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St. Croix Bioluminescent Bay

Part of my New Years resolution is to go out and do more, even things I wouldn’t normally do.  To jump start this resolution, we recently went to St. Croix’s bioluminescent bay with some friends through the “Sea Thru Kayaks” tour.  They are the only tour featuring clear bottom kayaks so you can really have an immersive experience.

When we called to book our reservations, which cost $60 per person, they were very clear about not wearing any sort of product {sunblock/bug spray/perfume/etc} on your person.  I’ve been advocating for reef-safe sunscreen just about forever so I completely understood this.  When we arrived, the guides confirmed that much of what we topically apply drips into the water and harms the sea life which in this case are {predominantly} Dinoflagellates.  We were advised to leave our phones/bags behind and were only allowed soft water bottles on the boat.  We were then told to take our shoes off and the guides helped you into the two person kayak.  I have to admit that the mosquitoes were fairly aggressive while you stood in line to get in and just as bad as you paddled your way out but once you were out in the water and the wind kicked up, it wasn’t bad at all.

Since we had coincidentally booked our tour after the full moon, we were also able to witness a mating ritual.  When you book your tour {in relation to the moon} is very important as this impacts both visibility and activity.  Before being led into the actual bay where much of the bioluminescence is concentrated, we were taken on a quick detour where we watched tiny little glow worms emit a “fizz” that lasted all of a couple seconds.  Me and my husband just grinned at each other as this part of the tour was a wonderful and unexpected surprise.

Slicing into the actual bay was a magical experience in itself.  I’m always mesmerized by the night sky as St. Croix has some amazing star gazing.  Since we do not have very much light pollution, it really is a sight to behold.  With this distraction, the presence of the glittering “stars” beneath me took me by surprise.  I felt like I was paddling one moment and remarking at the beautiful night sky when all of a sudden, I found that our entire kayak was nestled in a glowing soup of glitter.  The guides encouraged us to agitate the waters as much as possible as that activates their glow.  My favorite part was submerging my arm into the water and bringing it back out to watch my entire arm glisten with bioluminescence.

We were given about an hour {out of 2 hours} to explore the bay by ourselves, keeping close to the group.  The bay itself wasn’t large but it was fun to discover the best spots to watch them congregate.  It was completely dark with the exception of a few houses high up on their mountain top.  St. Croix looked completely different from this perspective.  Cloaked in mysterious darkness with the flashing brilliance of the bioluminescence beneath us and the sparkling sky above us, it really made it feel like an intimate, otherworldly secret.


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