Magic in the water, magic in the sky
Last night the 8 of us visited the Bioluminescent Bay here in Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. (Our annual WP trip with Farida and Husain).
Our guide met us on the boardwalk where we were scarfing down french fries and staring at the Caribbean Sea. We piled into his van and turned onto a bumpy dirt road. Eventually we stopped at a gap in the mongrove trees, put on life vests and discarded our shoes, and squelched through the mud to the kayaks. We boarded - 2 people per kayak.
At this point we were giddy with excitement. Barefoot in the mud, we felt some creatures walking over our feet. We were told they were female violin crabs who were here to lay their eggs. (Upon finding out they were crabs, we obviously did the requisite squealing and screaming.)
We then rowed out into the bay. The night was perfectly quiet and still. The only movement came from our paddles. We glided through the water in a group and marveled at the warmth of the water.
The guide explained to us that the glow we were about to experience was caused by plankton which, when agitated, initiated a defense mechanism that causes their bodies to shine from within.
And then the glow began to surround us. As we splashed our hands in the water, they glowed. The glass bottoms of the kayaks glowed. The stars on this clear night- they twinkled, they glowed.
We couldn't decide whether to gaze above us at the bedazzled sky or below us at the stars in the water. It was glorious and exciting and relaxing and serene at the same time.
I found myself exclaiming happily; I found myself contemplating our place among the stars. It was joyous; it was calm.
As we scooped water in our hands and let it trickle down our forearms, our arms became covered in sparkling light.
Thank you, plankton. You made that night one of the most magical of my life.