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The Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay on the Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico (or "Bio Bay" as it is sometimes called), is the world's largest and brightest. The bioluminescent bay is the most bioluminescent in the World as determined by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008. It contains up to 160,000 microscopic dinoflagellates per liter of water. When agitated, these microscopic organisms (Pyrodinium bahamense or swirling fire) react, emitting a blue-green light for about a decimal of a second.

There are other bioluminescent bays around the island, but the Mosquito Biobay is the one that shines with the most intensity, its shallow and small entrance from the sea impedes the waves from washing away the dinoflagellates; and the mangrove trees, with their decomposition process, provides abundant food for the micro-organisms.

 

The luminescence is caused by micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue. These half-plant, half-animal organisms emit a flash of bluish light when agitated at night. The high concentration of these creatures can create enough light from which to read a book. A combination of factors creates the necessary conditions for bioluminescence: red mangrove trees surround the water (the organisms feed off the dead leaves); a complete lack of modern development around the bay; the water is cool enough and deep enough; and a small channel to the ocean keeps the dinoflagellates in the bay. This small channel is the result of Spanish ships' attempts to choke off the bay from the ocean's waters. The Spanish believed that the bioluminescence they first encountered was the work of the Devil ('El Diablo') and tried to block the ocean's waters from entering the bay by dropping huge boulders in the channel. The Spanish only succeeded in preserving and increasing the luminescence. Kayaking is permitted in the bay and can be arranged through local vendors.

 

Proposed Congressional legislation to protect this natural wonder is the Vieques Bioluminescent Bay Conservation Act of 2008. This law designates certain submerged lands and waters of Puerto Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico, as the Puerto Mosquito Bay National Marine Sanctuary under specified provisions of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. The Act gives the governor of Puerto Rico veto power over the designation of any part of that area and over the related management plan and regulations. The Act also directs the Secretary of Commerce to issue a comprehensive management plan and implementing regulations.
 

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Travel, Water, Puerto Rico, Swimming, Kayaking, Vieques, Bioluminescent Bay, Biobay, Dinoflagellates, Puerto Rico Travel, Morgali Photography

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review by . December 16, 2009
A natural wonder of the world.
   When I first heard about the Bio-bay I was watching a slide show video about it on YouTube. I immediately thought it was one of the many hoax videos you see on YouTube. You know the ones I’m talking about, the flying saucers with the fishing pole visible in every third frame or the media-mashup where Stephen Colbert is having a light-saber duel with Darth Maul to the soundtrack of a John McCain speech. Despite a lack of Colbert flair, the slide show video does show a guy kayaking …
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2009
One of the most amazing experiences I have ever had! I would do this again at Vieques at any opportunity :P
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