One of the things that I enjoy most about living aboard is seeing the bioluminescence in the water late at night. We’ve seen different types of bioluminescence but most of what I’ve seen has been microorganisms called diatoms that light up when something moves through the water near them. We’ve all tried taking pictures of this but none of our cameras are good enough to really capture it. It often looks like blue flickering fireflies are in the water when something splashes or as the bow of the boat moves through the water. The lights are an electric blue and even though they aren’t bright enough to be caught on camera they seem pretty bright at night when everything is pitch black!
The diatoms light up when something moves in the water as a defense mechanism, in case a fish is trying to eat them. By lighting up, the diatoms hope to attract bigger fish to eat the small fish that are trying to eat them. It’s their way of saying; “Leave me alone or I’ll light you up so you can get eaten too!’.”
On this last crossing from Thailand to Sri Lanka we were lucky to see several pods of dolphins. They would come up to our boat in groups of four to twenty and like to ride and play in the waves that our bow creates. Sometimes we can hear the dolphins chirp and click to each other and its very clear that they are playing and having a good time. They usually don’t stay very long and after maybe ten minutes or so they dart off like torpedoes all at once and are gone.
One of the nights on the crossing the bioluminescence was very strong and we were visited by some more dolphins. Seeing dolphins swim in bioluminescent water was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It’s hard to explain, but the diatoms would light up as the dolphins swam, making them sparkle and glow and leaving a bright blue trail behind them as the darted around underwater.
Since then we haven’t really seen much bioluminescence and there isn’t any here in Galle’s harbor. But I’m hoping that we’ll continue to see more on the rest of our trip. I’m also hoping to see some bioluminescent squid that some of the crew has already seen!