How to experience the dinoflagellate near Orlando, Florida


How to experience the dinoflagellate near Orlando, Florida

In the dark and warm lagoon waters on the Space Coast of Florida occurs an otherworldly phenomenon of bioluminescence. Every paddle stroke you make or every time you swirl your hand a spark goes off in the glowing blue waters. Many have compared this to what they saw in the “Life of Pi” and “Avatar” movies. Bioluminescence in Florida is a scientific wonder where you can experience the lagoon that produces thousands of green-blue illuminated lights. You will be mesmerized by the splash of fireworks on the surface of the water as you are surrounded by a dark night sky. This is one of the only six spots in the world where you can see natural bioluminescence! In this comprehensive post, you’ll find everything you need to know about bioluminescent kayaking in Florida.

As you enter the Indian River Lagoon on the north end, your paddle strokes become brush-strokes on the canvas of water. Every stroke results in puffs and streaks of green-blue neon glow under the water’s surface and shoots glittery explosions into the dark night. This nature’s laser show is created by one-celled marine organisms known as dinoflagellates. These luminous creatures make a home in the Indian River Lagoon from June through early October. According to several scientific studies, over 100,000 dinoflagellates are packed in 1 liter of water. The glowing effect comes when these fire-fly-like creatures create cold light within themselves. Their light illuminates seagrass, tiny fish, water, and even the hands of the kayakers that are dipped under the water’s surface. As we said, this scene is quite otherworldly and you have to experience it for yourself. In addition to dinoflagellate, you can also spot dolphins, manatees, herons, and several endangered bird species as well. If you’re lucky, an occasional gator may also come out to greet you!


Travel Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When to go: It is really hard to observe bioluminescence on moon-lit nights. So, use a lunar calendar to choose the darkest nights, when the moon wouldn’t be clearly visible.

  • What to bring: You should bring a change of clothes since you will most likely get wet during the kayaking tour. Also, bring bottles of water and your favorite snacks to munch on between the breaks.

  • What to wear: We recommend bringing and wearing a quality insect repellent especially if you are visiting after heavy rainfall. And wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants as protection against mosquitoes.


Things to remember:

  • There are no restrooms at the launch site (Haulover canal, Titusville) so remember to use the facilities at Florida Adventurer Inc. Tours in Titusville before coming out on the Refuge.

  • Bioluminous creatures like comb jellies and dinoflagellate can only be photographed when there is a new moon, i.e., very dark nights during July through September. Other times, it can be very hard to photograph the phenomenon of bioluminescence.

comb jellies

What’s the difference between bioluminescent dinoflagellates and comb jellies?

They may live in the same water but dinoflagellates are nothing like jellies. Comb jellyfish are more interactive, i.e., you can dip your hand in the water and catch one jelly. You can hold it in your hands and see it illuminating the light. On the other hand, dinoflagellates are plankton and microscopic in nature. Can you see bioluminescence jellies on a full moon night? Well, you may be able to see them but it’s much harder to locate them. It’s not like they are not there, it’s just that the moonlight reflecting off the surface of the water makes their glow less visible.

kayaking tours Offers You Stunning Eco Kayaking Tours

Are you ready to see the mesmerizing bioluminescent algae and dinoflagellates in Florida? Take a bioluminescence kayak tour with Florida Adventurer Inc. and get entranced into a world that looks straight out of the memorable Avatar movie (even if that movie attacked the US military and was anti-business but that’s another topic). What better way to spend the summer in Florida! You can see the magically glimmering plankton as well as the jellies at the same time. Book your tour online now!