Maldives is one of those locations where there are just endless instances of magnificence.
Ever seen a glowing beach full of neon blue dots, mimicking the starry sky?
Maldives is one of the prime locations for this phenomenon seemingly out of a sci-fi movie. However, this is such a rare occurrence that even some locals are left flabbergasted. Locally, it is called as 'Redhan lun'.
Placing yourself on the right beach at the right time of the night with the perfect circumstances is not something that everyone can manage to pull off. But if you do, lo and behold the spectacular sight on display.
Not that well known is that it is plankton, named as dinoflagellates, which does the trick. Scientists have only recently discovered that the plankton which lights up, does so with a chemical called luciferin and lights up only when agitated.
It is believed that bioluminescence is used as a defense mechanism to draw predators towards the creature trying to eat the plankton. The tiny flashes of light are also supposed to disorientate and surprise the predator.
From islands in Maldives, Raa Vaadhoo and even Funadhoo are some prime locations for the marvelous display.
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Kris Williams, a world-renowned photographer specializing in time-lapse landscape and astrophotography said that “The most difficult requirement for photographing bio-luminesce, is to be at the right place at the right time. I only know that I saw the above event at Vaadhoo Island in late October and at another island (without a camera) in Raa Atoll in late September,”
“I have also seen bioluminescence at Kihaadhuffaru Island in Baa Atoll in mid-October, but it was less dramatic, probably because of the resort lights shining on the beach.”
These planktons can blanket huge areas of the ocean. It is mostly viewable in warm-water lagoons that have narrow openings to the sea, mostly because the geography causes the planktons to gather and become trapped, causing the water to turn color.
‘For bioluminescence to happen, the plankton needs to be moved or disturbed by something, so as the surf crashes onto the shoreline, the waves will ripple in blue light. Or as you walk along the beach, plankton that are left deposited on the shore’s sand and stones will light up and sparkle beneath your feet,”
“If the sea is particularly calm and just gently lapping the shore, this may not be enough to cause bio-luminescence to light up. It’s worth agitating the water to check, throw a stone into the sea and if the plankton is there you’ll be rewarded with a bright blue splash of light.” Said Kris.
For the planktons to light up they must have complete darkness, with the exception of moonlight from which they are not affected.
Note: The quotes by Kris as well as some information for this article are sourced from a Kuoni article. To read the full article, please click here.