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Bioluminescent Kayaking: Experiencing Awesome Light Shows in Florida

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. During the early fall months from June through Septembers, the Indian River Lagoon experiences a natural phenomenon when the river lights up with luminous organisms. 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. Blue green neon light under the surface and glittery droplets are created when you stroke you paddle on the water.

You may not see the creatures producing these lights and you might be wondering what they are. Most of the light comes from dinoflagellates. 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 are awed looking at this marvelous sight. Words cannot describe the experience. It is by experiencing it that you can enjoy its wonder.

The Indian River Lagoon hosts another bioluminescent show during the months from mid-October through May. 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. The way they give out colors is either through bioluminescence or by light refraction. When comb jellies are disturbed, they emit blue green light through bioluminescence and when their cilia is in motion, the movement refracts light. 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. Both light shows exhibited by the dinoflagellates and comb jellies are the same kind of light show. 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. The moon is dark during the new moon which you can know through a lunar calendar; this is the best time to go bioluminescent kayaking.

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