According to Sharon Grasso, who runs tours in the Bioluminescent Bay area, a balmy night’s trip here is “a magical experience.” And she’s right! Also known as Mosquito Bay, this seemingly heaven on earth is located on the southernmost coast of Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island.
To the uninitiated, “Bio Bay” is the world’s best example of what a healthy bioluminescent bay is all about.
Vieques is the Perfect Home for Dinoflagellates
Even with the water’s slightest agitation, the tiny creatures emit the bluish-white electric light known as bioluminescence. The fish that swim in this bay leave their own bioluminescent trail. Bio Bay has special characteristics that create specific conditions in which the dinoflagellates congregate and flourish.
Dinoflagellates are neither animal nor plant. They are known as unicellular or single-celled organisms. Around 90% of them are considered marine plankton. The dinoflagellates of Bio Bay have found the perfect home in Vieques’ mangrove lagoon since mangrove leaves, which constantly fall into the island waters, are the perfect diet for these creatures.
Watch Them Light Up!
Splashing Bio Bay’s water on one’s hair will make it drip pretty light crystals like tiny diamonds. And when it rains, the whole bay lights up! This happens because any movement in the water triggers the dinoflagellates to emit this bioluminescence. “Spectacular” does not even begin to describe what happens when the water’s motion agitates the dinoflagellates!
Hire Only a Licensed Operator
Because there are some illegal operators around Bio Bay, ensure that you hire only an operator who is licensed to do so. Licensed and professional tour operators are trained in protecting marine environments. Because of current laws, even licensed operators are not allowed to let tourists enter the waters within Bio Bay to protect it from chemicals in products that tourists use like sun block.
Visitors, however, are advised to see Bio Bay in all its luminous glory by kayak, electric pontoon boat, and fisherman’s boat. You may want to try Abe’s Snorkeling, a reliable operator offering guided snorkeling trips, eco Bio Bay tours, and Custom Tours. Although primarily a kayak-operating company, Abe’s Snorkeling is diversified and, according to them, “the most children-friendly.”
Don’t Miss Out On This Adventure
Dindin’s Biobay Tours, on the other hand, is the only one that provides transport to and from the hotel to the Bio Bay area. You may also want to consider Travesias Isleñas Yaureibo for their all-day kayak tours which also cover snorkeling, Bio Bay, and mangroves. Whichever operator you choose, however, make sure you don’t miss out on this adventure.
There are only five bioluminescent bays in the whole world. Puerto Rico, ladies and gentlemen, has three of them. That’s just about as good as any reason to go see those beautiful creatures light up the blue waters of Vieques, isn’t it?