Vieques...The Bioluminiscent Bay
Vieques Travel Blog› entry 2 of 7 › view all entries
Woke up early morning today, our plan is to go visit the Old San Juan area and then get ready for the afternoon flight from San Juan to Vieques, unfortunately we were travelling with kids that we just decided to stay once again in our hotel. Anyways, you can reach Vieques by car but it might take you 2 hours to reach the area and 3 hours or more if you get lost while the charter plane takes about half an hour. (Puerto Rico is not a commuter friendly area, you might get lost here easily, either the spanish sign turns into English or the other way around).
Arriving Vieques, we took a taxi going to out hotel, the price for the taxi costs about 3 dollars a person. The area is pretty warm and humid, people are friendly and speaks a little bit of english.
As the night approached, we decided to take the second tour of the Biolumiscent bay. Unfortunately, we were oriented that no pictures were allowed during the tour of the area so I won't be able to show any pictures, and we would be using the kayak to tour the place. They cannot use any motor boat because oil spill could kill the natural flora of the bay, no tour is allowed during the full moon.
As the tour starts, our guide has only a luminiscent light around his neck. It is so dark that we would be only be seeing this shining light. Our goal is to follow him through our kayak. We stopped in the middle of the ocean, he told us to jump.
As the guide has explained, the luminescence is caused by micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue. A combination of factors create the necessary conditions for bioluminescence: red mangrove trees surround the water (the organisms feed off the dead leaves), a complete lack of modern development around the bay, the water is cool enough and deep enough, and a small channel to the ocean keeps the dinoflagellates in the bay. This small channel is the result of Spanish ships's attempts to choke off the bay from the ocean's waters. The Spanish believed that the bioluminescence they first encountered was the work of the Devil 'El Diablo' and tried to block the ocean's waters from entering the bay by dropping huge boulders in the channel. The Spanish only succeeded in preserving and increasing the luminescence.
It was a great experience afterall, and i definitely recommend this area to be one of your check list when you visit Puerto Rico!