Bioluminescence Night paddling on the Space Coast

Bioluminescence paddling

Wow, nearly speechless at the glowing bioluminescence plankton dripping from my paddle blade. How to describe a wonder on of nature-the living glow that astonishes me every time I am lucky enough to witness it. “Living paint” was the only concept come to mind while observing this ethereal experience.

I cupped my hands full of the living paint and let the glowing plankton dribble into the blue green light show. Wow. Is there another word to describe living lights? Words could not do it justice.

Bioluminescence paddling, connection with nature under the stars.

Approaching night on Sykes Creek

Sunset on the Indian River Lagoon, & a little wind stirring

Unpredictable light shows on the space coast!

Photo credit: NASA

Space coast at night.

Rockets lighting up the night? Living on the space coast and working on the space center; it is sad to admit that I have long been immune to the excitement and the splendor of that man made light show. (Well I have to admit the SpaceX Heavy rocket was impressive)

The space coast lightning storms- even more impressive than the bright rockets or shuttles.Those storms still stopped me in my tracks: Central Florida is the lightning capital of the world.

However Mother Nature has another awe inspiring light show in the waters of the space coast estuaries: Glowing bioluminescent dinoflagellates plankton and Comb Jellies.

My kayak pushed into an unseen school of mullet that in their panic fled through the dinoflagellate plankton causing blue green streaks to erupt under the water. Wow.

In the darkness a motor boat idled down barge canal, the boats propeller causing a blue glow to follow the boat…..could not help myself and placed my kayak in the prop wash, settling into the blue green glow. Smile, not as great as the sting rays and mullet erupting through the glowing plankton but still brought a smile.

Summer nights in Florida, hot, thick with mosquitos and threatening lightning is the best time to observe bioluminescent dinoflagellate plankton. June through October- corresponding with the explosion of salt marsh mosquitos and arrival of hurricane season.

Required Glow stick & deck lights are suggested 

Comb Jellies the other light show. In the day time the comb jellies are easy to spot in all areas of the lagoon system.

For those that wade fish the shallow waters of the lagoon system-the tiny Jellyfish like creatures known as Comb Jellies can be observed as thousands of little floating orbs in the waters around you.

Completely harmless to people they are a constant companion to the fisherman. The amount of Comb Jellies is staggering if one tries to extrapolate how many live in the Indian and Banana River lagoons.

Wade fishing the lagoon and you walk through a living soup of harmless Comb Jellyfish. Thousands? Millions?

The feature of Comb Jellies that one would not expect, is their bioluminescent abilities when the sun sinks below the horizon.

I first noticed these cooler weather light show while practicing night paddling for the MR340 kayak race and the Comb Jellies would glow when disturbed by my paddle blades, the glow seeming peaking in the months between November and May.

Holding a glowing Comb Jelly orb under the brilliant space coast starlight is an imposing experience.

Rockets on the horizon!

Photo credit: NASA

 Winter comb jelly bioluminescence or the warm season bioluminescence are magical encounters unlike any set against the backdrop of the space center launch pads.

Marvel at the glowing green-blue living light show called bioluminescence and the hum of mosquitos.

Perhaps even a rocket.....

A lagoon night without a moon makes for the best of the Bioluminescence viewing


A night paddle to observe the Bioluminescence and an encounter with a sleeping manatee. What could go wrong?

Night Paddle disaster....

Never forget that in most waters around the space center: You are guest in a wildlife sanctuary!

(This link takes you to my other web site)

Wild Turkeys of Kennedy Space Center


Vehicle Assembly Building and the turn basin at night

Photo Credit: NASA

Return home from bioluminescence kayaking

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Author Bruce Ryba at Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39B & Artemis 1. "We are going to the Moon!"

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