Magical Glowing Surf

I am captivated by the magical glowing tide that has been seen in California and other places in the world. Apparently the blue glow is caused by algae blooms commonly referred to as a “red tide.” The organism, a phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum turns the water a brownish-red color in the daytime, but a beautiful glowing blue at night.

I think it looks like something from a fairy tale or the movie Avatar.

If this magical surf was near me, I would go to the beach all night, every night, to enjoy it. But I must be content at observe it through pictures and videos. Here is a video of the beautiful glowing blue surf in 2011 at San Diego, California:


Categories: Nature, Strange Phenomenon | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Magical Glowing Surf

  1. I should probably pass on what my friend, who lives near the ocean, told me. She said that the red tide is very dangerous. Where she lives they have patrol cars blocking the road a very good distance from the beach during a red tide. The smell is horrendous and those with any breathing disorders (such as asthma) won’t be able to breath. One poor man lost his leg as he waded in the water and the toxin (which they don’t have an antitoxin for) got in a cut. Also dead marine life all over the sand – really quite horrible. Many fish and eat the oysters from this area and were poisoned. She said, “So please don’t go and watch the nice glow – it is a deadly one.”

    I guess this is a reminder that many things can appear very beautiful, but be quite dangerous.

  2. My wife and I went on a kayak trip through a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico on our honeymoon. It was magical being out there at night and putting your hand in the water. When the organisms were disturbed, they glowed. There was no health hazard, in this case, and all perfectly natural. This was totally different than the “red tide” organisms that cause so many problems in the US.

  3. Oh, how fortunate you were to be able to be part of such a magical scene, craftymadre–and on your honeymoon no less!

    When I shared these pictures, I was envisioning an experience like yours. I was so dismayed when my friend told me how deadly such tides could be. It is good to know that not all beautiful glowing water is toxic and deadly.

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