Bio-luminescence in Punta Del Este – Turn on the Lights in Punta Del Este
Punta Del Este was surprised by a beautiful phenomenon of bio-luminescence in the sea during the first week of April 2015 and visitors made it to the beach at night.
Not only did the holiday makers of Easter week enjoy unusually warm days on the beach but they were also surprised by a beautiful phenomenon of phosphorescent lights on the water, called bio-luminescence.
Thousands of people came to the coasts of Brava and Mansa beaches just when darkness fell, to watch the surprising bright breaking of wave stripes. The warm nights also invited people to linger on the beach and create bon fires; some even spent the night under the full moon.
During the nights of Thursday and Friday the bio-luminescence was enhanced by a full moon and a clear sky lighting up the beaches of Punta Del Este at night time.
At the surfing spots in Punta Del Este, surfers overstayed enjoying surfing with this so surreal scenario.
The Uruguayan Marine Spark
Bio-luminescence is the light produced basically by living organisms as a result of biochemical reaction. Overall it is produced by marine organisms. This is a direct conversion of chemical energy into light energy through a biochemical substance called luciferin.
The colour of light is usually from blue to green and in fewer cases, it has reddish colors. Marine bacteria are the most abundant organisms between luminescent organisms, so this is why this phenomenon was visible at the coasts of Uruguay.
They are similar unicellular organisms living waters. They have a symbiotic algae attached and the contact with oxygen causes this flash of bio-luminescent light to glow in the dark.
Each organism is capable of producing small flashes of light when stimulated by movement.
During the day these organisms darken the waters (known as red tide but at night, when they begin to disintegrate, they produce the phenomenon of bio-luminescence and turn electric blue.
Sudden changes in temperature of sea water can cause it to come to the shores. It can occur anywhere on the planet and it occurs in relatively warm ocean waters.
Last time this bio-luminescence was seen it was in Montevideo forty years ago. This time, the marvelous sandy beaches of the coasts of Uruguay were a unique set up, the unusual warm temperature of the last 4 weeks contributed to the appearance of these dazzling organisms.
Even if one´s hand is immersed in water it can get illuminated. What catches the eye is the magically lit beach and water in the exact place where the wave breaks.
Also the Coasts of Rocha were Illuminated
The phenomenon can still be seen in La Paloma for several more days and more extending over several beaches towards the east of Uruguay. Residents of the southern coastline of Uruguay from La Floresta to Punta Del Diablo reported seeing it with varying intensity. In La Paloma red spots during the day were easily visible, mainly on the bay of this tourist city and in Valizas where the Laguna de Castillos allows currents with shrimp rush down the creek to reach the sea. All these areas were illuminated with bio-luminescence.
Where Else in the World?
The few places in the world where you can observe marine bio-luminescence are in Puerto Rico: Mosquito Bay, Lake Phosphorescent and Monsio José, the Joyuda Lagoon and the Black Sea. In other countries: Toyama Bay, Japan, where the cause of bio-luminescence is the firefly squid and also the Newnes Tunnel in Australia, which was man built and is home for thousands of fireflies causing the phenomenon of bio-luminescence as well.
Noctilucas or Bio-luminiscence?
The researchers in Uruguay explain it is not a toxic organism but if in areas where they group up, it can actually cause eye irritation. These organisms are common during this time of the year but until now the only one seen was the Noctiluca Scintallins.
Edited by Mary Ann Thompson