Apr 292020

Rare bioluminescent, glowing waves show up off Huntington, Sunset and South Bay

A rare phenomenon called bioluminescence creates neon blue in waves crashing onto shore in Sunset Beach, CA, on Friday, April 24, 2020. What looks like red tide during the day will sometimes glow at night when the water is disturbed. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The glowing blue waves caused by a rare bioluminescence are being spotted north of Newport Beach, where most footage has emerged in the past week, with photos taken Friday night from Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach and off El Porto beach in the South Bay.

Most of the images and video of the neon waves since they started showing up April 15 has been from Newport Beach, a section of coast that is still open amid the coronavirus concerns. Whether it’s also in nearby Laguna Beach is unknown, with that section of beach closed to the public.

Likewise, El Porto beach in South Bay is shut down, but local photographer Lucio Gomes scored a few shots showing the bright blue waves crashing onshore.

“It was pretty surreal to see the waves light up like that; it’s the kind of thing you only expect to see in NatGeo on some middle-of-nowhere island, but it was right here at home at my favorite surf spot,” he said.

The glow also showed up off Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach late Friday, which is still open to the public. The previous night, Thursday, there were sightings at Poche Beach in San Clemente.

A thick red tide has lingered off areas of the coastline during the day, a sign that bioluminescence could occur. Red tides are unpredictable and not all of them produce bioluminescence.

It is hard to know how long a current red tide will last, previous events have lingered anywhere from a week to a month or more.

During the day, the photosynthetic organisms swim upward toward the light, creating a thin, dense layer near the surface. Then Bioluminescent dinoflagellates, when disturbed by waves or maybe a passing boat, make the water look bright blue.

Bioluminescent waves were spotted off San Diego in 2018. It’s been longer since they’ve been seen off Orange County.

There’s been surreal footage released by local photographers capturing the rare phenom, including a viral video by a Torrance photographer of dolphins frolicking in glowing water, a guy who did a cannonball and created a bright blue splash and this latest one shot from Newport Beach of Laguna Beach skimboarder Blair Conklin throwing a spray of blue water from the shore.

via Laylan Connelly, Daily Breeze


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