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What makes the water glow?
The glow in the water is caused by microscopic organisms called Dinoflagellates. These organisms live in all oceans around the world. In the open ocean you'd be likely to find about 50 per gallon of water while the latest survey showed that we had over 2,000,000 per gallon in our bay. This is why we have the BRIGHTEST Bioluminescent Bay in the WORLD. The glow is caused by a chemical reaction, the fastest chemical reaction known to man! When agitated, the Dinoflagellates combine luciferin and luciferace in their bodies to create the beautiful glow. This is the same chemical reaction that happens in fireflies. Since this is happening within these living organisms it is called BIOLUMINESCENCE, light created by living creatures.
What are Dinoflagellates?
These single celled organisms with 2 flagella (tails) are usually considered algae and are mostly marine plankton. Our Dinoflagellates are quite peculiar, they eat and photosynthesize. These micro organisms reproduce asexually through a process called mitosis.
Why is this the best bioluminescent bay?
There are several factors that lead up to this. The size of the entrance of the bay is wide where it's connected to the ocean. That narrows and forms the letter "S" before opening back out to the rest of the bay. The bay measures 3-8 feet deep all around except in the center where it is 15 at its deepest. This causes the pressure of water to be stronger coming in which forces the Dinoflagellates in and doesn't let them escape. In addition to that, the bay is surrounded by red mangroves which have leaves that fall in the bay, sink to the bottom, and decay. This creates vitamin B12 which is what the Dinoflagellates feed on. Since they also photosynthesize, the shallow waters makes it ideal for them to always have an abundance of nutrition. The Bay's depth causes the water to always be very warm which helps them reproduce through mitosis. With all these surface factors the bay is the PERFECT place for these little guys to thrive.
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit is during a new moon, when there is no moon in the sky at night. Learn about the moon phases here
How can I visit the Bioluminescent Bay?
When you Book an Adventure Package we take you on a free tour of the Biobay!
Q: When is the best time to visit the bioluminescent bay?
A: The best time to visit is when there is no moon present. There are no tours the night before, the night of, or the night after the full moon so please use the lunar calendar to make sure you come at the best time.
Q: Where in Puerto Rico are you?
A: We are on a separate island named Vieques. To get here you have to take the ferry or take a plane. You have to stay overnight so please be prepared for that. You can check if Joe and Maria have space at The Vieques Tropical Guesthouse.
Q: Are there sharks in the water?
A: Sharks can only live in water. Therefore, yes, wherever there are sharks they're in the water.
Q: Are there sharks in THESE waters?
A: Due to the shallow warm waters and the protection the mangroves provide, Mosquito Bay "the biobay" provides natural sanctuary for many different animal species, sharks being among them. Sharks lay their eggs in the bay then leave. So the sharks you would most likely encounter here are tiny babies. There's no need to be alarmed because these aren't feeding grounds, this is a nursery. Besides, 12 ft kayaks are NEVER on the menu.
Q: Is it called Mosquito Bay because there are so many mosquitoes?
A: No. The story behind the name is one you'll have to hear from your guide.
Q: Are there mosquitoes in Mosquito Bay?
A: There are mosquitoes anywhere you go on the island after dark so be prepared. However, while we're on the water, the distance from shore and slightly stronger winds keep them at bay. That being said, you do want to wear mosquito repellent. Please make sure to use the DEET FREE kind. DEET is highly detrimental to the micro- organisms in the bay which make the water glow.
Q: Can we go swimming in the biobay?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: What if we pay extra?
A: Still no. There's a $10,000 fine for anyone who is caught swimming in the biobay. Besides, a large part of why our biobay is the brightest on the planet is because of the strict conservation efforts in place to protect it. We like being the best and we'll do everything in our power to stay at the top. That includes keeping people from swimming in the bay.
Q: What if we really want to swim in glowing water?
A: If you're truly interested in swimming in glowing water, send me a message and I'll take you to a place that you can swim In bioluminescence. The intensity is nowhere near the same as in the biobay but the water does glow and you can legally swim in it.