To thank me for the work I do, my boss let me go to a conference in Puerto Rico. It was my first trip there, so I took plenty of pictures. Let me be your tour guide.
The first night was kayaking in the bioluminescent lagoon. Because there was absolutely no light and the bioluminescent effects would not work with a flash, I chose to leave my camera in the bus and just soak it all in.
I was paired up with a woman from Idaho who had never kayaked. Luckily she was a quick learner. The kayaks all had glow sticks mounted to the front and the back and soon we would find out why. We were led off the beach into a mangrove canal where the light from the moon was blocked. Imagine the dark tunnel rides at amusement parks...where your eyes never quite adjust. All we could see were the glow sticks ahead of us. All around us, however, were sounds from tree frogs and occasional splashes in the water.
And then, we saw it. As our paddles entered the water, they lit up. When a fish swam by, it glowed. The outline of the kayaks as they moved through the water lit up. I dropped my hand into the water and watched as it became luminescent. When I cupped water in my hand and brought it closer, I could see what looked like liquid fairy dust in my hand.
The effect is caused by single-celled bioluminescent dinoflagellates. The half-plant, half-animal organisms emit the light when agitated.
Once through the canal, we entered a lagoon, formed a circle with our kayaks and then just sat quietly and took it in. The sky above was lit up with stars and a pale half-moon.
Every once in a while, a fish would swim by all lit up like a ball of liquid fire. The guide warned us of fish jumping into our canoes. Sure enough, a fish came barreling out of the water right next to us. After taking in this unique eco-system we lined up and headed back through the mangrove canal.
Bioluminescent bodies of water are only in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. If you have a chance I highly recommend taking it in.
On to the photo tour:
For $50 more I could have had an ocean view. Now ya tell me...
Old San Juan
Parade of Doors
Birthplace of the Pina Colada in 1963. (a fine year for coconuts....)
El Morro: Begun in 1540
and completed in 1589.
San Felipe del Morro was named in honor of King Phillip II.
Paved with cobbles of adoquine, a blue stone cast from furnace slag; they
were brought over as ballast on Spanish ships and time and moisture have
lent them their characteristic color.