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Our Ultimate Guide to Bioluminescence: Florida Calendar 2021

Ultimate Guide to Bioluminescence: Florida Calendar 2021

bioluminescence in florida water on beach

An otherworldly, nighttime lightshow is not something you might expect to see in the middle of the Banana River Lagoon. However, this summer, that’s exactly what you can expect – a magical, all-natural phenomenon! With this adventure there are no flashlights, no fireworks, and no fancy tricks to illuminate the water with clouds of green and blue light. That’s right. The bioluminescence Florida calendar 2021 season is finally here.

During the warm Florida summer, bioluminescent kayaking tours bring you right to the doorstep of a magical underwater world. For every Florida resident and visitor, it is an adventure of a lifetime. At Wildlife Watersports, we’re breaking out the boats and kayaks to take you and your family out on the water to experience this miracle of nature – but what exactly is bioluminescence? When should you plan your nighttime adventure? How long is the season? We’re here to answer all this and more in our ultimate guide to Florida’s bioluminescence night kayaking.

The Big Deal About Bio

At first glance, bioluminescence seems like something out of a sci-fi movie or a show at Disney World (it’s totally Avatar!). But in reality, the bioluminescent phenomenon is an aquatic lightshow backed by pure science. Every summer, tiny plankton called bioluminescent dinoflagellates appear in concentrated amounts in the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon, creating dazzling displays every night. In Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, we are lucky to be one of a handful of coastal regions across the world to experience this rare phenomenon each year!

Enjoying the Dino Glow

Dinoflagellates, like all plankton, are microscopic, harmless organisms – but they have a defense against predators that causes them to light up in green and blue flashes when moved. Their reaction to movement uses the chemical luciferin to create the tell-tale glow. That means that mullet fish, hunting dolphins, and lumbering manatees all light up the nighttime while swimming through the clouds of plankton. And, of course, kayaking, paddle splashes, swimming, and late-night boat rides all create waves, lines, and splashes of blue-green neon light! Even gentle waves against the beach can cause you to see glimpses of the glow. After a long night of creating beautiful sea sparkle, dinoflagellates recharge their luciferin “batteries” during the day to prepare for the next evening’s display.

The Comb Jelly Craze

green comb jelly in cocoa beach florida

Similar to bioluminescent plankton, there is another curious creature that you may have the chance to see light up the night on your journey. The comb jellyfish is a common sighting on dark nights – a transparent, oval-shaped animal with ancient origins (over 500 million years old!) that shimmers as it propels itself through the water. Named for the comb-like rows of plates that it uses to move, these combs also light up in response to movement. And the best part? They are perfectly harmless, so you can even stick your hand in the water to gently encourage their glow show!

Marking Your Bioluminescence Florida Calendar in 2021

As of June 1st, the bio dino glow is already starting. As the water heats up, the dinoflagellates become more active and they continue to cover the lagoon through the summer season. The best time to take a bioluminescent night kayak or boat tour with Wildlife Watersports is from June to November. Once the weather cools off in the winter months, the bioluminescence will go dormant until next summer.

If you’re interested in experiencing the magic of the comb jellies, you can see these animals in the cooler months from November through March. If you miss them on your bioluminescent tour, you can always come back and search the seas with one of our nighttime lighted kayaking tours. Even when the bioluminescence season is done, there is still plenty of after-dark fun to be had with beautiful comb jellies!

The New Moon Hype (And Planning Your Tour)

nighttime glow of bioluminescence florida calendar 2021

Is taking your tour during the new moon worth it?

Yes, yes, yes! The new moon is absolutely the best time to experience the magic. Even though the bioluminescence is bright enough to see on every night, the darker evenings will let you see the blue-green plankton fully – with no distracting light to dampen the glow. As much as we love the big, bright moon overhead, the new moon will leave you speechless as you enjoy the dazzling bioluminescent performance. Cloudy nights can also give you an unexpectedly bright light show!

New Moon Tour Dates

We always recommend trying to schedule your tour during or around the new moon. Again, any night is a great night to enjoy the clouds of sparkling light – but you’ll thank us if you go in the three days before or the five days after the new moon. Planning your trip? Use a lunar calendar or our tour date recommendations below.

Here’s the New Moon Bioluminescent Florida Calendar for 2021:

  • June 10, 2021 (Best Tours? June 7 – 15)
  • July 9, 2021 (Best Tours? July 6 – 14)
  • August 8, 2021 (Best Tours? August 5 – 13)
  • September 6, 2021 (Best Tours? September 3 – 11)
  • October 6, 2021 (Best Tours? October 3 – 11)
  • November 4, 2021 (Best Tours? November 1 – 9)
  • December 4, 2021 (Best Tours? December 1 – 9)

Where in Florida Can You Take a Bioluminescence Tour?

beach nighttime bio glow in lagoon

The beautiful, bright hues of glowing green and blue are not everywhere in Florida. In fact, the Space Coast is one of the only places in the world that you can see bioluminescence in the water. So, if you’re in Brevard County or Orlando this summer, don’t miss out on this spellbinding excursion. You’ll be able to see Florida’s luminous plankton in the canals, open waters, and shores of the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon.

Seeing a Whole New World with Wildlife Watersports

Are you ready to see Cocoa Beach’s tranquil bay in a whole new way? Want to experience the after-dark, underwater world of the Thousand Islands? Then Wildlife Watersports is the perfect place for you. Our bioluminescence tours offer visitors and locals the best way to see glowing dinoflagellates and comb jellies on the Space Coast. Check out our available tour dates and book your kayak or boat today. Making magical memories is easy when you’re discovering the stunning, summer adventure of bioluminescence with us!

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