dashing delights · Travel

The Beauty of Bioluminescence

Dashing Delights are a key component of Dashin’ around the world. These are the places that take your breath away, the sights that challenge your perspective of the world, and the memories that your mind drifts off to each time you daydream. The most delightful things out there are the reason I leave my house every day. They’re the motivation to open the door and step over the threshold.

On that note, I make it a regular practice to ask the people I meet, “What is the most amazing thing you’ve ever experienced in your life?” The memories that are shared always tell you more about a person than most small talk can, and if gives people a twinkle in their eye as they relive something they loved. After finding yet another thing to add to my bucket list, then the question is usually turned around and I have to answer. And so far in my adventures, experiencing bioluminescence in the Indian River has been my go to response.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, bioluminescence is the light emitted from certain organisms. The bio that I saw was caused by dinoflagellates, which are one cell organisms that live in the Indian River in Florida, (and other places around the globe) and when they are disturbed they glow.

On the night that I first saw bioluminescence Boyfriend and I climbed into our kayak just as the sun was setting. The dinoflagellates follow a circadian rhythm, which means that they only glow once the sun sets, and the do not light up during the day. So as we were paddling out to the river we kept looking at the water, and we were barely seeing anything. As minutes passed by, our anticipation built. We kept asking, “Is that it? Can you see that?” But eventually, as it got darker, it became, “Did you see that?! I can’t believe this exists!”

Every stroke of our paddle lit up, anything that swam in the river shined brightly. I am filled with happiness as I remember gently trailing my fingers in the water, it looked like I was leaking glitter. The blue glow of the dinoflagellates has become my most fond memory.

For me, this was one of those experiences that slowed time down. Seconds felt like minutes because each one was spent examining the life of the tiniest creatures I’ve ever seen. Every single dino that I saw became a part of my life. Watching them glow and then dim, and drip down my wrist and back into the river was as exciting as watching a bustling city from fifty floors above. But the city is located on an alien planet. Prior to hearing about this experience, the only thing I had ever heard about in nature that glows were fireflies. Which are beautiful, but very different from my bio experience.

I’ve always been in love with things that glow. Fireflies, stars, and even the sparks of a cigarette thrown on the road during a dark night all cause me to feel this extreme peace. Dinoflagellates are right up that alley. Dark blue stars, but instead of only touching them in your dreams, these stars can be held in the palm of your hand. But the best part is that until you reach for them they’ll never glow. So reach for the stars in your life. You just might find something to light up your way. 

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