Kayaking for Dinoflagellates

Few of my adventures exploring Created Kinds have taken more planning than those trips after Bioluminescent ( glow-in-the-dark ) plants and animals. These trips have required travel, unusual strenuous activity, and – most notably – having to be done in the darkness of night.

Kayaking at Night

There are several places in the world with bioluminescent waters. Some of these are located in Puerto Rico. These waters contain three species of microscopic sized dinoflagellates ( one celled organisms about 1/500th of an inch ) that glow when the water is disturbed. Usually for such excursions I travel alone – few want to put up with the activity I am doing. However, with this, many tour guide businesses have sprung up around these bays and will take people out to see them for a fee. I accept the help this time, because it is so much safer and easier going with a group than trying this by yourself.

One of the closest, and most enjoyable, ways to see the glowing water is to go kayaking. So I make the 2 hour drive to the bay and gather with about 40 people who have little or no kayaking skills, take part in a crash course in controlling the paddle and boat, and set off with them as a group across a bay, up a channel, and into the lagoon where the dinoflagellates are – all at night. Although there is tension to keep up with the guides, the group is ready for fun and adventure. By the end of the trip, the arms are tired because no one is accustomed to this much paddling all at once.

Bioluminescent Glow in the Water

As we approach the scene, the water begins to glow around the paddles. Soon we are dipping our fingers and hands in the water to experience this rare phenomenon in nature. It glows with a blue-greenish hue – with no specific point of origin as it comes from possibly half a million dinoflagellates per cubic foot of water all glowing at once. What an amazing part of His creation.

On my end of things, I already have some small skill with canoeing, so kayaking is not a big switch. I need to focus on the photography. As usual when going out over open water, I pack my camera gear in ziploc bags until it is time to take the actual picture. The picture itself is unusually complicated … I need to take a long exposure (about 15 seconds) with a fast film speed while sitting on a kayak in the water.

Microscope View of Dinoflagellate

I make the 2 hour drive home and rest after an exhausting night. The next day, I go the next step in following curiosity. I take my wet clothes and squeeze the water out of them. Then I borrow an old microscope (in storage for many years) from an extended family member. It is not the clearest of microscopes, but I start examining the water … and there it is. A dinoflagellate in front of me and still glowing a bit. Such an amazing little thing!

I am satisfied … for now. I have seen something rare and beautiful in Creation in it’s natural habitat. In researching and preparing for this event, I have learned much about certain types of microscopic creatures and the general concepts of bioluminescence. I can rest until the next adventure.

Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

Latest posts by Todd Elder (see all)

Enjoyed this article ? --> Share it .

Please support our research and printing efforts by donating through Scripture Advocate Publishing