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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. If you visit the National Wildlife Refuge in Meritt Island and go kayaking in the India River Lagoon, you will get the chance to see luminous organisms in the lagoon.

Bioluminescence happens when chemical reactions happen within the bodies of tiny living organisms which makes them emit light. The best time to experience this is when the night skies are really dark. In the darkness of the night, the lagoon will light up with stunning aquatic light shows. Even the simple act of paddling your kayak produces a bioluminescent effect. Your paddle will resemble a paintbrush with the water as your canvas. Stroking the paddle on the water creates streaks of blue green neon light and send glittery droplets up into the air.

Perhaps you want to know what kinds of creatures produce these lights. Dinoflagellates are the sea creatures which produces these amazing lights. These are one-celled, light-emitting organisms in the water. The Indian River Lagoon is full of these creatures from early June through early October. These are like fireflies creating cold light within themselves. These glowing lights illuminates tiny fish, water droplets, sea grass, and the hands of kayakers when dipped beneath the surface. People experiencing this phenomenon are awestruck. It is difficult to imagine this by just describing it with words. It is by experiencing it that you can enjoy its wonder.

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. 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. 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 are like paddles that help the comb jelly to move, and when cilia moves, light is scattered. This creates a pulsing, rainbow-like pattern. You will have a similar kind of light show exhibited by both dinoflagellates and comb jellies. But you will have distinct experiences so you should make sure to experience both.

What the moon is not clearly visible, the skies are very dark and this is the best time to go bioluminescent kayaking. On a lunar calendar you can see when the new moon is, which is the darkest night of the month.

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