Bio-Bay Day

Isabel Segunda Travel Blog

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View of the Casa's from the beach at Martineau Bay

This was our bio-bay day.  I had reserved a tour of the world’s premiere bio-luminescent bay some time ago and hoped to gain valuable details by engaging the resort’s concierge before our departure.  Unfortunately, our concierge knew zippo (she had never been on the tour) and beyond assuring me repeatedly that there would be towels provided, was worthless.  Worse yet, I had learned from the gift shop attendant that it was a kayak tour (not disclosed in the resort’s literature), requiring a water-proof camera if we wanted pictures, and the gift shop was out.  So…I inquired of the concierge if the van driver could stop somewhere in Isabela (one of the two main towns on Vieques) so we could score necessary photo equipment.

Cool view towards the beach (I loved how the beach umbrella was framed by the criss-crossing palms)


She initially told me it was unlikely, but subsequently reported that she had spoken with the driver and he would stop to accord my request - cool!  Of course the van driver screamed into the resort parking lot and after loading us up (our party or three + one other couple) in his trashy van that had garbage everywhere and multiple six-packs crushed beneath the seats, started towards the bay on the opposite side of the island.  I spoke up and asked if he was going to stop to acquire the underwater photo camera and he mumbled that none were available.  I countered that I would accept any disposable camera (hells bells…if it gets trashed, who cares?), but he replied that nobody had any cameras --- yeah, right, there goes your tip.

An orchid grafted onto a palm tree.


At this point we are all thinking this is a total rip-off, especially after we tool a half mile down a rutted muddy lane to a point of water where a Hispanic dude is sitting with four kayaks.  But Eddie would swing us around completely.  A native Puerto Rican who spent half his life in New York City, Eddie got us all in the water quickly (without any instruction…which appalled me as an avid kayaker --- it doesn’t take long to grasp kayaking essentials, but you do need some instruction in the basics!).


But it was all good.  I had to ask my daughter to pull up her paddle and kayaked solo to steer us toward the lake’s center, but we soon gained Eddie’s buoy (it seems all the tours have their own buoys to tie off --- it is very cool that the tours are limited to kayaks as gasoline exhaust kills dinoflagellates).

Pathway to our casa at Martineau Bay
  I was amused how slowly the other couple on our tour progressed: without proper instruction they were criss-crossing back and forth at an abysmal rate.  Guess I should note that our daughter wanted to ride with me and Kim got to ride with Eddie since our group totaled an odd number.


Once we gained the buoy, Eddie tied us all off and provided an informative discourse of how the dinoflagellates emit light to scare away predators, how their conservation has been much enhanced by eliminating gas engines form the bay and asking people to only use ‘natural’ bug repellant (both are harmful to dinoflagellates).  For us humans about to jump off kayaks into the bay, Eddie assured us that the only danger was a ‘mild’ jellyfish which had stung him about five times in the past two years.


We are incredulous.  Although Eddie accurately described the jellyfish intrusion as similar to a bee sting that goes away after fifteen minutes, Kim got nailed three times, myself once, another tour member once and even Eddie declared he had been nabbed again.  It was decidedly unpleasant, but not deadly, and despite feeling the after-effects for about an hour, Kim and I felt we had truly experienced the bay, lol.  We were also exultant that Spencer hadn’t been nailed, which likely would have ruined her whole experience.


But I have omitted the magic.  There is nothing to compare with what happens as night falls over Mosquito Bay on Vieques.  The light which theses creatures emit is just totally the experience of your life!  You wave your hands and feel like a superhero as it appears you are hurling lightning bolts!  And if you should grasp a handful of water and douse it upon yourself, it is like beads of sunlight in the dark.  I think the best way to relate this experience is to say that I felt like Tinkerbell spreading fairy dust!!!


The best part was the return.  It was pitch dark as we crawled back upon our kayaks to paddle back and prime time for the show.  Every time you dipped you paddle into the water there was an explosion of light, and more spectacular was how the bow of your kayak, just by breaching water, generated light.  As your bow shoots sparks it scares fish ahead of you and they scoot away, appearing like long, glowing eels since the fishes movement also throws off light (they ultimately head to the depths and stop moving).  It felt like we were guiding an eerie, glowing UFO back to the shore, rather than paddling at night!


Truth be told, I am sure that it requires a serious effort to take quality pictures of this phenomena, so we weren’t filled with regret at being without a camera.  But I can only recommend taking this trip to experience one of mother nature’s truly enthralling miracles.  Check out to learn more.
missandrea81 says:
Wow, I'm sorry about your shitty ride there and the jelly fish but I can only say I have to agree with you on the amazing thing that is the bio bay at night! I've never seen anything like it! We weren't allowed to go in the water but reading your story I'm glad I didn't. lol
Posted on: May 26, 2008
jenn79 says:
That's so funny, my best friend just returned from this exact experience. Both your experiences sound so phenomenal that I want to go myself!!
Posted on: Jan 04, 2008
genetravelling says:
this sounds wicked! that's so cool.
in australia it's very common to wear a 'rash shirt' when swimming or shallow diving. this is a skin tight lycra shirt that both protects from the sun and stingers. it means you can have your back to the sun all day diving no worries and is very important against skin cancer....the protection against stinger and the like is an added bonus.
Posted on: Jun 21, 2007
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View of the Casas from the beach …
View of the Casa's from the beach…
Cool view towards the beach (I lov…
Cool view towards the beach (I lo…
An orchid grafted onto a palm tree.
An orchid grafted onto a palm tree.
Pathway to our casa at Martineau B…
Pathway to our casa at Martineau …
Isabel Segunda
photo by: vances