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Bioluminescent Kayaking in Florida

Those who have a fondness for the kayaking sport should not miss the spectacle at the Indian River Lagoon in Florida for a spectacular bioluminescent show which is a one-of-a-kind experience for kayakers. In this natural phenomenon, the Indian River Lagoon becomes full of luminous organisms, during the summer and early fall months from June to September. If you travel to this National Wildlife Refuge in Meritt Island, you will find the lagoon full of luminous organisms.

Bioluminescence happens when chemical reactions happen within the bodies of tiny living organisms which makes them emit light. When the night skies are completely dark, this is the best time to experience bioluminescence. In the darkness of the night, the lagoon will light up with stunning aquatic light shows. You can also witness this bioluminescence as you paddle your way around. 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.

You might be wondering where all these lights come from. Most of the light comes from dinoflagellates. These are one-celled, light-emitting organisms in the water. 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. Tiny fish, water droplets, sea grass, and kayakers hands are illuminated when dipped beneath the surface of the water. This spectacle strikes awe in the hearts of men. It is something you cannot describe with words. It is something that you have to experience.

From mid-October through May, you will experience another bioluminescent show in the Indian River Lagoon. In this light show, it is the gelatinous comb jellies that give off light and not the dinoflagellates. You might think that comb jellies are jelly fish but they are a totally different kind of sea creature. Bioluminescence or light refraction are the ways that these comb jellies give out colored lights. These jellies emit blue-green light when they are disturbed through bioluminescence and when their cilia is in motion, the light is refracted by this movement. Cilia combs function as paddles for movement and while they move, they also scatter light. What this movement creates is a pulsing, rainbow-like pattern. You will have a similar kind of light show exhibited by both dinoflagellates and comb jellies. The light shows may be the same, but the experience is distinct.

Bioluminescent kayaking is best experienced when the moon is not clearly visible of the darkest night of the month. On a lunar calendar you can see when the new moon is, which is the darkest night of the month.

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