon. The light show this time does not come from the dinoflagellates but from the gelatinous comb jellies. People think that comb jellies are jellyfish, but they are not. 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. Cilia combs function as paddles for movement and while they move, they also 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. However, what you experience is not the same, it is distinct even though the light shows are similar.

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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