Isabel Segunda Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
This was our bio-bay day. I had reserved a tour of the worldâ€™s premiere bio-luminescent bay some time ago and hoped to gain valuable details by engaging the resortâ€™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 resortâ€™s literature), requiring a water-proof camera if we wanted pictures, and the gift shop was out. Soâ€¦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.
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 bellsâ€¦if it gets trashed, who cares?), but he replied that nobody had any cameras --- yeah, right, there goes your tip.
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 instructionâ€¦which appalled me as an avid kayaker --- it doesnâ€™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 lakeâ€™s center, but we soon gained Eddieâ€™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).
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 â€˜naturalâ€™ 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 â€˜mildâ€™ 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 hadnâ€™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
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 werenâ€™t filled with regret at being without a camera. But I can only recommend taking this trip to experience one of mother natureâ€™s truly enthralling miracles. Check out www.biobay.com to learn more.