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Bioluminescent Kayaking in Florida

Those who have a fondness for the kayaking sport should not miss the spectacle at the Indian River Lagoon in Florida for a spectacular bioluminescent show which is a one-of-a-kind experience for kayakers. In this natural phenomenon, the Indian River Lagoon becomes full of luminous organisms, during the summer and early fall months from June to September. If you visit the National Wildlife Refuge in Meritt Island and go kayaking in the India River Lagoon, you will get the chance to see luminous organisms in the lagoon.

Bioluminescence happens when chemical reactions happen within the bodies of tiny living organisms which makes them emit light. The night to choose to witness bioluminescence is when the night is at its darkest. You will witness stunning aquatic light shows when the night is really dark. 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. Every time you stroke your paddle, it creates st6reaks and puffs of blue green neon light under the surface and sends glittery droplets into the dark night sky.

Perhaps you want to know what kinds of creatures produce these lights. Most of the light comes from dinoflagellates. These sea creatures are one-celled creatures which emit light. The Indian River Lagoon is full of these creatures from early June through early October. These are like fireflies creating cold light within themselves. Tiny fish, water droplets, sea grass, and kayakers hands are illuminated when dipped beneath the surface of the water. People are awed looking at this marvelous sight. It is something you cannot describe with words. Only those who have experienced this will know what it is really like.

From mid-October through May, you will experience another bioluminescent show in the Indian River Lagoon. This time, it is the gelatinous comb jellies and not the dinoflagellates that are the stars of the show. People think that comb jellies are jellyfish, but they are not. These colored lights produced by comb jellies are either a result of bioluminescence or light refraction. These jellies emit blue-green light when they are disturbed through bioluminescence and when their cilia is in motion, the light is refracted by this movement. Cilia are like paddles that help the comb jelly to move, and when cilia moves, light is scattered. What this movement creates is a pulsing, rainbow-like pattern. Both light shows exhibited by the dinoflagellates and comb jellies are the same kind of light show. But you will have distinct experiences so you should make sure to experience both.

Bioluminescent kayaking is best experienced when the moon is not clearly visible of the darkest night of the month. In order to know when the best night to go, you can use a lunar calendar which shows when the new moon comes.

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