With the first signs of spring emerging on the West Coast, another rare and beautiful natural phenomenon has graced the coastline: bioluminescence. In case you don’t remember much from biology class, that refers to the light emitted by organisms (think fireflies).
A thick, red tide has been looming offshore Southern California for the last few weeks, Orange County Register reports. And while not all red tides produce bioluminescence, they’re usually a good indication a light show could occur. In the daytime, bioluminescent plankton (called dinoflagellates) make their way to the surface of the water, attracted to the light, where they form a thin layer. The undulating tides trigger the plankton to glow a neon blue that’s visible at nighttime; the more sun they get, the stronger the light.
Late at night on April 22 (Earth Day), Patrick Coyne, owner of Newport Coastal Adventure, and his friend Ryan Lawler set out on an inflatable boat to investigate the rare sight, reports the OCR. They’d hoped to catch a glimpse of some sea life amid the bioluminescence, and what they witnessed was something far more extraordinary than anybody could have imagined: dolphins darting through the glowing water.
“I was like, this can’t be happening,” Coyne told the the OCR. “This is so magical. After the two dolphins were playing with us, a few more joined in.”
We can’t think of a more fitting day than Earth Day for the planet to truly showcase its magic with this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
h/t OC Register.
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